- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
DiMarco hung on even as Woods got every break while he got none. On the 6th hole DiMarco's ball sat on the green for two minutes before it suddenly decided to roll off. On 8 his driver broke, and he had to send for another one. On 10 Woods's drive was hooking madly into the trees, bound for Atlanta, when it hit a branch and stayed out of trouble. On 16 Woods's witchy L-shaped chip dropped into the cup on the last ... possible ... turn. Yet on 18, DiMarco's chip that would've won him the tournament outright took a chunk out of the hole and stayed out. "That chip," said DiMarco, "had absolutely no business not going in the hole."
You think God mixed up who was making $90 million a year and who wasn't?
"That's got to suck," a fan said as DiMarco grimly passed by. "That happened to him last year, too."
True, this is the second straight year DiMarco had to serve as 18th-hole witness while somebody else made a gagger to win a green jacket. Last year it was Phil Mickelson and his three-inch jump. This year it was Woods and his patented uppercut. "I am kind of sick of being happy for somebody else," DiMarco admitted later.
And this on top of blowing the 2001 Masters after leading the first two rounds. This after squandering last year's PGA playoff to Vijay Singh. This after wasting the four-shot lead he had at the restart of the rain-interrupted third round on Sunday morning--in 22 minutes, no less.
That night, at a dark and nearly empty Augusta National, Mickelson stopped his SUV, jumped out and gave DiMarco a great big don't-cry-buddy bear hug. But if DiMarco was going to cry, it would've only been because the clubhouse man was out of beer.
"For lack of better words, I showed a lot of balls out there," he said, packing up his locker full of good-luck cards. "I showed that in the biggest tournament of our year, with the biggest audience we get by far, I could still perform. And if you can do it here, you can do it anywhere."
He came from four shots back to tie the No. 1 player in the world. His 276 total would've won 61 of the 69 Masters played. He did it with the fifth-shortest drives in the tournament against the fourth longest. It was like Gilligan wrestling the Skipper. His only problem, he conceded, was "I just was playing against Tiger Woods."
So rise up, all you Bertha bunters! Rejoice, every Saturday-morning chop who has to holler, "Hey, hold on up there, guys! I haven't hit yet!" Be glad, all ye 198-yard pip-squeaks who get flown over like red states! You have a new hero!
"It will happen for me, definitely," says DiMarco. "I see myself wearing a green jacket someday."