Heading into Fridays second round and the weekend at the Zurich Championship of New Orleans, DiMarco held a share of the lead at 7-under-par. And while its easy to remember Chris and his terrific play at Augusta National earlier this month, its tough to remember that his last PGA Tour win came in 2002. Thats right ' 2002. In Phoenix no less ' a lid-lifter if you will on the PGA Tour schedule - played when most of the PGA Tour elite are just breaking in the newest pair of shoes.
A few weeks' ago, just days after the Masters, I talked about Tiger Woods being the star of all stars on the PGA Tour. But in the same breath I also talked about DiMarco having arrived at star status after his tremendous Augusta performance.
Chris DiMarcos stock is on the rise ' no doubt about it. Hes as tough as they come. He gets more out of his given ability than most anyone in the game. And hes not afraid to tell you how confident he is. I like that.
While DiMarco has just three PGA Tour titles to his credit, many feel that his next three might just include a couple of majors. Think about it. I know he does.
So this week, its just regular old New Orleans. But as I see it, its a huge window of opportunity for Chris to keep himself on the front page if you will. A win this week keeps everyone talking about the Masters performance. A so-so weekend gives people reason to forget and think only about when Tiger will return to action.
I actually think DiMarco is ready for big things. More ready than ever before. And more ready than ever for what could and will happen if he really does take advantage of things.
Once a journeyman looking for a putting stroke and a bit of security in this game, DiMarco now appears to be a man on a journey to start amassing titles and majors. How many and how soon are the questions that have us looking to find answers.
Heres an interesting note on Chris while he was on hiatus for the past two weeks: A little fishing trip with his buddies resulted in perhaps the biggest catch hes made since the FBR Open win in Phoenix back in 2002. DiMarco reeled in a 35-40 pound redfish among friends to help win a little 4-man best boat tournament. As the story goes, DiMarco had never seen a redfish in person. Now hes got fish stories to tell for years and a picture from the local Orlando paper to prove it.
Now, after casting himself into contention again, we find out if DiMarco is ready to reel in his fourth PGA Tour title and keep momentum on his side.
Believe him, he could use a few wins heading into the next three major championships and the Presidents Cup which will definitely hold a spot for him.
By the way, the man DiMarco found himself tied with after Round 1 owes a good bit of thanks to DiMarco himself.
Arjun Atwal, the second-year PGA Tour pro from Calcutta, India, was listed as the 23rd alternate on Monday at the BellSouth Classic just as he was spending his honeymoon with wife Ritika in Bali.
You remember threatening weather in Georgia that week cast doubt, not only over the completion of the tournament, but also put a fear-factor into the minds of players like DiMarco and Steve Flesch, who werent about to stray from a long-planned practice schedule for the Masters. Well, Atwals parents warned him of the storms and dropped a hint that he might want to make his way back to the United States where he has a home.
Atwal, who finished 146th on the PGA Tour money list as a rookie in 2004, made it all count - cashing in to the tune of $330,000. And the first from India to have won on the European Tour has apparently found his way just a bit. Seven worldwide wins for Atwal ' now maybe a first is in the cards on the PGA Tour.
At any rate, to me this is DiMarcos big week. The week that could really launch him on the PGA Tour. The week that can make the tough Masters defeat an even bigger victory. The week he angles himself into permanent conversation about the PGA Tours biggest fish.
Lets see if DiMarco can make it happen. He can.... can't he?
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