An Interview With: CHRIS DiMARCO
September 19, 2006
GORDON SIMPSON: Okay. As you can see, it really is Chris DiMarco, and Chris, it was a fairly different K Club to three weeks ago I think today with the atmosphere after playing in splendid isolation a few weeks ago.
CHRIS DiMARCO: Yeah, the fans were great. They are wishing us luck, not all good luck, but they are wishing us some luck. There's actually a lot of Americans out there, too, which is nice.
The course is phenomenal. Greens, I was a little concerned three weeks ago because there was a lot of grain, but they are perfect. They are rolling good. Speed's up. The course is in phenomenal shape.
GORDON SIMPSON: Thank you for those opening remarks and then we'll take some questions, please.
Q. If I could just ask you to expand on that a little. It's only Tuesday but a massive crowd out there. So could you kind of sum up what the buzz in the atmosphere is like even at this early stage?
CHRIS DiMARCO: Obviously with this being this is the first time it's ever been held in Ireland; is that right? I think you see the outpouring coming. I think that they are waiting for this and they deserve this. I mean, this is golf is huge here in this country. So it's great. I think it's deserving and I think the fans are doing a phenomenal job, and I think that hopefully they are going to get to see some very good golf this week.
Q. Just what Stewart was previously talking about, Tom's leadership and the way he's going about it, are you noticing a big difference and do you like it?
CHRIS DiMARCO: You know, yeah, because most of the time in the times past, everybody is like, you know, you guys are all grown men, you guys know how to do what you need to do. It's kind of nice to have someone saying, this is what we're doing, and I'll tell you when we're doing it and I'll tell you who you're playing with. It's nice, it gives you that sense that he is a leader.
I told him last night that I respected him and that I thought he was the best captain I've ever had just because of that way that he's gone about making sure that the team is that trip we took here a month ago was awesome. You know, I knew mostly everybody, but when I walked off that plane, I knew that I had 12 or 15 really close friends after that.
It was a good thing and I think he's done numerous little things that in the whole scheme of it are just huge.
Q. You almost had a team huddle on the driving range before you teed off this morning.
CHRIS DiMARCO: We did; we just don't go, "Break". (Laughter).
Q. In the past you guys have talked about preferring the atmosphere of the Presidents Cup to what the Ryder Cup has sometimes been in the past. Does the way Tom has conducted his captainship make this feel more like what's gone on at the Presidents Cup?
CHRIS DiMARCO: No. Really, the only thing that obviously, their players, European players, are respected by us tremendously. We know all those guys can play golf. Same thing with the International guys.
I think what sometimes gets out of hand is the actual fans. I think that they seem to get more heated than we do, so to speak. You know, I know that when I'm looking across that green, whether I'm playing Lee and Sergio, I respect them and I want to win, but I respect them and there's no heat between us that way.
It just seemed like at the Presidents Cup, it is a little bit more relaxed atmosphere, but it's getting up there itself. The fans are really getting into it there. You know, the bottom line is, this is the oldest thing we do, and we all want to win the Ryder Cup.
You know, I think that the two are becoming you're never going to get the tradition that the Ryder Cup has until maybe well after I'm gone in the Presidents Cup. It just needs time. It's going to get there, it just needs time.
You know, this is before the Presidents Cup, this is all there was, so this is very, very important to us, and I know it is to them also.
Q. Darren Clarke talked yesterday about the common bond he feels with perhaps you and he and Tiger Woods with the losses you've suffered this year. Have you spoken to Darren?
CHRIS DiMARCO: I did. I talked to Darren today, and just like hundreds of people in letters and thousands of people wrote to me, really didn't know what to say. Just told him that I was thinking about him and praying for him. I don't think I can say that I know what he's going through. You know, it's hard. I know it's really hard and it's going to be hard on Thursday for him.
We're all going to be there. Again, this is a game, and we play a game, and yes, we want to win this week, but that's life. That's reality. Those type of things is what puts things in perspective. On our side, we're all thinking about Darren and what he's going through right now, because like I said, we're all friends off the course.
Q. You've been through it yourself this year. How do you come back and play an event like this?
CHRIS DiMARCO: His only solace is the golf course, because that's what he does. That's a way for him to get away and not be thinking about it all the time. He's doing it this week, which for him is great. It's such camaraderie going around. It's great for him to be around friends and just be around people that are going to care for him.
You know, the only thing that's ever going to heal him is time. It's not going to heal this week. This might take it a little bit off his head for little while, the British Open did that for me but after, the reality was, my mom, she's not here anymore. He's going to have to deal with that.
And I know he knows this; everybody is there for him. You know, whatever he it's bigger than what he's going through is just bigger than this, to tell you the truth.
Q. Considering where you were a couple of months ago before the British Open, what does this week mean to you personally?
CHRIS DiMARCO: You know, after the year that I had when I hurt myself, there really was only one main goal left and that was to try to get back to here without having to get picked. I didn't want Tom to have to pick me. I always felt like I wanted to make it on my own merit, just because I didn't want I don't know, I just didn't want to be picked. I wanted to make it. So that was my main goal.
When I played the British Open and played well there and got myself on this team, it felt like a very, very slow year, at least had a lot of problems to it. I'm still not where I need to be as far as Money List and where I want to be, but the British Open certainly made this year a lot better, because I'm here, and this is my passion. This is what I play the game for is these team events. I just love it.
Q. Sort of continuing with that, you've played lots of tournaments around the world and I have a very clear idea of what you bring to the team, but would you be kind enough to cast your modesty aside and tell us what you think you bring to the team?
CHRIS DiMARCO: It's hard to answer that. You know, I just wear my emotions on my sleeve a little bit more, I guess. Every one of us on this team has the same amount of drive and will that I have, every one of us do. I guess it's a little Italian that I have in me, and I have two older brothers that used to beat me up tremendously. So when I did beat them at something, they rubbed it in my face for so many years. So I finally was able to say, I've actually beat them without letting me win.
So I don't think anybody on this team is any more or less competitive than me and I think we are all here for the same reason. I wish I could do it in regular tournaments. I wish I could get that emotional in regular tournaments, I don't know why. There's something about this team stuff. I've always been a team player, football, whatever it is. I go to games, football games and I always get into them. So it's just that, I love getting into it.
Q. Based on the record, it would seem like the Europeans are favoured going into this tournament, which is obviously something different for this U.S. Team. What do you think about that? What do you guys think about that; do you care?
CHRIS DiMARCO: I don't care about that. I know that they have 12 very good players on the other side. You know, we have 12 very good players on our team, too. So you can throw away the World Rankings, you can throw away all that this week. It's not about that, it has nothing to do with that.
It's about will and going out and trying to get that little 14 inch gold cup.
Q. Can you talk just a little bit about you and Phil as a partnership? Y'all played together today; you've had success. Assuming that y'all will be together, what do y'all bring and how do you feed off of each other?
CHRIS DiMARCO: We just have fun. We go out and it's like we relax each other. You know, it not always golf walking down the fairway. We might be talking about something else. We might be kind of joking with each other, maybe giving each other a little ribbing here and there.
I think that's, you know, what you try to do, because this is as nerve wracking I've never been as nervous as I've ever been on the first tee at Oakland Hills. Is that where it was? (Laughter.)
GORDON SIMPSON: It was Oakland Hills.
CHRIS DiMARCO: Well, there's Oak Hill and Oakland Hills and all these things (laughter).
Q. Real lasting memory there.
CHRIS DiMARCO: Yeah, exactly, I try to forget that one. That's about as nervous as I've ever been.
I've told the other guys on the team, the new guys, I told them walking on the first tee you'll feel something you've never felt before, but you'll get into it. Once you're into it, you're into it.
So there is that factor here, and it just makes this so important to us, and that's the thing that we have to get over. I think that we want this so bad sometimes that we get in our own way, and I think that's what Phil and I do well, at least I feel that way, is that we kind of get ourselves out of our own way and just let us play golf. I think that's what you need to do. Obviously our talent is there and obviously everything is there. A lot of times we just tend to tighten.
Putting is the key to this tournament, and they have putted better than us the last three or four years, the last three or four times we've done it.
Q. Sorry to take you back to Oakland Hills, you were standing behind the 18th green at the end the last time, watching the Europeans celebrate, I just wonder why you did that and whether you will be using that as a motivational force this time.
CHRIS DiMARCO: It was not motivational. It was the fact that we just got our butts handed to us, and they were on our turf celebrating on our green. And I wanted to get out of there, trust me, but I made myself watch and just basically say, in two years, we hope to be doing the same thing to them. That's basically why I did it. It has nothing to do with anything ill towards them, it's just we want the Cup and we'd love to do it here. It would be phenomenal. Any time you win it is great, but to do it here would be extra special.
Q. Has there been any reading material, bulletin board material posted in your team room?
CHRIS DiMARCO: Yeah, unfortunately from Johnny Miller and some of our own sports writers (laughter). It's not from the Europeans, it's from the Americans.
Q. What has it done for you?
CHRIS DiMARCO: Again, we don't need any motivation. There's nothing it's not you know, in football, you need it because it's one game against somebody. And here, it's three days, there's five different sets of matches. There's 28 matches. So it has you don't really need that.
Like I said, every one of their players I respect, and I would hope and think that every one of their players respect us, too. It's about just trying to beat who you're playing that day.
Q. Did you agree with anything Johnny wrote?
CHRIS DiMARCO: I never agree with anything Johnny writes or says, so it doesn't matter (laughter).
GORDON SIMPSON: Okay, Chris, you just stick to the nice British and European sports writers.
CHRIS DiMARCO: Exactly. Thanks.
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