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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    Farmers inks 7-year extension through 2026

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:04 am

    SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance has signed a seven-year extension to serve as the title sponsor for the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines, it was announced Tuesday. The deal will run through 2026.

    “Farmers Insurance has been incredibly supportive of the tournament and the Century Club’s charitable initiatives since first committing to become the title sponsor in 2010,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

    “We are extremely grateful for the strong support of Farmers and its active role as title sponsor, and we are excited by the commitment Farmers has made to continue sponsorship of the Farmers Insurance Open for an additional seven years.

    In partnership with Farmers, the Century Club – the tournament’s host organization – has contributed more than $20 million to deserving organizations benefiting at-risk youth since 2010. 

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    Woods impresses DeChambeau, Day on Tuesday

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 11:27 pm

    SAN DIEGO – Bryson DeChambeau played with Tiger Woods for the first time Tuesday morning, and the biggest surprise was that he wasn’t overcome by nerves.

    “That’s what I was concerned about,” DeChambeau said. “Am I just gonna be slapping it around off the tee? But I was able to play pretty well.”

    So was Woods.

    DeChambeau said that Woods looked “fantastic” as he prepares to make his first PGA Tour start in a year.

    “His game looks solid. His body doesn’t hurt. He’s just like, yeah, I’m playing golf again,” DeChambeau said. “And he’s having fun, too, which is a good thing.”

    Woods arrived at Torrey Pines before 7 a.m. local time Tuesday, when the temperature hadn’t yet crept above 50 degrees. He warmed up and played the back nine of Torrey Pines’ South Course with DeChambeau and Jason Day.

    “He looks impressive; it was good to see,” Day told PGATour.com afterward. “You take (Farmers) last year and the Dubai tournament out, and he hasn’t really played in two years. I think the biggest thing is to not get too far ahead, or think he’s going to come back and win straight away.


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    “The other time he came back, I don’t think he was ready and he probably came back too soon. This time he definitely looks ready. I think his swing is really nice, he’s hitting the driver a long way and he looks like he’s got some speed, which is great.”

    Woods said that his caddie, Joe LaCava, spent four days with him in South Florida last week and that he’s ready to go.

    “Before the Hero I was basically given the OK probably about three or four weeks prior to the tournament, and I thought I did pretty good in that prep time,” Woods told ESPN.com, referring to his tie for ninth in the 18-man event.

    “Now I’ve had a little more time to get ready for this event. I’ve played a lot more golf, and overall I feel like I’ve made some nice changes. I feel good.”

    Woods is first off Torrey Pines’ North Course in Wednesday’s pro-am, scheduled for 6:40 a.m. local time. 

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    With blinders on, Rahm within reach of No. 1 at Torrey

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 23, 2018, 10:10 pm

    SAN DIEGO – The drive over to Torrey Pines from Palm Springs, Calif., takes about two and a half hours, which was plenty of time for Jon Rahm’s new and ever-evolving reality to sink in.

    The Spaniard arrived in Southern California for a week full of firsts. The Farmers Insurance Open will mark the first time he’s defended a title on the PGA Tour following his dramatic breakthrough victory last year, and it will also be his first tournament as the game’s second-best player, at least according to the Official World Golf Ranking.

    Rahm’s victory last week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, his second on Tour and fourth worldwide tilt over the last 12 months, propelled the 23-year-old to No. 2 in the world, just behind Dustin Johnson. His overtime triumph also moved him to within four rounds of unseating DJ atop the global pecking order.

    It’s impressive for a player who at this point last year was embarking on his first full season as a professional, but then Rahm has a fool-proof plan to keep from getting mired in the accolades of his accomplishments.

    “It's kind of hard to process it, to be honest, because I live my day-to-day life with my girlfriend and my team around me and they don't change their behavior based on what I do, right?” he said on Tuesday at Torrey Pines. “They'll never change what they think of me. So I really don't know the magnitude of what I do until I go outside of my comfort zone.”

    Head down and happy has worked perfectly for Rahm, who has finished outside the top 10 in just three of his last 10 starts and began 2018 with a runner-up showing at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and last week’s victory.

    According to the world ranking math, Rahm is 1.35 average ranking points behind Johnson and can overtake DJ atop the pack with a victory this week at the Farmers Insurance Open; but to hear his take on his ascension one would imagine a much wider margin.

    “I've said many times, beating Dustin Johnson is a really, really hard task,” Rahm said. “We all know what happened last time he was close to a lead in a tournament on the PGA Tour.”


    Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos


    Rahm certainly remembers. It was just three weeks ago in Maui when he birdied three of his first six holes, played the weekend at Kapalua in 11 under and still finished eight strokes behind Johnson.

    And last year at the WGC-Mexico Championship when Rahm closed his week with rounds of 67-68 only to finish two strokes off Johnson’s winning pace, or a few weeks later at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play when he took Johnson the distance in the championship match only to drop a 1-up decision to the game’s undisputed heavyweight.

    As far as Rahm has come in an incredibly short time - at this point last year he ranked 137th in the world - it is interesting that it’s been Johnson who has had an answer at every turn.

    He knows there’s still so much room for improvement, both physically and mentally, and no one would ever say Rahm is wanting for confidence, but after so many high-profile run-ins with Johnson, his cautious optimism is perfectly understandable.

    “I'll try to focus more on what's going on this week rather than what comes with it if I win,” he reasoned when asked about the prospect of unseating Johnson, who isn’t playing this week. “I'll try my best, that's for sure. Hopefully it happens, but we all know how hard it is to win on Tour.”

    If Rahm’s take seems a tad cliché given the circumstances, consider that his aversion to looking beyond the blinders is baked into the competitive cake. For all of his physical advantages, of which there are many, it’s his keen ability to produce something special on command that may be even more impressive.

    Last year at Torrey Pines was a quintessential example of this, when he began the final round three strokes off the lead only to close his day with a back-nine 30 that included a pair of eagles.

    “I have the confidence that I can win here, whereas last year I knew I could but I still had to do it,” he said. “I hope I don't have to shoot 30 on the back nine to win again.”

    Some will point to Rahm’s 60-footer for eagle at the 72nd hole last year as a turning point in his young career, it was even named the best putt on Tour by one publication despite the fact he won by three strokes. But Rahm will tell you that walk-off wasn’t even the best shot he hit during the final round.

    Instead, he explained that the best shot of the week, the best shot of the year, came on the 13th hole when he launched a 4-iron from a bunker to 18 feet for eagle, a putt that he also made.

    “If I don't put that ball on the green, which is actually a lot harder than making that putt, the back nine charge would have never happened and this year might have never happened, so that shot is the one that made everything possible,” he explained.

    Rahm’s ability to embrace and execute during those moments is what makes him special and why he’s suddenly found himself as the most likely contender to Johnson’s throne even if he chooses not to spend much time thinking about it.

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    Rahm focusing on play, not shot at No. 1

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 9:06 pm

    SAN DIEGO – Jon Rahm’s meteoric rise in the world rankings could end with him reaching No. 1 with a win this week at Torrey Pines.

    After winning last week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, his fourth title in 51 weeks, Rahm has closed the gap on Dustin Johnson – less than 1.5 average points separates them.

    With Johnson not playing this week, the 23-year-old Spaniard has a chance to reach the top spot for the first time, but only if he defends his title at the Farmers Insurance Open.


    Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos


    “Beating Dustin Johnson is a really, really hard task. It’s no easy task,” he said Tuesday. “We still have four days of golf ahead and we’ll see what happens. But I’ll try to focus more on what’s going on this week rather than what comes with it if I win.

    “I’ll try my best, that’s for sure. Hopefully it happens, but we all know how hard it is to win on Tour.”

    Rahm has already become the fourth-youngest player to reach No. 2 in the world, behind Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy.