Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

PGA CHAMPIONSHIP NOTEBOOK; DiMarco Ousts Caddie; Sluman Faces Pressure

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

PGA CHAMPIONSHIP NOTEBOOK; DiMarco Ousts Caddie; Sluman Faces Pressure

Article excerpt

Byline: GARRY SMITS

MEDINAH, Ill. - Chris DiMarco ended a six-year relationship with caddie Pat O'Bryan and replaced him with Ryan Rue, the brother of his brother-in-law.

"That was the hardest call I've ever had to make," said DiMarco, who finished second to Tiger Woods at the British Open two weeks ago. "Pat was my caddie for six-and-a-half years and my friend for six-and-a-half years."

The former University of Florida golfer left open the possibility that O'Bryan could return.

"It wasn't his fault. ... It obviously was my fault," DiMarco said. "I wasn't playing great.

"I told [O'Bryan] it could be five weeks and you'll be back on the bag. We just need some time apart. It was a very good run."

DiMarco has won three times on the PGA Tour with O'Bryan and enjoyed success on the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup teams. But this year, DiMarco has missed 10-of-20 cuts on the PGA Tour and is 46th on the money list with $1,225,126, after finishing 19th or better in his past six years.

NO HOME COOKIN'

Just because Jeff Sluman is from Chicago doesn't mean he plays in tournaments near his home with a comfort level that translates into good results.

Sluman has the homefield advantage for this week's PGA Championship, which begins today at Medinah Country Club. Because he didn't play in last week's International, he has been home for some extra practice.

However, the 1988 PGA champion, who has resisted moving to warm-weather states such as Florida, Texas, Arizona or California, said trying too hard to impress family and friends actually puts more pressure on him.

In four previous majors played in the Chicago area, Sluman missed the cut at the 2003 U.S. Open at Olympia Fields, tied for 54th at the 1999 PGA at Medinah, tied for 14th at the 1990 U.S. Open at Medinah and tied for 24th at the 1989 PGA at Kemper Lakes.

Sluman also hasn't fared well at the Western Open.

"I think if you look at my record, whenever I've gone home, I don't play very well," he said. …

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