Looping for DiMarco

By George WhiteSeptember 15, 2005, 4:00 pm
Its an odd relationship, this one between professional golfer and professional caddy. Sometimes, in these interpersonal relationships, a golfer doesnt act like a professional. But then, sometimes the caddy doesnt, either. So goes the life of the strange twosome on the PGA Tour.
Caddy Joe LaCava is to Freddie Couples what a mans glove is to his hand. Phil Mickelson and Jim Mackay are in their 14th year of professional bliss. When its right, as they say, its right.
Which brings to mind Chris DiMarco and his Man Friday, Pat OBryan. They are about as content as peas in a pod ' make that Gators in a pond.
Chris DiMarco
Sometimes it's best for a caddie to give his boss some space.
DiMarco is a University of Florida graduate. OBryan briefly went to school there, but he is a bona fide, rootin tootin Gator backer. That was Question No. 1 on his caddy exam. That was part of the job description for him, DiMarco says, and he was only half-kidding. A caddy who roots for anyone else is going to have a hard time getting along with the boss.
Yes, the two chat often during a tournament about Gator business. Golf can wait until its time for Chris to play a shot. First things first, and the first thing is the football team. And both have very definite ideas about how the Florida program should be run.
Oh, we always disagree, DiMarco said on the eve of the 84 Lumber tournament. We are both very strong and we both think we're always right.
We will get in little arguments on the golf course. Usually it's about Gator football or stats from the night before. He's always good about letting me be the one right about the golf. But if it's something else, if it's a score or something - yeah, we'll go back and forth.
OBryan has been toting for DiMarco for six years now, which is an eternity on the PGA Tour where players split up with caddies as often as they change putters. But this is a combination that works. Players like to say there are the three ups that they expect their caddies to do ' show up, keep up and shut up. But just as often, its about personalities as well as mechanics. And DiMarco believes OBryan has them both.
A good caddie needs to know when to do all three (of the ups), said Chris.
My caddie has never missed a tee time in six years - knock on wood, he's always there, he's always ready as far as keeping up, and he knows when he should say things and when he should interject and when he shouldn't. That's what you can ask of your caddie, and we've had great success together. We've been in the top 20 every year he's caddied for me.
OBryan is very shy and doesnt particularly warm up to interviews. But thats all right with DiMarco. The man punches the clock every day and speaks when asked for his opinions by Chris. And he does it even when DiMarco doesnt particularly like what OBryan has to say.
We've had good things happen on the course, and bad things happen on the course, says DiMarco. There's plenty of times where I've been very upset with him, and that's been the biggest change for us is him asserting himself more in situations when they matter. (Hes) not afraid to tell me to switch clubs because he doesn't think it's the right club.
DiMarco, who admits that he jettisoned caddies before who were too gabby, also admits that at times he is too mouthy to OBryan. If OBryan suggests a club that turns out to wrong, DiMarco says he gives OBryan crap for the error. But, Chris says, thats why he thinks so much of OBryan as a caddy
That's the sign of a good caddy, when he's not afraid to stand up and say something, says DiMarco.
And OBryan did another job on Sunday at the Masters this year when DiMarco took Tiger Woods to a playoff before losing. He was DiMarcos psychologist, something that DiMarco needed at the time. He was finishing up the third round Sunday morning ' delayed by a Saturday thunderstorm. In the back nine of the third round Chris shot a 40. He needed to hear something to break up the bad vibes.
We walked off the morning round on Sunday and we both looked at each other and said we didn't hit a bad shot, and I shot 40, said DiMarco. I hit it right to the hole every time, and unfortunately, it just added up to 40 that side.
He said, Go home and relax and we'll come back out, and we did a really good job of erasing that and going out and playing golf.
DiMarco shot a nervy 68 in the fourth round to get into a playoff, seven shots ahead of everyone save Woods.
OBryan, though, has a story like many caddies on the tour ' he went to three different universities, Tennessee, Florida and South Florida. And he tried several jobs before he stumbled upon life as a caddy ' he was a substitute teacher, he installed carpet, even took a turn at driving a taxi. But he went out to a Nationwide Tour event in his hometown of Ft. Myers, Fla., and volunteered his services to the caddymaster, who assigned him to a player. And OBryan had found his calling.
For some caddies, the fourth up seems to be, grow up. For some, it seems to be give up when they try to get along with their bosses. But these two seem to have found the right formula.
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Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

 There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.

It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

“The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.

Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

“You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.

Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.

Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.

After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.

Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

“We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

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Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.

Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.

Nathaniel Crosby at the 1983 Bing Crosby Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. Getty Images

Crosby selected as 2019 U.S. Walker Cup captain

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 3:19 pm

The USGA announced that former U.S. Amateur champ Nathaniel Crosby will serve as the American captain for the 2019 Walker Cup, which will be played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England.

Crosby, 56, is the son of entertainment icon and golf enthusiast Bing Crosby. He won the 1981 U.S. Amateur at The Olympic Club as a teenager and earned low amateur honors at the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He also played in the 1983 Walker Cup, coincidentally held at Royal Liverpool, before embarking on a brief career in professional golf, with his amateur status reinstated in 1994.

"I am thrilled and overwhelmed to be chosen captain of the next USA Walker Cup team," Crosby said in a statement. "Many of my closest friends are former captains who will hopefully take the time to share their approaches in an effort to help me with my new responsibilities."

Crosby takes over the captaincy from John "Spider" Miller, who led the U.S. squad both in 2015 and earlier this year, when the Americans cruised to a 19-7 victory at Los Angeles Country Club.

Crosby is a Florida resident and member at Seminole Golf Club, which will host the 2021 matches. While it remains to be seen if he'll be asked back as captain in 2021, each of the last six American captains have led a team on both home and foreign soil.

Started in 1922, the Walker Cup is a 10-man, amateur match play competition pitting the U.S. against Great Britain and Ireland. The U.S. team holds a 37-9 all-time lead in the biennial matches but has not won in Europe since 2007.