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January 15, 2009

Shigeki Maruyama


JOHN BUSH: Shigeki, thank you for coming by into the interview room. Tremendous round, 5-under par 65. If we can just get some comments on your day.
SHIGEKI MARUYAMA: I knew it was going to be a tough day from yesterday. I knew the weather report was for a lot of wind today, so I was mentally prepared when I got to the golf course. Then I snap-hooked one on the first hole, but all I was trying to do really all day was just keep my rhythm, keep my tempo.
After the first hole, I was able to knock my second shot up there near the green, make par, and got me off to a good start.
Really, all day long, all I was thinking, just keep your tempo, keep your rhythm real steady, and I was able to play well today.

Q. What is it about this course that you seem to like so much?
SHIGEKI MARUYAMA: Yeah, I really like the Waialae Country Club. I've always played well. I think maybe the main reason is it's not as long as some of the courses we play on TOUR. It's a course that I can play well distance-wise.

Q. The last year, you changed drivers and your swing and you had a lot of support from a lot of different people. Where are you in your progression of your changes in your game?
SHIGEKI MARUYAMA: That's a tough question. If I had to put a number on it, probably 70 percent along the way. It's not like my driver is bad or my putting has been bad. It's been the whole, entire thing, all of my game. But I made some progress, and I feel like I've come about 70 percent of the way that I really need to.

Q. Can you talk about what you plan on doing for the year in regards to are you going to play on the PGA TOUR mainly or are you going to play on the Japanese Tour mainly? What's your plan?
SHIGEKI MARUYAMA: I'm coming onto my 40th birthday, and being from Japan, it's easier for me to play in Japan. Basically, I'm thinking of playing a full schedule in Japan here.
However, I have a home here in the United States. My boy, Sean, goes to school, here, and if my game progresses to that point where I can be competitive here on the U.S. Tour, I may play more here. But we'll just wait and see on that.

Q. Would you like to play more here?
SHIGEKI MARUYAMA: Yes. (Big smile).

Q. Were you injured last year?
SHIGEKI MARUYAMA: It was a number of things last year. Physically, mentally, emotionally; so that's why I went back to Japan, got my batteries recharged, rested a little bit, got my body back in shape. I feel a lot better now.

Q. Of those three, what was the hardest, physically, emotionally, mentally?
SHIGEKI MARUYAMA: The most difficult change was the physical part. I had to go back and really just start from scratch. I had some injury (shoulder and knee). The physical condition, the balance wasn't there, so I didn't go to the driving range when I went back in September to Japan. I stretched a lot, rested, got my body back in shape in order to work on some swing changes.

Q. Still living in Los Angeles?

Q. Riviera?

Q. Are those swing changes, what you did on your body and the swing changes, is that to eliminate of the problems you were having with your body?
SHIGEKI MARUYAMA: Not really. I mean, the reason last year, the distance problem that I was having, I was swinging way too hard. Got way out of balance with not only my swing, but because I was swinging too hard. I lost the rhythm and tempo in my swing.
That's why I had to go back and find not just my swing, but my tempo again, my own golf game. Coming to America, all of the courses are long, really, really long, and the young guys are just bombing it out there and I'm just trying to keep up with them. That's kind of how I got out of whack with my swing and my physical condition.

Q. I remember they called you the "Smiling Assassin." Did you smile much last year?
SHIGEKI MARUYAMA: I found that smile back in Japan the last couple of months. I played on the Tour there in Japan, I think nine tournaments, ended up 36th on the Money List, a couple of third place finishes.

Q. Do you feel like now when you were talking about maybe coming back here, do you have to win to feel like you can come back here, or do you have to just finish in the Top-10? What do you have to do in your own mind?
SHIGEKI MARUYAMA: It would sure make things easier if I could win. But back in '99 when I first got my card, I got within six tournaments. I'll get some sponsor exemptions hopefully along the line, and we'll see where that goes.
JOHN BUSH: Thank you for coming by.

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