Red Washes Out Green in Round One

By Mercer BaggsApril 5, 2001, 4:00 pm
Chris DiMarco wore green on Thursday. He hopes to do the same come Sunday.
The 32-year-old Masters rookie, who played the course for the first time three days ago, carded eight birdies to just one bogey for a 7-under-par 65, and the first-round lead in the 65th Masters Tournament.
I dont think anybody expects me to win, he said, except me.
Free Video - Registration Required Chris DiMarco talks about his 1st round lead
After two days of rain, a softened Augusta National course was susceptible to red numbers.
Steve Stricker and Argentine Angel Cabrera are each just one shot back of DiMarco after rounds of 6-under-par 66. Tour veterans Phil Mickelson, Lee Janzen and John Huston are one shot further down the leaderboard after rounds of 67.
DiMarco isnt the lone first-timer making noise in Augusta, Ga. 2000 U.S. Amateur runner-up James Driscoll made his Masters debut by carding a 4-under-par 68 to finish the first round in a tie for seventh.
The 23-year-old University of Virginia product finished his impressive start by holing a delicate bunker shot for birdie at the par-3 16th.
No expectations, said Driscoll. I didnt think of the outcome of any shots. I just tried to look at the shots, see what I had and tried to pull it off.
Free Video - Registration Required James Driscoll talks about his Rd. 1 68
Right about the time DiMarco walked into the clubhouse, the pre-tournament favorite stepped onto the course. Tiger Woods overcame a bogey at the 1st to record a 2-under-par 70. Hes five off the 18-hole lead, and one shot back of defending champion Vijay Singh, who opened in 69.
DiMarco is trying to join Fuzzy Zoeller (1979) as the only two men in the modern era to win the green jacket in their first appearance.
His first round was highlighted by four birdies in a five-hole stretch beginning at the par-4 5th. After making the turn in 4-under-par 32, DiMarco played Amen Corner in 2-under, and then added one final birdie at the par-5 15th to finish his day at 7-under.
My strategy was to stay patient but still be aggressive in spots and do nothing crazy, said DiMarco. My patience was good. I never got ahead of myself.
Twelve years after turning professional, DiMarco finally earned a spot in the elite Masters field by finishing 19th on last years PGA Tour money list.
2000 was a banner year for the 32-year-old Florida Gator. He collected his maiden victory at the SEI Pennsylvania Classic to go along with over $1.8 million in official earnings.
DiMarco has continued to produce in 2001. Hes made eight cuts in ten starts, including a pair of top-10 finishes. At last weeks BellSouth Classic down the road in Duluth, DiMarco shared the 36-hole lead, but shot 73-77 on a 36-hole Sunday to tie for sixth.
The BellSouth was really good because it got me ready for here, he said. It got me ready for the speed (of the greens).
The Masters greenhorn needed only 25 putts on the slick, yet damp, surface on Thursday.
However, no one is asking DiMarco about his coat size just yet. The first-round tournament leader hasnt won since Ben Crenshaw went wire-to-wire in 1984.
DiMarco is also trying to avoid a recent rookie hex. This is the third straight year a first-time player has led after 18 holes. Two years ago, Brandel Chamblee shot 69 to share the first-round lead. He then failed to break 70 over his next three rounds to finish in a tie for 18th. Dennis Paulson followed suit in 2000, shooting 68 to lead after Day One, only to card rounds of 76-73-72 to tie for 14th.
Both Stricker and Cabrera have had success this season. Stricker captured the $1 million first-place prize at the season-opening WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, while Cabrera won last weeks Argentina Open.
Both men also have another thing in common ' near misses in past majors. Stricker finished runner-up to Singh in the 1998 PGA Championship. Cabrera came inches short of making the playoff in the 1999 British Open.
Free Video - Registration Required Stricker, Woods and Janzen talk about the 1st round
Mickelson has had his share of close calls in majors. He entered this week with a new approach 'tempered aggressiveness.
In a year filled with erratic scores, the lefty notched six birdies to just one bogey. He completed his round by carding a 4-under-par 32 on the back nine.
I waited till I felt good with my swing before I attacked the hole, Mickelson said. Today was the day to score low if you were going to score low. Im sure its going to get progressively more difficult as the week goes on.
Woods didnt get the most out of his round on Thursday, but he more than kept alive his opportunity to win his fourth consecutive major championship.
Tigers day began auspiciously with a bogey at the par-4 1st. He bounced back with three birdies to make the turn in 2-under 34, but again made bogey at the par-4 10th when his 3-foot par save did a 180-degree spin around the edge of the cup.
Woods then played his final eight holes in 1-under to finish the day five back of DiMarco.
This is a major championship. Its four days, said Woods, who birdied only one par-5 in the first round. Everyone knows its awfully hard to go out there and shoot in the mid-60s every day.
While Tiger seeks to further his legend, another capped his at Augusta National. Byron Nelson hit his final ceremonial tee shot on Thursday.
Okay, little ball, said the 89-year-old Nelson on the tee box. One more time.
Nelson faded his shot some 150 yards down the right side of the fairway. It was the final shot for the 1937 and 1942 Masters champion.
Free Video - Registration Required Nelson and Snead kick off the 65th Masters
Nelson made his first Masters appearance in 1935 and has been back every year since except one.
This has helped keep me alive in golf, he said.
News, Notes and Numbers
*33 players broke par in the first round. The Masters record for most sub-par scores in the first round is 35, set in 1992.
*Chris DiMarcos 65 was the lowest first-round score since Greg Norman shot 63 in 1996.
*Norman, a three-time Masters runner-up, shot 1-under-par 71. Hes tied for 21st with Davis Love III, David Duval and Ernie Els.
*Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Arnold Palmer played in the same threesome for the second straight year. Nicklaus, 61, and Player, 65, each shot 1-over-par 73s. Palmer, 71, shot 10-over-par 82.
*Past Masters champions fared well in the first round. Aside from Singh and Woods, 1998 champion Mark OMeara shot a 3-under-par 69, while two-time Masters victor Jose Maria Olazabal (94 and 99) opened in 70.
*James Driscoll's 68 is two shots off the tournament low score by an amateur. His front-nine 32 ties an amateur record.
Full Coverage of the 2001 Masters Tournament

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'

President at the Presidents Cup

Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump

Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73

Cart on the green

Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green

Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open

Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National

Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open

Trump golf properties


Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers

Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover

Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up

Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.

Getty Images

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?