PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — For the first time in his nine-month battle with Stage 4 liver and rectum cancer, Steve DiMeglio found a perfect escape from the living hell of 720 hours of chemotherapy treatments, along with the daily drudgery of waking up and feeling sick.
DiMeglio returned to his comfort zone at the Players Championship.
If only for a few hours on three different days, one of the most recognizable faces among PGA Tour players and caddies was able to commiserate with friends that the lifelong bachelor considers extended family.
That was better medicine than anything his doctors at Beaches Baptist Hospital or anyone could provide the 61-year-old DiMeglio, who has been on disability since Sept. 5 and is often confined to his second-floor apartment due to fatigue.
“I miss the guys, I miss talking on the [golf] range, I miss all the socializing in the media center,” said DiMeglio. “I don’t miss looking at a blank screen on deadline.”
Throughout The Players week, there has been no shortage of love for DiMeglio — a senior writer for Golf Week/USA Today — from the sport’s biggest names and his media colleagues.
Everyone was uplifted by his presence at the Players Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass because they hadn’t seen DiMeglio, who covered 20-22 tournaments a year, since he publicly announced his diagnosis last July on his birthday after the Open at St. Andrew’s.
When Rory McIlroy’s Tuesday press conference ended, he immediately went over to DiMeglio and gave him a hug. As Jordan Spieth and his caddie, Michael Greller, came to the scoring area on Friday, warm embraces were exchanged.
He received similar greetings at a practice round from one of his closest Tour buddies, 2015 Players champion Rickie Fowler, a cozy relationship for which DiMeglio is the target of much ribbing among media brethren.
Fowler’s playing partners that day, Gary Woodland, Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay, also greeted him warmly. On Friday, he chatted at length with Woodland, updating the 2019 U.S. Open champion on his condition and prognosis.
“He’s just always been good to me,” Woodland said of DiMeglio. “We text back and forth. Through this process, I’ve tried to check in on him, just let him know I care and my thoughts and prayers are with him.
“I’ve had a very good relationship with the whole media, but DiMegs, he’s just out there more. It seems like he’s more on the range, more inside the ropes with us walking around….
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