RENO, Nevada – Padraig Harrington threw out the ceremonial first pitch, while Lee Janzen, Chris DiMarco and Billy Horschel took batting practice prior to Monday’s night Pacific Coast League game between the host Reno Aces and the Sacramento River Cats.
With the PGA TOUR in town for the Reno-Tahoe Open, the Aces – the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks -- brought in Harrington and Janzen, who have combined for five major wins, along with DiMarco, who has multiple appearances for the U.S. on Presidents and Ryder Cup teams, along with one of the TOUR’s rising stars in Horschel.
Check out these photos from Monday ( photos courtesy of the Reno Aces):
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
LA QUINTA, Calif. -- Chris DiMarco doesn't enjoy the good-byes. Not with two teenagers and an 8-year-old at home.
And when you're not playing well, it's even harder to pack your bags and head to the next PGA TOUR stop. DiMarco knows as well as anyone. He's only had one top-10 finish in his last 86 starts.
Things appear to be looking up for DiMarco, though -- particularly after Friday's 64 on the Nicklaus Course that left him at 12 under and four strokes off the lead. He birdied all four par 5s and "threw in a couple extra there," DiMarco said.
"You got to have one of these rounds to contend here,” he said. "You have to have an 8 or 9 under and you got an 8 under today to put myself in position at least to see the leaders for the next couple days."
A new caddy and a healthy outlook after putting shoulder surgery and nagging wrist injuries behind him has helped. His iron play is much improved, too, and DiMarco, who tied for 13th last week in Hawaii, is excited to see what he can make happen this year.
"The problem with golf is you have to play through (injuries)," DiMarco said. "So you tend to work yourself into some bad habits and what you're used to seeing isn't happening as much, so your confidence goes a little bit.
"So as far as confidence goes, my confidence is really coming back, I'm hitting the ball as good as I've hit it in a long, long time. For me, … when I'm not seeing anything go left, that's when I'm playing really good and that's what I'm seeing right now.
“I'm able to be real aggressive and I'm hitting the shot, I'm looking up, and the ball's going where I want it to go and that's always a good thing."
DiMarco, who was ranked seventh in the world back in 2005, admits he got discouraged at times. But now that he's playing better golf, it will be easier to justify those road trips.
"For me it's definitely, would I rather be with my kids?
Absolutely," DiMarco said. "But as long as I'm playing good golf
and I'm still competitive out here, this is where you want to be.
Not a bad gig to be out here.
“So obviously when I'm playing the level I'm used to playing -- and I'm getting back there, I really am -- I'm starting to get the confidence and the feel and feeling like I should be there and I think that's the most important thing. You lose it for a couple years and you don't know if you're ever going to get it back and I'm starting to feel that again."
Chris DiMarco has just finished playing the 17th hole in Thursday’s first round of the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic. DiMarco, who started his round off the 10th tee, is off to a nice start at 2 under through his first eight holes.
Perhaps even more important, he managed par at the 485-yard par-4 17th – which is a positive for DiMarco, who does not have good vibes on that hole.
In his Outside the Ropes feature for PGATOUR.COM, DiMarco tells the story of when he was 12 years old and playing the Magnolia course at the Walt Disney World Resort. He recalled that he “kept hooking it in the water” and eventually carded a 17 on the hole. He had tears in his eyes as he headed to the 18th hole that day.
His struggles at that hole still affect him, as he calls it a “scary tee ball” when he reaches the hole.
“Knowing you made a 17 at that hole, no matter how old you are, the memory is still there,” said DiMarco, who won’t have to play the 17th again until Saturday if he can make the cut (he’ll play the Palm course in Friday’s second round).
Click below to watch DiMarco’s Outside the Ropes feature.
To follow the rest of DiMarco’s round,
Chris DiMarco talks about his experiences at the 17th hole at the Magnolia course, in this revealing Outside the Ropes feature.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COm
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. -- The Old White TPC is being a little more generous in the early going on Saturday.
Not only did Jimmy Walker threaten the magic 59 before settling for a career-low 62, four other rounds of 65 or better have been posted before the leaders of The Greenbrier Classic tee off at 1:50 p.m.
Chris DiMarco got one of those with a bogey-free 64 that moved him back into red numbers at 5 under. Andres Romero, Bob Estes and Kyle Stanley, who played with Walker, all shot 65s – the Argentine moving to 5 under and the other two vaulting to 4 under.
"It's benign out there," DiMarco said. "Didn't get much wind until the back nine. Obviously being the third off the tee the greens were pretty good all day, too. So I was able to keep control of it, hit the ball in the fairway a lot and gave myself some chances. Made a couple good ones; actually left a couple out there."
DiMarco said he missed a 4-footer for birdie on the first hole and another at No. 13. "Other than that, it was a very solid round," the Floridian said. The winds hadn't started swirling Saturday morning, either -- " Yesterday afternoon was probably the toughest wind I played in in a long time," DiMarco said.
"It would never make up its mind. It wasn't like it would go just a quarter one way or the other. It was straight in or straight down on most holes. It was really difficult. You never knew when you were going to get it."
DiMarco finished with a flourish on Saturday as he two-putted for birdie from 36 feet at the par-5 17th and holed an 8-footer at No. 18. He expects the immature greens – all 18 were reseeded with bentgrass over the last 12 months – to be a factor as the afternoon progresses.
"They're tough to reason," DiMarco said. "And then later in the day, I mean, the leaders that go out in probably another two hours, they're going to feel the 75 guys putting out there. It'll make a difference. There's no doubt about it. It was nice to be the third group off and not see any spike marks and kind of have smooth greens."
Even so, DiMarco expects to see some more good scores as the day progresses.
"It's out there right now," he said.
DUBLIN, Ohio -- On the comeback trail after a series of nagging shoulder and wrist injuries, Chris DiMarco needed a sponsor's exemption to make the field for the Memorial Tournament.
And now he's showing Jack Nicklaus -- his coach in two Presidents Cups -- that his faith was rewarded.
DiMarco is even par through nine holes in the second round and two shots out of the lead held by his playing partner, Josh Teeter. DiMarco has made two birdies and a pair of bogeys as he embarks on the back nine.
DiMarco actually thought he was going to earn his spot on merit, but finished a few positions shy. So he joked that he reminded Nicklaus that he made the winning putt in a 1-up win over Stuart Appleby at the 2005 Presidents Cup to sweeten the deal.
"Presidents Cup helped," DiMarco said on Thursday. "There were a few things that were good, there was no doubt about it. I kept reminding him, Remember that putt I made in the Presidents Cup? I could use a spot here."
DiMarco has only had two top-10s in the last three years. He came close to another earlier this year when he tied for 11th in Puerto Rico and the 42-year-old feels a putting change has been key.
"I'm lifting my putter off the ground and it's really helping me smooth things out," DiMarco said. "... I don't do it all the time, but when I feel like I'm pushing the putter into the ground, so to speak, like putting pressure on it, it's hard to get the putter back.
"So by lifting it off the ground, it's not so much different than what Charlie Wi does with his putter where he kind of bounces, it's the same type of thing. You're just trying to get the putter started going back."
DUBLIN, Ohio – Chris Riley played in the first group off the tee on Thursday at the Memorial Tournament. That 66 he shot held up as the lead after the morning wave, too.
Riley is one stroke ahead of Chris DiMarco and Josh Teater as the second wave begins in earnest. Rickie Fowler, who finished second here a year ago, heads a group of four shooting 68s that includes Matt Bettencourt and the veterans Steve Stricker and Rocco Mediate.
Another four players shot 68s in the morning, including Matt Kuchar, who finished second in the FedExCup last year. Meanwhile, the top two players in this year’s FedExCup had very different days -- No. 1 Bubba Watson shot 75 while Luke Donald turned things around with a string of four straight birdies on the way to a 70.
“The greens are soft and if you drive it in the fairway, the course is in such great shape you can make cuts,” Riley said. “I imagine there’s going to be a 6 or 7 under, another one. Par 5s are reachable.”
DUBLIN, Ohio – Chris DiMarco matched his low round at Muirfield Village on Thursday when he fired a 67 that left him one stroke off Chris Riley’s lead.
DiMarco started on the back nine and made the turn in even par after a trio of birdies and bogeys. But his putter heated up on the front as the Floridian fired a 31 to pull even with Josh Teater.
DiMarco’s first birdie came from 12 feet at the second hole. He went on to birdie both par 3s and both par 5s on the front, holing putts of 23, 9, 3 and 18 feet.
The round of 5 under was just DiMarco’s third in the 60s in 29 trips around Muirfield Village. He also shot 67 in the second round of the 2009 Memorial in his last start here.
DiMarco hasn’t had an easy go of it this year on TOUR. His tie for 14th at The Heritage is his best finish and he currently ranks 104th in the FedExCup.
By Stan Awtrey, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. -- Despite dumping his approach shot in the water at the final hole on Saturday, Chris DiMarco left the course with plenty of positive vibes. The veteran posted a 3-under 68, which gave him back-to-back rounds in the 60s for the first time since the Bob Hope Classic in January.
“For me, that’s as good as I’ve hit it for 36 holes, other than one shot,” DiMarco said. “I’ve been consistent and I’ve hit a lot of fairways as greens.”
DiMarco made the turn at 4-under 32 and added another birdie at No. 14, his third birdie on a par 3. He hit a nice tee shot but pulled his approach into the water and had to take a drop and wound up with a double bogey.
“I just pulled it a little,” he said.
DiMarco hit 14 greens in regulation on Saturday and found 11 of 14 fairways. He’s hit 38 of 54 greens for the week with seven of those misses coming in the first round.
DiMarco has played 11 events, but he made the cut only three times. His best finishes were a tie for 11 th at the Puerto Rico Open and a tie for 21 st at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
“I didn’t hit it too good on Thursday (he shot 73), but I found something on Friday,” he said. “It was a little groove in my swing.”
DiMarco is hopeful the patch will hold up through Sunday and lead to a stronger second half.
“It’s only going to get better,” he said.
An estimated 42.3 million watched CBS Sports’ weekend coverage of the Masters, the second-largest number of viewers to watch all or part of the coverage in 10 years, CBS Sports officials said Tuesday.
Sunday’s final round, in which Charl Schwartzel prevailed but several players were in the hunt all afternoon, was watched in all or in part by 35.8 million viewers. Saturday’s third round was watched by 21.2 million.
Sunday’s final round earned an average preliminary national household rating/share of 9.5/20, only behind last year’s 10.7/24 and 2005’s 9.8/22 in the last 10 years. Last year’s Masters featured Tiger Woods’ return to golf after a hiatus and 2005 featured Woods’ fourth win in a playoff over Chris DiMarco.
Chris DiMarco has withdrawn from The Honda Classic, citing a wrist injury after his round. DiMarco shot an 85, which included a 45 -- and a quadruple-bogey 8 at No. 16 -- on the back nine.
It’s been a rough season for DiMarco, who was disqualified two weeks ago for signing an incorrect scorecard at the Northern Trust Open. He shot 77 but signed for a 75. In his five starts previous to that, DiMarco missed the cut in three of them. His best finish was a tie for 21st the at AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
Earlier, Scott Verplank also withdrew due to a wrist injury. He pulled out before play began.