The runner-up finish took no toll, even though DiMarco wound up a shot out of a playoff at his next tournament, in New Orleans. He told his father, "I know it's taking me a while to get my next win, but watch out when I do." The fact is, DiMarco received nearly as much credit for his second-place showing at Augusta as Woods did for winning. "He gave the fans what they wanted," Mitch DiMarco says. People want to see someone--especially someone they can relate to--stand up to Woods, but they also want to see Tiger win. (Golf fans will get to see the two go head-to-head again at Pinehurst; DiMarco, Woods and Luke Donald will play together in the first two rounds.)
Maybe you've heard the story before. Remember Rocky Balboa? The smaller, scrappy fighter gets into the ring with Apollo Creed. Rocky is way overmatched, so of course he loses. But he's a winner because he hung in there, and that near upset gives him the strength to come back again and again and again.