DiMarco Sets His Mark on Winning

By Golf Channel NewsroomFebruary 1, 2005, 5:00 pm
2005 FBR OpenChris DiMarcos resume reads quite well. Hes made a Presidents Cup team and a Ryder Cup team. Hes made nearly $14 million in official earnings. And hes made himself into a fixture in the top 20 on the Official World Golf Ranking.
But he hasnt made his way into the winners circle in three full years. His last victory ' his third overall on the PGA Tour ' came in the 2002 FBR Open.
Hes had plenty of opportunities to end that drought, which has now extended to 79 events on tour. He shared the lead with Phil Mickelson entering the final round of last years Masters Tournament, only to shoot 76 and finish tied for sixth. He appeared set to runaway with the International title, but lost points on both Saturday and Sunday, and tied for sixth. He then lost in a playoff the following week to Vijay Singh at the PGA Championship.
And, at this very event a year ago, he was tied with Jonathan Kaye through three rounds, but his closing 69 was two shots too many.
Winning is very difficult out here. You need everything to go your way, DiMarco said last year.
If I never win another tournament, I'm happy with that. And I want to win 10 more tournaments. I know if I keep going out and playing well and putting myself in position, I'm going to win some more tournaments.
DiMarco is joined in the field by 1995 and 2003 champion Vijay Singh; 2000 winner Tom Lehman; and 1996 victor Phil Mickelson ' just to name a few.
One notable absentee is Paul Casey. The Arizona State graduate, who made derogatory comments towards Americans late last year, withdrew from the Buick Invitational, citing back problems. He pulled out of this event three weeks ago, but his agent told tournament officials that there was a '99 percent chance' that Casey would recommit. He did not, however, before last Friday's deadline.
Once again, the FBR Open will coincide with Super Bowl weekend. The event kept its spot on the tour calendar, forcing the Buick Invitational to be moved up a couple of weeks.
Despite having its final round being played the same day as the nations top sporting event, the Phoenix-area faithful poured in at over 90,000 on Sunday of last year ' and over 500,000 for the week.
Kayes triumph a year ago was a very popular one for the locals. A Phoenix resident, Kaye not only knocked off DiMarco, he held off the likes of Mickelson and Singh for his second career tour victory.
That experience certainly must have helped him at this years Mercedes Championships.
Kaye played alongside world No. 1 Singh in the first round at Kapalua and shot 68 to Singhs 66. He then played Round 2 with world No. 2 Tiger Woods, whom he bettered by a stroke (67 to 68). In the third round, he was paired with world No. 3 Ernie Els, and beat him by two (66 to 68). And on Sunday, he was grouped with both Singh and Els. Kayes 71 matched that of Els and was three strokes lower than Singhs 74. He finished the event in solo second place, one back of champion Stuart Appleby.
I never felt like I didn't belong here, Kaye said following the Mercedes. So, you know, someone's got to be 1, 2 and 3 (in the world) and I'm whatever I am. So hopefully I'll move up and some time you'll be talking about me.
People will certainly be talking if he can successfully defend his title this week, because it hasnt happened here in 30 years.
Johnny Miller was the most recent player to win back-to-back, doing so in 1974-75. Lloyd Mangum won in 1952-53; Jimmy Demaret in 1949-50; and Ben Hogan in 1946-47. Arnold Palmer is the only player to win three straight, doing so from 1961-63.
The TPC at Scottsdale (par 71; 7,216 yards) will host the event for the 19th consecutive year.
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    After Further Review: Woods wisely keeping things in perspective

    By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 19, 2018, 3:17 am

    Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

    On Tiger Woods' career comeback ...

    Tiger Woods seems to be the only one keeping his comeback in the proper perspective. Asked after his tie for fifth at Bay Hill whether he could ever have envisioned his game being in this shape heading into Augusta, he replied: “If you would have given me this opportunity in December and January, I would have taken it in a heartbeat.” He’s healthy. He’s been in contention. He’s had two realistic chances to win. There’s no box unchecked as he heads to the Masters, and no one, especially not Woods, could have seen that coming a few months ago. – Ryan Lavner

    On Tiger carrying momentum into API, Masters ...

    Expect Jordan Spieth to leave Austin with the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play trophy next week.

    After all, Spieth is seemingly the only top-ranked player who has yet to lift some hardware in the early part of 2018. Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas have all gotten it done, as have Jason Day, Phil Mickelson and most recently Rory McIlroy.

    Throw in the sudden resurgence of Tiger Woods, and with two more weeks until the Masters there seem to be more azalea-laden storylines than ever before.

    A Spieth victory in Austin would certainly add fuel to that fire, but even if he comes up short the 2015 champ will certainly be a focus of attention in a few short weeks when the golf world descends upon Magnolia Lane with no shortage of players able to point to a recent victory as proof that they’re in prime position to don a green jacket. – Will Gray

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    Davies not giving up on win, HOF after close call

    By Randall MellMarch 19, 2018, 3:06 am

    PHOENIX – Laura Davies knows the odds are long now, but she won’t let go of that dream of making the LPGA Hall of Fame.

    At 54, she was emboldened by her weekend run at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup. She tied for second, five shots behind Inbee Park.

    “The more I get up there, I might have a chance of winning again,” Davies said. “I'm not saying I will ever win, but today was close. Maybe one day I can go closer.”

    Davies is a World Golf Hall of Famer, but she has been sitting just outside the qualification standard needed to get into the LPGA Hall of Fame for a long time. She needs 27 points, but she has been stuck on 25 since her last victory in 2001. A regular tour title is worth one point, a major championship is worth two points.

    Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

    Over her career, she has won 20 LPGA titles, four of them major championships. She was the tour’s Rolex Player of the Year in 1996. She probably would have locked up Hall of Fame status if she hadn’t been so loyal to the Ladies European Tour, where she won 45 titles.

    Though Davies didn’t win Sunday in Phoenix, there was more than consolation in her run into contention.

    “Now people might stop asking me when I'm going to retire,” she said.

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    Davies impresses, but there's no catching Park

    By Randall MellMarch 19, 2018, 2:40 am

    PHOENIX – Inbee Park won the tournament.

    Laura Davies won the day.

    It was a fitting script for the Bank of Hope Founders Cup on Sunday, where nostalgia stirs the desert air in such a special way.

    Two of the game’s all-time best, LPGA Hall of Famer Inbee Park and World Golf Hall of Famer Laura Davies, put on a show with the tour’s three living founders applauding them in the end.

    Park and Davies made an event all about honoring the tour’s past while investing in its future something to savor in the moment. Founders Marilynn Smith, Shirley Spork and Marlene Hagge Vossler cheered them both.

    For Park, there was meaningful affirmation in her 18th LPGA title.

    In seven months away from the LPGA, healing up a bad back, Park confessed she wondered if she should retire. This was just her second start back. She won feeling no lingering effects from her injury.

    “I was trying to figure out if I was still good enough to win,” Park said of her long break back home in South Korea. “This proved to me I can win and play some pain-free golf.”

    At 54, Davies kept peeling away the years Sunday, one sweet swing after another. She did so after shaking some serious nerves hitting her first tee shot.

    “It’s about as nervous as I’ve ever felt,” Davies said. “I swear I nearly shanked it.”

    Davies has won 45 Ladies European Tour events and 20 LPGA titles, but she was almost 17 years removed from her last LPGA title. Still, she reached back to those times when she used to rule the game and chipped in for eagle at the second hole to steady herself.

    “It calmed me down, and I really enjoyed the day,” Davies said.

    With birdies at the ninth and 10th holes, Davies pulled from three shots down at day’s start to within one of Park, sending a buzz through all the fans who came out to root for the popular Englishwoman.

    “People were loving it,” said Tanya Paterson, Davies’ caddie. “We kept hearing, `Laura, we love you.’ It was special for Laura, showing she can still compete.”

    Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

    Davies relished giving all the young players today, who never saw how dominant she once was, some flashes from her great past.

    “Yesterday, after I had that 63, a lot of the younger girls came up and said, `Oh, great playing today,”’ Davies said. “It was nice, I suppose, to have that. I still am a decent player, and I actually used to be really good at it. Maybe that did give them a glimpse into what it used to be like.”

    She also relished showing certain fans something.

    “Now, people might stop asking me when I'm going to retire,” she said.

    Davies was the LPGA’s Rolex Player of the Year in 1996, when she won two of her four major championships. She was emboldened by the way she stood up to Sunday pressure again.

    In the end, though, there was no catching Park, who continues to amaze with her ability to win coming back from long breaks after injuries.

    Park, 29, comes back yet again looking like the player who reigned at world No. 1 for 92 weeks, won three consecutive major championships in 2013 and won the Olympic gold medal two years ago.

    “The reason that I am competing and playing is because I want to win and because I want to contend in golf tournaments,” Park said.

    After Davies and Marina Alex mounted runs to move within one shot, Park pulled away, closing ferociously. She made four birdies in a row starting at the 12th and won by five shots. Her famed putting stroke heated up, reminding today’s players how nobody can demoralize a field more with a flat stick.

    “I just felt like nothing has dropped on the front nine,” Park said. “I was just thinking to myself, `They have to drop at some point.’ And they just started dropping, dropping, dropping.”

    Yet again, Park showed her ability to win after long breaks.

    In Rio de Janeiro two years ago, Park the Olympic gold medal in her first start back after missing two months because of a ligament injury in her left thumb. She took eight months off after Rio and came back to win the HSBC Women’s World Championship last year, in just her second start upon returning.

    “I'm really happy to have a win early in the season,” Park said. “That just takes so much pressure off me.”

    And puts it on the rest of the tour if she takes her best form to the year’s first major at the ANA Inspiration in two weeks.



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    Rose: 'Never' has Rory putted as well as Bay Hill

    By Ryan LavnerMarch 19, 2018, 1:20 am

    ORLANDO, Fla. – Justin Rose didn’t need to ponder the question for very long.

    The last time Rory McIlroy putted that well was, well …?

    “Never,” Rose said with a chuckle. “Ryder Cup? He always makes it look easy when he’s playing well.”

    And the Englishman did well just to try and keep pace.

    After playing his first six holes in 4 over par, Rose battled not just to make the cut but to contend. He closed with consecutive rounds of 67, finishing in solo third, four shots back of McIlroy at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

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    Rose said this weekend was the best he’s struck the ball all year. He just didn’t do enough to overtake McIlroy, who finished the week ranked first in strokes gained-putting and closed with a bogey-free 64.

    “Rory just played incredible golf, and it’s great to see world-class players do that,” Rose said. “It’s not great to see him make putts because he was making them against me, but when he is, he’s incredibly hard to beat. So it was fun to watch him play.”