The tournament, of course, is a European Tour event despite its location. And as a European Tour event, it had several big-name players beside DiMarco. Vijay Singh was there, Sergio Garcia, Colin Montgomerie five of the worlds top 14 players, in fact.
For another, DiMarco can play all the golf he wants in the U.S. The American tour has 48 tournaments from which to choose, nearly all of them paying a fat purse for those gents who enter and make the cut. DiMarco last year won more than $3.5 million playing at home, and there just isnt reason for him to go elsewhere ' unless it is for considerable money, guaranteed.
If a soccer player is at the height of his profession, he usually doesnt play in the U.S. He probably will play in Europe, even if he is an American. And likewise, an American who can make a golf ball dance regularly into the hole plays almost exclusively in America. They have to have an awfully tempting reason to play elsewhere.
Oh, Tiger Woods makes a real effort to occasionally cross the borders. He occasionally plays in the Pacific because his mother is a Far East native. He went to New Zealand once because his caddy is from there. He generally plays in Germany at least partially because he feels the urgency to be a world player, taking his game to different venues around the globe. But even he has to be persuaded to go by large amounts of cash, known far and wide as appearance money.
But DiMarco was invited in the off-season to Abu Dhabi, and he and his wife took time off from the PGA Tour and went. Actually, he didnt play in Hawaii, either, so Abu Dhabi was his first event of the season. But in a pre-tournament press conference the European scribes wondered why this was his first European Tour event. Of course, the (unspoken) guaranteed money was one reason. But there is another reason, he said, a reason that isnt generally acknowledged by those who follow the European Tour.
You know, it's hard because obviously you're giving up our money list right now, said DiMarco. I'm not making any money on our money list most everything I do - contract-wise and sponsors and stuff - is all contingent on playing in the States and playing on the PGA Tour. This would be a week where I play the Bob Hope and potentially put money in my pocket over there and get on the money list over there, and I'm not.
That's the main reason why I don't play that much over here.
The Bob Hope paid $900,000 to winner Chad Campbell, and thats money which could have been won by DiMarco, if he had been there. Since he wasnt there, he won squat, nada. Thats one thing you learn in a hurry ' if you dont enter, you are guaranteed to win nothing.
Oh, DiMarco will win enough money in the 23-25 tournaments he DOES enter to easily keep his card. And he will probably earn enough to be in the Tour Championship, reserved for those who are among the top 30 money-winners at the end of the year. And he certainly availed himself of the opportunity for World Rankings points with so many of the high-ranked players in attendance at Abu Dhabi.
But DiMarco missed an opportunity for Ryder Cup points. He missed the opportunity to get Presidents Cup points. And there is that matter of PGA Tour money.
On the other hand, he got to tee it up in a place where he would otherwise have never played, before an audience which has seen few American golfers.
It's nice to play worldwide and nice to play in different places, he said, though he certainly is not very experienced in such matters.
We play pretty much in the States. We don't really play other places, climates and things like that. It's nice to go to new places and play against different fields, and it's also good for myself to get my name out in other places, too. I certainly don't feel like I'm at another PGA Tour event. It's just over in Dubai.
DiMarco said he will honor tradition and be back in Abu Dhabi next year to defend his title. Most assuredly the guaranteed money (wink-wink) will be there. Oops ' there is a possibility he wont return if he should win this season on the PGA Tour. That would mean he would be invited to the Mercedes Championships in Hawaii to start the year. That would change around his 2007 early-season schedule dramatically, he said.
That (from Hawaii to Abu Dhubi) will be a long trip if I do that, said DiMarco. But I plan on coming back, absolutely.
I didn't expect what it is over here. It's beautiful. It's a beautiful country, everybody is extremely nice and we had an absolute wonderful time.
DiMarco can do this every so often, say once a year. But it will be very seldom. Golf fans in other countries wonder why the Americans dont leave home. But the reason is, they make a very comfortable living staying put, and with children supplying yet another reason, an appearance at another locale usually just doesnt make a lot of sense. In other sports, it makes eminent sense; in golf, probably not.
If a player is from another country and doesnt have a family to be concerned with, he would do well to play in America if the opportunity presents itself. But the opposite just isnt true. You can ask DiMarco.
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