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January 9, 2013

Steve Marino


JOHN BUSH:  Thanks for joining us here at the Sony Open in Hawai'i.  Haven't played on TOUR since June, and welcome back, first of all, and I know you're back in a place where you've had a lot of success.  Just comment on being back and getting the season started.
STEVE MARINO:  Yeah, I mean, it feels really good to be back.  I mean, last year was kind of a nightmare, but I did everything that I had to do to get back and try to get as healthy as I could, and I feel great right now, and I'm just real excited to be back playing again, and I'm real excited about the year.

Q.  You've had three top‑seven finishes here in five previous starts.  What is it about this course and this tournament that suits your game?
STEVE MARINO:  I'm not sure.  I like the fact that the fairways are kind of hard to hit, and you've just got to be really sure about what you're doing out here.  I mean, if you have any kind of doubt at all, you're going to be in trouble.  I kind of like courses like this where you've got to know what you've doing off the tee and you've got to feel confident about what you're doing.
For some reason this place kind of fits my eye, and I love coming back here, and it's a very special place.  I just love it here.

Q.  I don't know if it's the same at other stops.  Do you more here than you might do at Akron?
STEVE MARINO:  I mean, I don't know.  Part of it's probably because it's the first event of the year and I'm always a little amped up to get back out and play.  You know, I'm not sure.  Ever since my rookie year when I came here, I just kind of fell in love with the place.  I know my parents, they come here every year and they love it, and it's special for them, too.
I'm not really sure why it is I play so well here.  I just really enjoy it.

Q.  Give me a little background on the injury.
STEVE MARINO:  Yeah, I had a meniscus surgery about 15 months ago, and I thought everything was great, and I came here last year, and I played nine holes in the pro‑am, and after nine holes I couldn't even squat down to read my putts.  My knee swelled up and it was very painful.  I tried to slug it out for two more weeks, and I just realized I couldn't do it.  So I sat out four months and saw a bunch of doctors and did a bunch of treatment, and I thought I kind of had it under control, and I played for three more weeks, end of May through June, and it just really wasn't any better.
I went and saw Dr.James Andrews, and he recommended that I get a stem cell injection in my knee.

Q.  Left?
STEVE MARINO:  Left knee, and Dr.Hackel at the Andrews Institute did that, and it was kind of rough.  I was on crutches for a couple weeks and they didn't want me putting any weight on if for a couple months and I couldn't touch a club for three months.  I don't know, I just started playing again in October, and everything feels great.

Q.  What does a stem cell injection accomplish?
STEVE MARINO:  It's supposed to regenerate growth in damaged or dead cartilage or tissue.  It's kind of a new science, they've been doing it with some other athletes, especially football players, and he said, you know, we can go in there and do another surgery, but I would run the risk of maybe making it worse.  So yeah, I went with the option of the stem cell injection, and so far it's really worked out well for me.

Q.  What's the biggest worry in your first round?  Are you going to have things going on in your head?
STEVE MARINO:  No, no, no, I feel pretty confident, and I feel good about the knee.

Q.  It feels the same?
STEVE MARINO:  I feel good about my game.  The worst part about it was when I came back last year and tried to play, I just‑‑ I don't think I was trusting it, and I think it was still hurt, and I wanted to play so bad that maybe I just kind of jumped the gun a little bit.
But now I'm not worried about it at all, not flinching at it like I was before, and there's no pain.  I feel confident in my knee and my game.

Q.  What's the difference for you between the first hole and the last hole when you're playing?
STEVE MARINO:  The first hole and the 72nd hole?  On the first hole I think I'm probably way more nervous, actually.  It's really the only time I get nervous out there is on the first tee when they announce your name.  For some reason I'm always just really nervous for that first tee shot.  I don't know why.
But I'd say that's probably the main difference.

Q.  What goes on in your mind as you come down and prepare to go out and play in the morning?
STEVE MARINO:  You know, I'm just focused on going through my routine and doing the things that I always do and just going out there with a positive attitude.

Q.  Did you watch anything of Kapalua?  I'm curious what your thoughts were.
STEVE MARINO:  I did watch Kapalua.  It looked crazy out there.  I was kind of flipping back and forth, too, between the National Championship game and that because it was such a blowout.  One of my good friends was playing great, Dustin; he won the tournament, so I was happy for him, and it was nice to see him playing really well.

Q.  Were you sad you weren't out there Saturday and Sunday trying to play in that?
STEVE MARINO:  No, not really.

Q.  In the Open at Turnberry, I think it was Saturday on the 15th hole you hit down right on the par‑3, Tom Watson, your playing partner, went down there looking for your ball and came back up on the green and held the flagstick up so you could see it.  Just take us back to that point in your career and maybe a little of your thoughts about Tom Watson as the Ryder Cup captain.
STEVE MARINO:  Yeah, I mean, obviously he's very worthy of being the Ryder Cup captain, and I look forward to hopefully playing great and making his team.
But that day, I mean, that whole week was a great week for me, especially getting to play with Tom Watson on Saturday leading the tournament.  I mean, it was crazy how many people out there were hooting and hollering for him.  It was like the guy is like a God over there in Scotland.  And it was crazy to watch him play so well at such an old‑‑ I mean, he was 59 at the time.  I mean, that's old for golf.
But he played better than most guys that I see play out here week to week.  It was just very, very impressive.  The wind was blowing 30 left to right, and he's hitting these shots out there that are going dead straight, and the wind is not even touching it.  I'm over there aiming in the ocean trying to cut it like 75 yards to hit this fairway, and he's just sitting there hitting seeds right down the middle.
But that was just a really fun day for me.  I was pretty disappointed that he didn't win that tournament.

Q.  Do you hit any drivers here?  There's a lot of run‑outs through doglegs.  Are you conservative or do you attack them?
STEVE MARINO:  It just depends on the wind direction mostly.  You know, on the doglegs left a lot of times you'll have a left‑to‑right wind and a right to left dogleg, and it's real easy for your ball to get riding that wind and run right through the fairway.  But if the wind is the other way on those holes you can kind of hit driver and turn it around the corner and cut the corner.  It just all depends how confident you're feeling and what direction the wind is blowing.  But I mean, I guess discretion is the better part of valor for the most part at this place.

Q.  How many drivers will Dustin hit here?
STEVE MARINO:  I have no idea.  Knowing him he'll probably hit quite a few, especially after last week.  I think he might just go out here and try to wing it.  It seemed like he was hitting his driver really well last year.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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