Here's the Bills news of note for April 7th.
**1 - Pat DiMarco's tie to the Masters
**Golf has always been a hobby for Bills FB Pat DiMarco when he's away from football. Part of the reason why is he grew up a fan of one PGA Tour player in particular. DiMarco's uncle is former PGA Tour pro Chris DiMarco.
DiMarco remembers as a young teenager rooting on his uncle at the Masters, especially when he was in contention for a green jacket entering the final round in 2004 and 2005. Unfortunately for DiMarco each time he was matched up against two giants in the game.* *
"My uncle Chris DiMarco played on the tour for a long time," said DiMarco in an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550.
In the 2004 Masters his uncle was in the final pairing on Sunday with Phil Mickelson as they were tied atop the leaderboard at six under par.
"I was there when he played Phil and everyone were such big Phil fans," said DiMarco. "I was 12 or 13-years old and everyone was screaming, 'Go Phil! Go Phil!' And I was the annoying 13-year old bumping into people going, 'No! Go Chris! Go Chris!' It was pretty incredible."
Unfortunately DiMarco's uncle fell out of contention with a four-over 76 in the final round to finish in a tie for sixth.
The following year, Chris DiMarco went right to the end of the tournament.
"He lost to Tiger (Woods), when Tiger made that incredible chip in on 16," said DiMarco of his uncle. "They went to a playoff and Tiger won on the first playoff hole."
That was the 2004 Masters. DiMarco led through the first two rounds with back-to-back five-under par 67s on Thursday and Friday. Woods however, caught up to him and passed him in the third round carding a seven-under par 65 on Saturday to take a three shot lead over DiMarco into Sunday's final round.
DiMarco narrowed Woods' three-shot lead to one on the back nine on 11 and then again on 14. After both golfers birdied 15, DiMarco parred 16 while Woods dropped an improbable 20-foot chip shot that hung on the lip of the cup before falling in to push his lead back to two.
A late charge by DiMarco on 17 cut Woods lead back to one going to the final hole. DiMarco's birdie putt rebounded off the flag stick, and he parred 18. Woods missed his par putt to force the playoff hole.
Woods would then sink a 15-foot birdie to win his fourth green jacket on the first playoff hole after DiMarco had parred the hole.
"I went out and shot 68 around here on Sunday, which is a very good round, and 12-under is usually good enough to win. It was just that I was playing against Tiger Woods," said DiMarco's uncle after his runner up finish. "I would let it hurt if I gave it away but I didn't. I really didn't."
"Chris is a tough competitor and a fighter. He's never going to back off and he proved that again," said Woods.
Playing for the Falcons the past four seasons, DiMarco did go back to Augusta three years ago and appreciated the course and the atmosphere much more as an adult.
"Living in Atlanta it was a quick, easy drive," he said. "Oh my gosh the place is incredible. You almost feel bad walking on the grass there. It's that beautiful of a place."
DiMarco has already heard how new teammate Kyle Williams is a scratch golfer, but the fullback isn't too bad himself.
"I'm a football player who likes to play golf. I'm not bad," DiMarco said. "I'm like a five or six handicap, but it's my short game that crushes me because I don't get to play as much as I like."
DiMarco is likely to have some teammates make some offseason lesson requests of his uncle.
2 - Keeping the schemes digestibleDuring phase one of the offseason program, the Bills new coaching staff is trying to keep their players from being overwhelmed in learning the new offensive and defensive schemes. Their plan is to just provide the base concepts so they can rep things effectively when the veteran minicamp begins a little less than two weeks.
"It gets back to what's digestible for the players so that we can evaluate," said head coach Sean McDermott. "And really, we're going to take that approach with that first minicamp. This is an added bonus for us where we can evaluate our roster from top to bottom, from left to right, and really see, in shorts, what you can evaluate.
The rules of phase one of offseason programs does have a limit on classroom time, so coaches have to be smart in choosing what ground to cover as they expose their players to their systems of play.
"As far as classroom time, this time of year—phase one—the classroom time is a little limited," said Tyrod Taylor. "It's more so for the coaches and the position coaches to spend time with us and to meet as an offense. This is the start. We want to get going on our schemes and how we do things, most importantly."
3 - McShay picks Lattimore for Bills at 10In a two-round dueling mock draft with ESPN colleague Mel Kiper, Todd McShay went with Ohio State CB Marshon Lattimore for the Bills at pick 10 overall. Most draft analysts don't see Lattimore lasting until the 10th pick as he's widely considered the best corner in the class. Here was McShay's reasoning behind it.
"The only knock on Lattimore is he's had hamstring issues in the past," said McShay in an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550. "Otherwise he's got adequate to good size, exceptional speed. I think he's the most fluid cover corner, good ball skills. There isn't much about his game you'd point to with his game and call it a weakness. Him falling to 10 is only a concern over durability with his hamstrings."
In round two, McShay mocked Vanderbilt weak side linebacker Zach Cunningham to the Bills with pick 44.