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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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.