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January 10, 2008

Steve Marino


STEWART MOORE: Steve Marino, thanks for spending a few moments with us here in the interview room at the Sony Open in Hawai'i. Great round out there today, 65. Got off to a hot start. You were 4-under through 9, really had it going.
STEVE MARINO: Yeah, I played real well on the back nine. I drove the ball great. I think I only missed one fairway on the back, and I made a couple putts. So the front nine was -- my first nine holes was fairly easy.
I got into a couple of spots on the back nine, but I was able to escape with pars and only made one bogey.
STEWART MOORE: You had a great rookie year last year by all accounts. You played very well, a lot of top-25 finishes. You came in as sort of a mini-Tour legend, Gateway Tour, some wins on the Tarheel Tour. Did you go through some tough stretches, big fish in a small pond, small fish in a big pond kind of thing?
STEVE MARINO: To be honest with you, not really. All I wanted to do last year was just go out and play my game and see where I stood. After the first couple of events playing with these guys, I realized that -- I felt like I was just as good as they were. I really wasn't ever that nervous or felt like I was out of place. I felt pretty good about it the whole time.

Q. Playing with Michelle last year, did that kind of -- if you can keep your focus in that kind of zoo, did that give you a good feeling about the year?
STEVE MARINO: Right, absolutely. I mean, I was kind of thrown into the lion's den right off the bat playing with Michelle. I mean, there were so many people out here watching us play. I think it was definitely a good experience for me playing in front of a lot of people, playing in front of TV cameras. I was actually -- I kind of embraced it last year playing with her right off the bat just because I knew if I wanted to play out here I was going to have to get used to that kind of atmosphere.

Q. Is there anything in particular you learned from it?
STEVE MARINO: Just you've got to stay focused and you can't let things going on outside the ropes distract you. You can't have rabbit ears, so to speak. I was able to do that. There was a lot of commotion going on outside the ropes and none of it really bothered me. I was kind of shocked myself that I was able to handle it so well.

Q. So did it feel dead quiet today then?
STEVE MARINO: It did actually. It was a lot different than last year. I told my caddie on the first tee, this time last year I was standing on the first tee with Michelle Wie with about 3,000 people right behind us. It was a little bit different, but it was nice.

Q. Give us your impressions of -- just because there's really no conditions today, everybody has been talking about the rough mostly, so what do you feel about that rough?
STEVE MARINO: Yeah, the rough is definitely at least a half shot penalty. You're kind of playing Russian roulette. Sometimes you'll get a lie where you'll be able to advance it to the green and sometimes you'll get a lie where you may be able to get 100 yards out of it. You definitely want to avoid the rough.
Driving it on the fairway on this course is key. If you're in the fairway, you can attack some of the pins and hit the greens. I mean, when you're in the rough I'd say there's probably about a 10 percent chance that you're actually going to hit it on the green and be putting for birdie.

Q. As I recall you played really well at Greensboro.
STEVE MARINO: I did for the first two days.

Q. But what did being in contention there and all that do for you?
STEVE MARINO: It was definitely a learning experience. It was something new for me being in the last group on Saturday. It was just something that I can draw upon for the future. I wasn't that nervous that day, but I didn't play that great and I didn't play great on the weekend. Maybe it did have an effect on me, maybe it didn't, I don't know. But that was definitely a good thing for me and an experience I can look back on and take positives from.
STEWART MOORE: You had mentioned earlier some off-season eye surgery. That seemed to help out already.
STEVE MARINO: Absolutely. I wasn't even seeing close to 20/20 with my contacts last year, so when I got the surgery done, the next day it was -- I've never seen that well before in my life, so it definitely made a big difference. I can actually see the flagstick from 150 yards away now and I can definitely tell whether my ball is in the fairway or in the rough off the tee. It definitely made a difference.

Q. Any impact on the putting with the eyes?
STEVE MARINO: Yeah, I can see the hole a lot better and I can see the grass a lot better on the green. I think it definitely helps me to read the breaks.

Q. You didn't overcompensate early because you had been seeing it so poorly for so long?
STEVE MARINO: No, I mean, it didn't take any adjustment period at all. I mean, it was like -- I can't even describe it. It was -- I never saw that well. I mean, I couldn't -- I needed the flag tended from 30 feet last year, and now I'm 60 feet away and I can see the hole fine. It's just awesome.

Q. Did you have both eyes done?
STEVE MARINO: Yeah, I had both eyes done.
STEWART MOORE: Best of luck this week. Thanks for coming in.

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