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Chris DiMarco Friday Masters Press Conference Transcript

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CHRIS DIMARCO: Today was a very good day. I got off to not the greatest start. Obviously I bogeyed 1 but settled right back down and birdied 2 and 3 and that just set the tone. It was a lot like yesterday. I put myself in the positions on the holes to -- when I could be aggressive I was aggressive and when I wasn't, I took par. Par was a good score. I was watching SportsCenter last night and Andy North said 10-under was the number he thinks is going to win. I knew I didn't need to go out and shoots 5-, or 6-under today, just get a couple here, a couple today and I would be all right. Obviously I got to 10-under, which is a good number. Ten more the next two days obviously would be nice.
 
Q. Woods, Duval, DiMarco, do you belong in that group?
 
CHRIS DIMARCO: Well, I guess I do this week. Sure, I mean, why not? Everybody -- before Woods and Duval was Woods and Duval, they had to get there somehow, right? Maybe this is my week to get there.
 
Q. Following you from the Florida Gator days and knowing a little bit about you that others may not know, we knowing that you can play. I heard a comment by you last night, that the public thinks you won't be here anymore and you made a comment like, 'I expect to be here.'
 
CHRIS DIMARCO: Right.
 
Q. After having a good round, and it could have unraveled, how much did -- (inaudible)?
 
CHRIS DIMARCO: I read a lot of articles today and they said that Dennis Paulson and Brandel Chamblee, they shot in the 60s and were leading and never shot in the 60s again. That putt on 18 was big. I wanted to put it in the 60s today. You're right, it was -- obviously, to lead one day, you know, obviously, to go out and as the leader and go do it again, is big. It's huge for my confidence. I mean, how could it not be? It's great. Ever since the win last year, I was just kind of building and building. It's a lot of fun, to tell you the truth. It's a lot of fun.
 
Q. How much of a lift was the putt on 12 and how difficult was that?
 
CHRIS DIMARCO: It's so fun being on that 12th green because nobody is around. You get on that green and it's so quiet, you're like: My goodness. I was playing with Sergio on Monday he said, it's funny, when you make birdie or make a putt it's like a delay and they see it go in and then they scream. I saw it go in and it was cool, like a two-second delay. I had raised my putter and it was in and then two seconds later -- and everybody roared. I knew I was playing good. I knew I had 13, 14 and 15 coming up. Par on 12 is great. Been extremely lucky to play that hole in four shots the first two days. I'll take two 3s the rest of the week, I can promise you that.
 
Q. When you stood on the tee, I know you were talking about the wind swirling and everything, almost as soon as you hit it, the wind picked up on the hill. Were you nervous about that shot before as it was in the air?
 
CHRIS DIMARCO: I knew the wind was hurting. I knew it was not going to turn around and come back in my face. It was really big, actually watched Greg Chalmers hit his 8-iron and get it on the green. I knew I could hit my 7-iron and just keep it a little bit lower, a little three-quarter shot and get it lower and I could get it there.
 
Q. If it were not for Skip Kendall do you think you would be here today? Would you still be in the game?
 
CHRIS DIMARCO: I think I probably would have founding in something. I mean, we are all searching sometimes. I owe a lot to him, obviously. He kind of gave me a rebirth. When I first did it, I thought maybe it was just something that, everybody always said: You've been doing it for a while, why don't you go back to conventional. Well, six years, obviously this is my conventional way to putt. So it has helped me a lot.
 
Q. Have you ever played with Tiger, and if not, do you look at what Bob May did last year at the PGA as sort of --
 
CHRIS DIMARCO: I have never played with Tiger. Only time I've ever played with him was in a practice round when he was still an amateur. I said back then, he's an aggressive player. He's got to learn a little bit. (Laughter.) He learned quickly. I'm excited. I really am. You know, last year I had a lot of opportunities to play with him. We missed each other by a player here or a player there. I think I have gained a lot of fans over the last few days. You know, we go to a normal tournament, everything is pro-Tiger. I'm sure there will be a lot of pro-Tigers, but I think I gained a lot of fan base out there, so I'm sure I will hear a lot of, 'Go, Chrises,' which will be nice.
 
Q. What things did you hear in the galleries?
 
CHRIS DIMARCO: You know, it is a totally different gallery here. Totally different fan base. So much more respectful here. Not saying that most tournaments are not, but they are so much more respectful, and it is all about the golf here. They are not out here to drink 75 beers and scream and yell at every shot you hit. They are here to watch the golf and see everything unfold. It really is special. It really is. I mean, walking up 16, I'm watching people, they are a standing ovation when I am walking up to the green. It's unbelievable.
 
Q. Can you take us through what you were thinking shot to shot on 18?
 
CHRIS DIMARCO: I hit 3-wood off the tee to not get in those bunkers and I hit it perfect. I hit it nice, high, it was cutting a little bit. It hit hard and jumped in. The bunkers are real fluffy, and I had a bad lie and I had to get it up and I hit it a little thin. It caught the lip, and that's why I checked my ball, because I thought I might have cut my ball. But those new Pro V1s, you cannot cut those balls. And I knew that I had the backstop. I walked up the green, saw the backstop, saw Sandy's ball hit and roll back. I knew I could get it in there about eight feet, and I hit the right shot.
 
Q. You talked about the win giving you confidence. What else are you drawing on when you are reading those stories this morning, what are you drawing on?
 
CHRIS DIMARCO: I've got a lot of family here. I've got a lot of people keeping me busy, a lot of people pumping me up. They all believe in me. I believe in me. I've just got to prove everybody here to believe in me. That's my goal the next two days.
 
Q. How good is what you've done in two days, in perspective of your prior career performance and do you really feel 10-under is possible the next two days?
 
CHRIS DIMARCO: The course is toughening up, for sure. I don't think somebody is going to get 10-under the next two days. Who knows, if we get 20-mile-an-hour wind, you know, anything can happen. So, you know, I'm extremely happy to get to 10-under, you're right, but being here for the first time, it is pretty special. Like I said, I've got to play the golf course. That's all I can play. What the course gives me tomorrow, if it is harder and faster, then I will be a little less aggressive and take the pars. Par is a good score tomorrow, if that's the way it is going to be.
 
Q. Getting back to 1 again, then you bogey 1, is there any doubt in your mind which way this round is going to go in; any thoughts creeping in, like let's not give away what we did yesterday?
 
CHRIS DIMARCO: I hit a poor drive on 1. Once I hit my drive on 2, which was a really good one down the left side, that settled me down a lot. And obviously to make birdie there was like, okay, we are not going in the wrong direction. We are going in the right direction. From that point on, I never thought about anything negative, really, the rest of the day.
 
Q. What technically is the advantage of the putting grip, and what type of putter would you recommend that to?
 
CHRIS DIMARCO: Well, all it does for me is I putt with my left side. That's it. I just try to take my right hand out of the putter and I try to use my left side. That's it. As far as using it, you just need a little longer grip. That's it. So you can get both hands on there.
 
Q. On the putting style, how physically uncomfortable was that when you first tried it? With your success on this stage, do you see it sweeping the nation now?
 
CHRIS DIMARCO: I don't know about that. (Laughter.) Obviously, it was awkward at first, for sure. But once I saw putts going in, I got used to it pretty quick.
 
Q. When you look at the leaderboard and see whose name is right below yours, do you think you can handle it better now, having won a tournament out here? Do you think that one win makes a big difference?
 
CHRIS DIMARCO: Well, you know, the bottom line is, he's got to play the course, too, and he's got a lot going this week, also. You know, the way he plays, with the pressure that's on him, is amazing. I mean, that's all anybody has talked about was to get four Slams, four majors to get the Slam. He's going to be playing for that. Just watching him, he is such a momentum guy. He is just all business. I'm going to try to do the same thing tomorrow. I don't think there will be much chitchat going on out there, I can promise you that.
 
Q. As you saw his numbers get lower and lower on the leaderboard, did you see that? Did you watch it? Is there a sense of excitement? What sense did you have and did you see it?
 
CHRIS DIMARCO: I think every player realizes that he is going to be up there. His record is phenomenal. He finishes in the top 5 just about every week. You know he is going to be around. So, you just want to stay around him, actually. If you can stay around him, then you are doing well. It's going to be exciting tomorrow. I can't wait. To tell you the truth, I'm looking forward to it.
 
Q. You played with a Masters' winner yesterday and today; you're playing with one tomorrow. You said you think there may not be much chitchat tomorrow but --
 
CHRIS DIMARCO: I know his caddy really, too, Casey. Sandy was unbelievable to play with. I know things didn't go his way, but he and Greg both were a lot of fun to play with. We had a lot of fun.
 
Q. So the next generation of the grip could be Calcavecchia; you taught it to him after Skip taught it to you and just goes on and so forth and so on --
 
CHRIS DIMARCO: I don't know about that. We are all looking for something to get the ball in the hole and nobody said you had to putt two hands like that (indicating standard grip) who started that in the first place; that's just the way everybody went. Who knows, maybe what I'm doing is the right way the whole time and you guys have all been doing it wrong. (Laughter.)
 
Q. Are you generally not a nervous person, and do you -- what do you do when you do get nervous? Do you have any routine to calm down?
 
CHRIS DIMARCO: I do. Of course, I think that if anyone says they don't get nervous, they are not telling the truth, but it is just by experience. You just have to be there, and experience things, and then that's going to make you feel comfortable. You can draw from those but when I am in a nervous situation, I'll close my eyes and think either about my daughter or my son, them running around, just to get me out of the moment of thinking about negative things and thinking positive.
 
Q. You talk about reading the newspapers and watching TV. A lot of guys in this situation don't do any of that. They shut it out. Do you enjoy all of that, as well?
 
CHRIS DIMARCO: It's great. To be here Friday evening at the Masters, leading the tournament, yeah. Of course you've got to enjoy that.
 
Q. I mean, the whole media, all the hype and everything?
 
CHRIS DIMARCO: Well, I just thought I had to do this. (Laughter.)
 
Q. Your brother, Rich was telling me, ESPN had a poll about what you would shoot --
 
CHRIS DIMARCO: What were the results?
 
Q. I think 72 or better. 72 was the leading percentage.
 
CHRIS DIMARCO: I thought they were going to give me a little 76 or over. You know, I played on Monday, I think I shot a couple under. I shot 68 on Wednesday. 65 yesterday. 69 today. This course sets up good, apparently, so I just need to get out of my own way and just play the golf.
 
Q. If you could sum up why the course sets up well for you?
 
CHRIS DIMARCO: Oh, boy. I'm a good iron player. If you have to hit irons in spots -- and the greens, believe it or not, they say you have to be real precise. They are forgiving. You can hit some shots like on 16, you just hit it anywhere on that ridge, you've got 12 or 15 or 25 feet to hit it and it rolls right down to the hole, and then you try to put it there every day. If the pin is front right or back right or anything, that's the days you don't go for the pin and the shots that funnel down, you play for the funnel; the ones you don't, you try to make par.
 
Q. Orange and Blue question. I understand Pat, your caddy spent two years at UT?
 
CHRIS DIMARCO: Yeah, but he's a Gator by heart. I think somebody twisted his arm to go there, because that was -- he does not -- he bleeds orange, but a lot of blue, too, because there ain't no Volunteer in him, I can promise you.
 
RONALD TOWNSEND: Can we talk about birdies and bogies.
 
CHRIS DIMARCO: Obviously, bogey on 1. Only bogey. 2, I hit a great driver. Hit a 3-wood landed about three feet from the hole and it just trickled over the green. I had a really good chip shot about four feet and made a good 4-footer. 3, I hit a driver -- I hit a 2-iron , 9-iron about 20 feet with bunch of break, six feet of break and just dead center. Made a great up-and-down on 4. Hit it in the front bunker. Got up-and-down. My next birdie was -- I made a good up-and-down on 10. Made a good up-and-down. 12, I hit a 7-iron to the green. Made about a 30-footer. 15, I hit a driver. Hit a really good driver down there. Had 204 to the hole. Hit a 4-iron. Landed three feet from the hole, trickled over the green and putted up three or four inches and made birdie. 16, I hit in there about six feet left of the hole. I know that on TV it looks like a straight uphill putt, but I played about -- let the slope take it, just take it a little bit easy and it just slid by. I think that was the only putt all day I was just a tad tentative on. 17, I made great up-and-down, 3 1/2, 4-footer. 18 I made a great up-and-down, made about an 8- or 9-footer.
 
Q. Did you watch Tiger and Bob May's final round of the PGA? Where were you? What do you remember?
 
CHRIS DIMARCO: I played well there. I finished 15th. I was on the course for most of it. I watched them play the last couple holes. You can just see, last year, that was the thing about Tiger last year was that every putt that he needed to make, he made. The tournament was virtually over last year, if he misses that putt on 16 and he makes that putt -- or 15. He makes that putt on 15 and Bob is in there four feet. Could have been a four- or five-shot lead right there and ends up being two, and you can just see Tiger's eyes getting a little bigger, and he went out and birdied a couple holes coming in and that's what it takes.
 
Q. Having played other majors, is this one different or is it just a major and the same mindset like you had a Valhalla?
 
CHRIS DIMARCO: Obviously, it is a major, but I think you guys put more pressure on that it is a major. To us, it's a tournament. Obviously, it's the big. Tournament in the world. Don't get me wrong there. I'm not saying to make it less than it is. But in the whole scheme of things it's a tournament. It's 72 holes, just like we play every week. More venue, more of you guys are here. You get the best field, which is what you want, but, you know, I've got to think of it as a tournament. I can't think -- if I start thinking about how big it is, then I'm going to get in my own way and I can't do that. I've got to go to the task at hand, which is just to go out and play golf.
 
Q. When was the time you played with Tiger as an amateur? What sort of things do you recall from that ?
 
CHRIS DIMARCO: Boy, that was seven or six years ago at Westchester. Played nine holes on the front and that was it. Like around the gleans, he would hit big old flop , but he hits them a foot now. That was it. He would just try -- you know, it's like Phil. You watch Phil Mickelson around the greens and you don't question them because he hits them a foot, but just boy -- you know -- you could hit that bump-and-run, and he likes to hit that little flop spinner, and he is unbelievable at it.
 
Q. After playing 36 holes in Atlanta, you still played here on Monday?
 
CHRIS DIMARCO: The adrenaline was pumping on Monday. You could not have kept me off the course, for sure. Just come out and see everybody. We played a twosome, me and Sergio, we played four hours. It was great. It was a lot of fun.
 
Q. What's your ball flight?
 
CHRIS DIMARCO: These guys try and hit it down the right side, and draw I hit it the fairway and hope I pull it a little bit. I try and hit a straight ball. Obviously, if it calls for a draw, I'll hit my 3-wood, which I can turn over a little bit better than my driver. If it calls for my fade, my driver tends to cut a little bit. And my irons, I just kind of hit what needs to be hit. Out here, you really don't need to -- with your irons, you don't really need to cut; you've got the slope that you can use. Just try and get it somewhere around the pin and hope that you can either make it or 2-putt.
 
Q. What do you think you are going to do tonight? Any special plans?
 
CHRIS DIMARCO: I'm sure we are going to go back. Somebody is going to cook some dinner. We've got three moms staying with us. So cook some dinner up. Play with the kids and watch a little SportsCenter and go to bed.

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