Sunday, April 08, 2001

For contenders, proof is in putting

Different strokes help array of folks

By Paul Daugherty
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        AUGUSTA, Ga. — Mark Calcavecchia and Chris DiMarco are just two shots behind Tiger Woods. Each putts like he's trying to twist off a jar lid.

        Rocco Mediate is four shots behind. He uses a putter long enough to post him up. If any of these guys wins the Masters, practice greens will be clogged with hackers fiddling with their grips and trying putters that look like lengths of drainpipe.

        DiMarco has a routine that looks like Sean Casey in the batter's box:

        He grips the putter normally with his right hand. He adds his left hand, high on the grip but also conventionally. Then right before he putts, DiMarco rolls his right hand, so the thumb is up. His right hand grasps the club like a claw.

        Pros have called it DiMarco's “psycho” grip. Because he's a University of Florida alumnus, he prefers “Gator” grip. Whatever, DiMarco is on Tiger's tail partly because he ranks third in putting after three rounds.

        (Note to golf geeks: DiMarco says his grip keeps his right side out of his stroke. Go ahead. Try it. Roll a few on the family room rug right now.)

        Calcavecchia's grip is not as extreme, though he credits DiMarco with helping him help his putting, which, until about 18 months ago, was pathetic. Calcavecchia eyed two water bottles less than 2 feet apart. “From between these two water bottles there was a 50-50 chance of me making” the putt, he said. “I was twitchy.”

        Calcavecchia doesn't claw the putter the way DiMarco does. Only the ends of his fingers are involved, not the whole hand. He changed at the the Players Champion ship last year. “I could feel it. I hit the first (putt), and just had this big ol' grin on my face. I'd found my putting grip.”

        Mediate wields a putter tall enough to play small forward. He has been using it since late 1990. People thought him strange. Not that he cared.

        “My comment was always, "Kiss my (grits), I'm trying to make a living,'” he said.

        Mediate is tied for fifth with Calcavecchia for fewest putts. “I'm Mr. Putter now,” he said. “If I miss one, I'm shocked.”

        If he wins putting with that thing, the rest of us might be shocked, too.


Sports Stories
Latest Masters golf coverage
DAUGHERTY: Can anyone master Tiger?
- For contenders, proof is in putting
Metcalfe, Kunkemoeller are 2001 Legends of Golf
Best and worst of week in sports
ESPN's Mayne masters dry humor
Five Questions with: Donna Barton
Cyclones 6, Utah 2
Mighty Ducks 5, Kentucky 5
Trenton 107, Stuff 103
High School Insider
Winton Woods hurdler stars in Coaches Classic
Cincinnati boys track results
Cincinnati girls track results
Cincinnati high school highlights
Cincinnati high school baseball
Cincinnati high school softball
Other Cincinnati high school results
N.Ky. high school highlights
N.Ky. high school baseball
N.Ky. track results

Brewers 6, Reds 1
SULLIVAN: Reds not in swing of things
Larkin defying Father Time
Young's gestures all in fun
Atchley relieved by recall
Catchers catch grief from Boone
Wright flirts with no-hitter
Reds box, runs
Bengals lock up defensive lineman Henry