Category: Steve Marino

February 12, 2011

What to Watch For: Sunday at Pebble Beach

Posted at 11:55 PM by Ryan Reiterman

Marino Nervous Nellies
With only three PGA Tour winners in the top 10, Sunday at Pebble Beach will serve as a serious gut check for several players near the lead. None more than Steve Marino, who had a four-shot lead to start the day but watched it fall to one stroke after shooting a 1-over 71 at Monterey Peninsula.

After taking a whopping 33 putts on Saturday, Marino needs his putter to heat up in the final round. Fortunately he's not playing Monterey again. The entire field plays Pebble on Sunday, where Marino shot a 6-under 66 on Friday.

Jimmy Walker, who's tied for second with Bryce Molder, had much better luck at Monterey. Walker fired a tidy 7-under 63. It's always tough to follow up a crazy-low round, so it will be interesting to see if Walker can keep a hot putter going on Pebble's fast greens.

But the guy to look out for is Alex Cejka. He's yet to win on the PGA Tour, but Cejka has won 11 times around the world. Sitting only three shots off the lead, Cejka has the advantage of trying to post a low number early and add more pressure to the players behind him.

Pros and Joes
It really could be a "Cinderella Story" for Bill Murray on Sunday. Murray and playing partner D.A. Points are only one stroke behind Bryce Molder and Harry You in the Pebble pro-am. Despite all of Murray's antics on the course, he and Points have combined to shoot rounds of 59-65-62. So will Murray tone down his act if they're still in the hunt on the back nine? It will be fun to watch.

(Photo: Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

More from Pebble: Scores | Photos | Video | Course Profile

February 10, 2011

What to Watch For: Friday at Pebble Beach Pro-Am

Posted at 10:21 PM by Ryan Reiterman

Knock, Knock, Knockin' on the Door
Last year at the Masters, I stood on the 10th tee and watched Steve Marino blast a drive down the fairway. After watching his effortless power, I was left wondering why in the world hasn't this guy won a tournament?

It's not like he hasn't been close. Marino has already tied for second this year at the Sony Open, and he finished tied for fourth last year at Pebble Beach. It's no surprise then that he's back on top of the leaderboard after firing a bogey-free 65 at Spyglass Hill. So is this the week that Marino will finally break through and get his first win? There are still three rounds to play, but Marino says he's carrying a better attitude this year, which he thinks might help get him over the hump.

"I just was excited about playing this year," Marino said. "I did not play well for the majority of last year; towards the end of the year last year I started to play a lot better. I was just real excited to come out this year and start playing. Had a great tournament in Hawaii; had a pretty good tournament at the Hope; not so great in Torrey Pines. But I am just really excited to be playing good golf again, and I'm having fun out there. It's a blast."

Weir's Comeback
It's always strange to see former champions struggle to keep their card. It's even more puzzling to see former major champions struggle to stay on the PGA Tour. But that's the reality facing 2003 Masters champion Mike Weir. After struggling with swing changes and an injured elbow, Weir, who last won at the 2007 Fry's Electronics Open, is playing on a major medical extension. Having earned $559,092 last year, Weir needs to make $227,885 in five starts to equal the 125th spot on the 2010 money list. 

After a 4-under 68 Thursday at Spyglass Hill, Weir is off to a solid start in a tournament where he's had plenty of success. In 13 starts, Weir has seven top 10s at Pebble Beach. A high finish would secure his playing privileges for the rest of the year. If he doesn't earn enough scratch in five events, Weir will have to fall back on his past champion status.

Not Done Yet
Coming off two-straight winless seasons, former World No. 1 Vijay Singh, 48, has been largely forgotten with the emergence of several young faces on the PGA and European tours. But after a T3 finish in Phoenix and an opening 3-under 69 Thursday at Pebble Beach, Singh is showing he still has plenty of game. It was his sixth-consecutive round in the 60s and 17th-straight round at par or better dating back to last season.


January 17, 2011

Truth & Rumors: Marino credits Wie pairing for success

Posted at 11:19 AM by Ryan Reiterman

Steve Marino fell just short of his first PGA Tour win on Sunday, but Ferd Lewis at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser said Marino has Michelle Wie to thank for helping him settle into the pressures of playing golf at the highest level. Back in 2007, Marino, a rookie just out of Q-school, was paired with Wie at the Sony Open.

It was an experience that, at the time, he had compared to being "kind of thrown into the lion's den."

But for all his trepidation and taut nerves, Marino not only survived it, finishing in a tie for 34th, but won points with the gallery for the aplomb with which he handled the pairing. He joked with her, encouraged her and, in the process, steadied his own nerves.

Looking back, Marino was able to say, "In a way I think that actually helped me, my first event on the PGA Tour, getting paired with Michelle Wie. There were so many people around, I think it was good for me to experience something like that right off the bat, and it gave me some confidence to realize that I handled it well and I made the cut and I didn't get overwhelmed by the situation. So, yeah, I think it was definitely a good thing for me. That was a big confidence booster for me."

Harrington keeps tinkering
This week's European Tour event in Abu Dhabi marks the debut for most of the top players in the world. It also marks the debut of Padraig Harrington's new swing, according to Brendan O’Brien at the Irish Examiner.

By his own reckoning, the man from Stackstown has made anything up to 20 nips and tucks over the last four weeks. Most of them are minor alterations and he couldn’t quite remember them all but he gave it a hell of a good old rattle.

Here’s just a taster…

He has changed his choice of grips, weakened his grip, lowered his hands on the club, altered his routine for practising putts and changed his ‘trigger’ which, for him, was two big ‘waggles’ before he hit his shot.

Of all his latest experiments, the trigger is the big one — a mental nuance rather than a physical one — a tricky procedure which other players have addressed with varying degrees of success in the past.

I'm not going to be an armchair swing instructor, but at 39, Harrington better hope his swing changes take hold fast. He's quickly running out of time while trying to fix a swing that was good enough to win three majors in two seasons.

But this little nugget from O’Brien should give Harrington fans hope that he can regain his major-championship form:

It was also interesting to hear Harrington say that, contrary to popular belief, he first began to pick at his game five years ago and not just after he won his third major in the space of 18 months, the 2008 US PGA Championship at Oakland Hills.

Clark on the DL?
We're only two weeks into the PGA Tour season and there are already several players dealing with injuries. Geoff Ogilvy cut his finger on a piece of coral and withdrew from Kapalua. Zach Johnson smashed his toe before the season opener. Now Golfweek's Alex Miceli reports Tim Clark, who tied for second at the Sony Open, might be out for this week's Bob Hope after dealing with a painful blister on his toe during Sunday's 36-hole marathon finish.

Clark, who shot 66-64 in the 36-hole finish at Waialae Country Club, was limping with a blister on his left little toe late Sunday while practicing on the range for a possible playoff. That didn’t happen, as Mark Wilson sealed his third PGA Tour victory with a 16-under 264 score in the rain-delayed Sony.

Clark plans to fly to La Quinta, Calif., site of the Hope, and then decide whether he can play.

Tweet of the Day

Poulter IanJamesPoulter: Just watching the Pats vs the Jets in the bar. I need to get into this football.

September 14, 2009

Fighting words at BMW Championship

Posted at 5:16 PM by Alan Shipnuck

I don't know how it played on TV, but the final round of the BMW was a blast to cover. While Tiger was doing his thing, I was running around Cog Hill tracking the tournament-within-a-tournament, as various players were throwing up on themselves trying to play their way into the Tour Championship.

Stewart Cink made sizeable par putts on three of his final four holes and then punched his ticket to Atlanta with a 15-footer for birdie on the ninth, his last hole of the day. Asked how it compared to the back-nine pressure at Turnberry, he said, somewhat amazingly, "Actually, I felt a little bit more nervous coming in here than I did there because there I felt like I had nothing to lose and everything to gain, and here I felt like I had everything to lose."

Luke Donald played his final 14 holes in four over par and was a precarious 30th in the projected points standings as he stepped off the golf course. Fearing he might get bumped, his wife Diane said, "I'm going to go home and hide all the sharp objects!" In the end Donald squeaked in.

Steve-marino-bmw So, too, did Steve Marino (right), the talented third-year pro who might be the best player on Tour without a victory. He came into the week 26th in points and appeared to have shot himself out of the Tour Championship with a second-round 77 at the BMW. But he rallied with a solid 68-71 on the weekend to finish 25th in the points race.

"I just tried to hang in there and overcome the demons," Marino said in his endearingly candid way. This will be Marino's first Tour Championship, and he's overdue for a little exposure. Last fall he was chatting up Ernie Els at a bar when Easy asked, completely seriously, what Marino did for a living.

"I said I play the PGA Tour just like you do, Ernie," Marino said on Sunday, recounting the tale. With a laugh, he crowed, "And now I'm about to pass your ass on the money list!" In fact, Marino is $8,118 in arrears of Els, who now has one more reason to play hard at East Lake.

Photo: Scott Halleran/Getty Images

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