Player’s Take: Cristian DiMarco
April 30, 2021
By Cristian DiMarco, Forme Tour Member
Cristian DiMarco is righthanded in everything he does but golf, which he plays lefthanded—except for putting, which he does righthanded. Got all that? DiMarco, the only son of current PGA TOUR Champions player Chris DiMarco, a five-time PGA TOUR winner and two-time Presidents Cup and two-time Ryder Cup player, is preparing for his second season on the Forme Tour. His first Forme Tour year didn’t go exactly as planned, but after finishing second at the February Qualifying Tournament in Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida, not far from his Orlando metro home, DiMarco is ready to make his mark on the newly minted Forme Tour. But it’s not just a life of golf for DiMarco, who hated the snow of Kentucky but is an expert skier. Incongruities aside, DiMarco has plenty more to share about himself.
I do everything righthanded. I grew up batting baseball righthanded. I play tennis righthanded. Remote control. Toothbrush. All righthanded. I do nothing else lefthanded but golf. Zero.
When I was little, my dad gave me a club that you could use both ways. He says I always went left with it. I always swung lefty. With him having righthanded putters around the house, I guess I just picked those up and started putting righty.
I would travel a lot with Taylor Funk and Carter Toms when their dads were playing. Their dads (David and Fred) would get the brand-new equipment when it came out, and they swung righty like their dads so the new stuff would be in their bags. I had to wait for the lefthanded set to come out, which was always a little longer.
If I played a round of golf righthanded from the red tees, I think I could break 95.
I’ve never putted lefthanded. Never. I’ve played with college teammates who were lefthanded, and I used their putters. I wouldn’t be able to get off the first green if I putted lefty. I’m terrible.
I played half a season of basketball my freshman year at Lake Mary (Florida) Prep. I was short back then. I had good dribbling skills, but I was just slow. I couldn’t get around anybody. If I had an open shot, I was a pretty decent shooter.
The main reason I was playing basketball is because my friends were doing it. Once I realized my friends were a lot better than me, and I figured out I was wasting time sitting on the bench when I could have been on the range hitting balls, that was it for me.
Even with what I just described, if I went out right now and took 10 wide open 3-pointers, I would make seven.
Winning the Florida Amateur was definitely the highlight of my amateur career. Winning it was pretty cool. I had a buddy, Jimmy Jones, win it two years prior. I saw him do it, and a lot of great names have won that tournament. It was really cool because the tournament was at The Bear’s Club in Jupiter, and Jack Nicklaus was there. It was the 100th playing of the tournament, and he gave us a speech at the dinner beforehand. I had met Mr. Nicklaus at the Presidents Cup when my dad played. It was just really cool to win it there.
It’s one thing I have up on my dad as he never won the Florida Amateur. That’s a nice little ribbing I get to give him. He won a lot of other things, but the Florida Am is all me.
In Los Cabos, Mexico, at the Querencia Cabo Collegiate in 2017, that was an event that I honestly should have won. You can’t watch scoreboards in college because there are no scoreboards. I knew I was right around the lead. Our team was finishing on the front nine, with No. 9 a par-5. I didn’t know it at the time, but if I had made par there, I would have been co-medalist with Corey Pereira. But I thought I had to make birdie or better to get that.
It’s an easy layup hole. But I went for it in two, and I hit it in the hazard. I ended up making bogey to lose by one. It was the first time that I had true validation because of the competition. It was my junior year, and I was right there with (Colin) Morikawa, (Scottie) Scheffler, Doug Ghim, (Will) Zalatoris, that caliber of player.
I was an OK college golfer until then. But playing well and having a chance to win against those guys, that gave me confidence that what I have is good enough. And it still drives me, definitely showing me that I’m capable of some really good things.
I was a pretty good college player, and I was riding high. I was top 40 coming out of college, and I thought it was going to be a walk in the park going to PGA TOUR Canada. Then I show up, and I see the top-30 guys from college for the last four years. I was like, Oh my gosh. These guys are shooting 65, 64 every day. In college, if you shoot 1- or 2-under in every round in a college tournament, you’re basically going to be right in contention. What I experienced in Canada was a little bit of shellshock.
I’ve always been something of a late bloomer, but that first year in Canada I was definitely trying to be a golfer that I wasn’t. I was just trying to be too perfect. I had to realize that what I had was good enough. I had to know my game, to not take a million swing videos, to not try to be perfect and to not over-stress about a practice round. I needed to go out there and just play golf and trust that that would be good enough.
The following year, I played PGA TOUR Latinoamérica. I played a full season there, and I had a top-20 and a bunch of missed cuts to show for my year.
I get the question all the time about having a dad who played—and won—on the PGA TOUR. I don’t know any different. I was on the same team with Chase Koepka in college. I have always said Chase has it way harder than I do. I couldn’t imagine growing up with my dad as, say, a school teacher for the first 10 years of my life then, boom, he’s an all-star on the PGA TOUR. Chase and Brooks grew up playing golf together every day. Then, oh my gosh, 10 years later he’s the No. 1 player in the world. I think that has to be way harder.
But when I get the question about my dad, it would be like me saying to someone, What’s it like being a teacher’s son if I were talking to someone whose dad teaches for a living. My dad played on the PGA TOUR. I don’t know any difference.
Having Chris DiMarco as my dad has provided me with so many advantages. I’ve been able to play with some amazing people. I was playing golf with David Toms when I was 15 years old. Who gets to do that? Billy Horschel would come and stay at our house for a couple of days at a time. I’m hitting balls with and playing with him. There are so many cool things I got to see and learn, to see how these guys go about their business. It’s been great.
My parents moved to Colorado not too long ago. It’s interesting. I drive by our old house outside Orlando, the place where I lived from age 12 to 22 before they moved. I drive by it every day, and it is a little funny.
My family has always loved Colorado. We’ve been going out there since I was three years old, twice a year. We would go on ski trips, we would go in the summer. They ultimately wanted to move out there. I miss my parents and my sisters, but that’s what FaceTime is for.
I know a lot of people say they’re good skiers, but I’m a very good skier. If we were turning it into golf, I would say I’m probably a plus-4 (handicap). The reason I can say that with such confidence is because my parents put me in ski school from age three to 13. I went through all the levels. You put me on any mountain, and I can go.
What I learned is I’m very good, but I’m not a professional at all. I attended this Aspen junior golf camp, and one of the guys was Bobby Moyer, who skied for the U.S. Ski Team. I would go skiing with him in the winters. Yeah, he is much better than me. But both Bobby and longtime U.S. Ski Team member Andy Mill said, “Dude, you could ski race.” So, I was like, Wow.
I think I was a lot better when I was 17, 18, 19, 20. Now, give me a black diamond groom. I don’t want to hurt myself. I just want to make some big turns and put some good music on.
The last time I went skiing was two years ago. It’s just a weird time of the year because the winter months are when you’re either gearing up for Korn Ferry (Tour) Q-School, or it’s January, February or March for [Forme Tour] or Latinoamérica Q-School. It’s just not worth the risk of getting hurt before those events, so I haven’t been in two years.
Skiing is something I think I will always do throughout my life. It’s like riding a bike. I’m not losing the ability to ski.
I’ve been brainwashed about college sports. I hate to say it. If South Florida were playing Florida in anything but golf—and I’ll always pull for the Bulls in golf over anybody—I’m Florida all the way in football or basketball. I went to the University of Kentucky my freshman year, a big SEC school, and I couldn’t get myself to root for Kentucky basketball the way I did for Florida sports. Being a Gator fan has been brainwashed into my head.
I did love my time at Kentucky. Growing up, I always wanted to play for Buddy Alexander, who was the coach at Florida when my dad was there. I was a late bloomer, and it didn’t work out. It wasn’t in the cards for me to go to Florida on my own merit. I guess if my dad had reached out and asked for a walk-on spot, I’m sure I could have done that. But I didn’t want to go that way.
But I did always want to play for Buddy Alexander. In a way, that’s worked out. Brian Craig was on my dad’s team in college at UF, and he played for Buddy Alexander, and he was my coach at Kentucky. Jessie Mudd, previously an assistant at UK, played at Florida, for Buddy Alexander and coached with Buddy. My college coach at USF, Steve Bradley, played at Florida under Buddy Alexander and coached with him. So, I have some Buddy Alexander in me, just second- or third-hand.
Kentucky was great, and I still talk to the guys from that team—Cooper Musselman, Fred Allen Meyer, all those guys. I talk to them all the time. Kentucky was just too cold. I went home for Thanksgiving in 2014, and there was snow on the ground in Lexington. I got to Orlando and played golf in shorts. I went back up for three weeks before Christmas break, and, again, snow on the ground in Kentucky. We couldn’t play. After Christmas, I returned to school and talked to Coach Craig and said I didn’t think I could do that for four years. That’s when I transferred to South Florida.
Cooper is a really good buddy of mine, and I plan on traveling with him this summer on the Forme Tour. Cooper and I have a little of the same thing when it comes to the teams we cheer for. He’s a big Louisville fan even though he attended Kentucky. We would go to Kentucky basketball games together. If the Wildcats weren’t playing Louisville, he would root for Kentucky. If UK wasn’t playing Florida, I would root for Kentucky. We shared that similarity.
My music taste depends. When I’m skiing, I’ll listen to rap. I’ll always listen to Lil Wayne. But I’ll throw some country on. Luke Combs is great, Florida-Georgia Line and Luke Bryan are favorites. I also like some Bryce Vine. So, yeah, a mixture.
Describing my favorite meal, I’ll say it’s the pork ribs my girlfriend’s dad makes. I’m going ribs. They’re awesome. Then I go with a Caesar salad and mac and cheese. I’ll probably drink a Moscow Mule with Tito’s vodka. Now, I don’t eat dessert too often, but for this, I would have cookie cake with vanilla ice cream. Oh, and I hate mushrooms. Don’t get them anywhere near me.