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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    Molinari reflects on beating Woods at Ryder Cup, Open

    By Ryan LavnerSeptember 25, 2018, 9:11 am

    SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – Francesco Molinari might be a useful resource for the European Ryder Cup team.

    He’s already beaten Tiger Woods, head to head, at a Ryder Cup and a major.

    Molinari was in the anchor match at the 2012 Ryder Cup when Woods conceded on the final hole to give the Europeans an outright victory in the incredible comeback at Medinah. He said the last hole was a “blur,” and it remains the last Ryder Cup that both Molinari and Woods played.

    “I’ve improved a lot as a player since 2012,” said Molinari, who lost his previous singles match against Woods in 2010, 4 and 3, “and I hope to show that on the course this week.”

    The proof is the claret jug that he now keeps at home.


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    To win his first major he needed to not only endure the circus that a Woods group brings, but he needed to outlast the 14-time major champion and a host of other worthy contenders to prevail at Carnoustie.

    Reflecting on that momentous day Tuesday, Molinari said he initially was dreading the final-round date with Woods.

    “If I’m completely honest, I wasn’t exactly hoping to be paired with Tiger, not because I don’t like to play with him, but because, obviously, the hype and with him being in contention in a major, it’s going to be noisy and it’s going to be a lot of people," he said. 

    “So the most challenging part was probably that moment when the draw came out, but then I quickly managed to think, You know, whatever. I don’t really care. I’m here to do a job, and they can’t really influence how I do my job.”  

    To thrive in that situation gave Molinari a lot of confidence – especially heading into a pressure-cooker like the Ryder Cup.

    Asked whether it’s more pressure trying to win a major or a Ryder Cup – since he’s now done both – Molinari said: “You won’t believe me, but it’s nowhere near. Carnoustie was nowhere near Medinah or in any matching ways. It’s hard to believe, but it’s probably because you play for a team; you play for a continent in our case, and you know about the tradition and what players have done in the past.”

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    Woods 25/1 to break Nicklaus' record by age 50

    By Will GraySeptember 25, 2018, 9:05 am

    With his victory at the Tour Championship, Tiger Woods crept closer to Sam Snead's all-time PGA Tour wins mark. But he also got fans thinking about whether golf's most famous record is once again in play.

    Woods has been stuck on 14 career major titles since the 2008 U.S. Open, although he had a pair of close calls this summer. But now that he's again a winner on Tour, oddsmakers at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook created bets on where Woods' career major haul will end up.

    The line they drew in the sand? Dec. 30, 2025 - when Woods, now 42, will turn 50 years old.

    According to the Westgate, Woods is a -150 favorite to win at least one more major by that time. He's 2/1 to win at least two more, 5/1 to win at least three more and 12/1 to win at least four more. But it'll take five more majors to break Nicklaus' record haul of 18, and the odds on Woods doing that by age 50 are set at 25/1.

    There are also odds on Woods' 2019 major prospects, as he's already the betting favorite for the Masters at 9/1. Woods' odds of winning any major next year are listed at +225, while the pessimists can wager -275 that his major victory drought will extend to at least 2020.

    There's even a bet for those expecting some serious history: the odds of Woods sweeping all four majors next year at age 43 are 200/1.

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    All 12 Europeans have history at Le Golf National

    By Ryan LavnerSeptember 25, 2018, 8:55 am

    SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – The European team has plenty of experience at Ryder Cup venue Le Golf National, which has been the longtime host of the French Open.

    The question this week is whether it’ll matter.

    The only American player to compete in this year’s French Open was Justin Thomas. Jordan Spieth, Tony Finau and Bubba Watson all got a look at Le Golf National before The Open.

    Not surprisingly, the European team has a proven track record here – all 12 players have seen the course at some point. Alex Noren won in July. Tommy Fleetwood is a past champion, too. So is European vice captain Graeme McDowell. Francesco Molinari and assistant Lee Westwood also have runners-up here.


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    “I definitely think it’s a help to us, for sure,” Ian Poulter said. “It’s probably the most-played venue as a Ryder Cup venue for all of the European players that have played. So we definitely have a feel of how this golf course has played in very different weather conditions. I definitely think we have an understanding of how this golf course can play.”

    Of course, this setup is no different than what players typically experience as they prepare for a major championship. They’ll play 18 holes each of the next two days, then maybe nine holes on Thursday, as they get a feel for the layout.  

    “When it’s the best players in the world, and we play on golf courses week-in and week-out where we have to learn a new golf course, it’s difficult to say how much of an advantage it will be,” Fleetwood said. “It can only be a good thing, or it can’t do any harm that we know the course better or that we’ve played it more times.

    “Knowledge can only be a good thing. Maybe it’s a little advantage, but it’s the best players in the world that are out here, so it’s not something to look at too much.”

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    First-tee grandstand 'biggest you'll ever see'

    By Ryan LavnerSeptember 25, 2018, 8:27 am

    SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – The first-tee nerves could be even more intense this week at the Ryder Cup.

    If only because of the atmosphere.

    The grandstand surrounding the first hole at Le Golf National is unlike anything that’s ever been seen at this event – a 6,500-seat behemoth that dwarfs the previous arenas.

    “It’s the biggest grandstand you’ll ever see at a golf tournament,” Tommy Fleetwood said.


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    “It’s hard to explain to someone who hasn’t had to hit that tee shot before,” Ian Poulter said. “When I think back (to my first Ryder Cup) in 2004, the stand is nothing like what we have today. So it really is going to be quite a special moment Friday, and it’s going to be very interesting to see.”

    Poulter said it’ll be his job to prepare, as best he can, the team’s rookies for what they’ll experience when the first ball goes in the air Friday morning.

    “The No. 1 thing I’ve pictured since the Ryder Cup became a goal is that first tee shot,” Fleetwood said. “But nothing prepares you for the real thing. The grandstand is pretty big – there’s no denying that.

    “It’s something that everybody wants in their career, so as nerve-wracking as it is, and whatever those feelings are, everybody wants that in their life. So you just have to take it on and let it all happen.”