Player profile: Steve Marino

By May 30, 2012, 1:44 am

DUBLIN, Ohio - After four months away from the PGA Tour, Steve Marino is excited to be competing this week at the Memorial Tournament after suffering a bizarre injury.

'Nine holes into the pro-am at Sony [Open in Hawaii], my knee had swelled up,' Marino said Tuesday at Muirfield Village. 'I couldn't even squat down to read my putts.'

He played two more events in pain before returning home. After seeing several doctors and undergoing multiple tests over three weeks, Marino was diagnosed with a bone contusion on the tip of his tibia and femur in his left leg. He was also suffering from avascular necrosis, a lack of blood flow to the area, which impacted his joints.

'It hurt to walk,' he said. 'I didn't know what was going on. I originally thought I was going to miss one or two weeks and be back for L.A. (at the Northern Trust Open). It just took forever for it to heal.'

Four months felt like an eternity for the active Marino. He has averaged 28 starts on the PGA Tour since 2007.

Three weeks ago, Marino got the all clear to return to practice – news he said was 'a weight off (his) shoulders.' 

After a false start to the year, Marino feels like he gets to begin anew this week. He has been welcomed back. Since arriving to Muirfield Village, Marino has been like the kid returning to school after a bout with the chickenpox.

“A bunch of guys have come up and said, 'It's great to have you back,' and that made me feel good,” he said.

Marino chose Jack Nicklaus' event as his first event back because he could play and still receive a major medical exemption. The exemption, whose exact length hasn't yet been determined by the PGA Tour, should carry into next season. However, the cushion of the exemption is not on his mind.

'This is one of the best tournaments we play on the Tour,' he said. 'The course is great. It's Jack's tournament. It's just awesome. I missed all these big events and this, to me, is the last real big event left in the year (aside from the majors and FedEx Cup playoffs).'

There is little time to waste. The 32-year-old is entering the prime of his golfing life, but remains winless in his PGA Tour career, earning him the moniker of 'best golfer never to have won on the PGA Tour.'

'I know my game is good and I know that if I play my game, I'll eventually win a tournament out here,' Marino said.

Marino hopes to get back into a groove eventually, but has no illusions of grandeur this week.

“I've made a lot of cuts, and I got on streaks where I'll have a lot of top-20, top-10 finishes in a row,” he said.  “I'd like to get on one of those streaks, but I've been out for so long, I don't know what to expect.”

The week's real test will come Monday when he attempts to earn a spot in the U.S. Open through 36-hole sectional qualifying in Columbus.

'That'll be a good test to see how the knee holds up,' he said. 'That might be a little too much, too soon. I'm just playing it by ear, seeing how the knee feels.'

Unclear on his schedule heading into the summer, Marino is choosing to focus on the present.

'I just kind of want to go out and enjoy it,' he said. 'I've learned to appreciate what I have. I'm just going to go out and have fun.'

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Tiger Tracker: Tour Championship

By Tiger TrackerSeptember 23, 2018, 3:00 pm

Tiger Woods has a three-shot lead entering the final round of the Tour Championship and is alongside Rory McIlroy in the final group. We're tracking him.

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Rose tries to ignore scenarios, focus on winning

By Rex HoggardSeptember 23, 2018, 12:59 am

ATLANTA – No one has more to play for than Justin Rose on Sunday at the Tour Championship.

The Englishman will begin the day three strokes behind front-runner Tiger Woods after a third-round 68 that could have been much worse after he began his day with back-to-back bogeys.

Winning the tournament will be Rose’s top priority, but there’s also the lingering question of the FedExCup and the $10 million bonus, which he is currently projected to claim.

Projected FedExCup standings

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

“The way I look at tomorrow is that I have many scenarios in play. I have the FedExCup in play. I have all of that to distract me,” Rose said. “But yet, I'm three back. I think that's my objective tomorrow is to come out and play good, positive golf and try and chase down the leader and win this golf tournament. I think in some ways that'll help my other task of trying to win the FedExCup. It'll keep me on the front foot and playing positive golf.”

Although there are many scenarios for Rose to win the season-long title, if Woods wins the Tour Championship, Rose would need to finish fifth or better to claim the cup.

There’s also the top spot in the Official World Golf Ranking to consider. Rose overtook Dustin Johnson for No. 1 in the world with his runner-up finish at the BMW Championship two weeks ago. He will retain the top spot unless Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka or Johnson win the finale and he falls down the leaderboard on Sunday.

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McIlroy needs putter to heat up to catch Woods

By Rex HoggardSeptember 23, 2018, 12:29 am

ATLANTA – Although Rory McIlroy is three strokes behind Tiger Woods at the Tour Championship and tied for second place he had the look of a man with a secret when he left East Lake on Saturday.

Trying to play catch up against Woods is never ideal, but McIlroy’s confidence stemmed from a tee-to-green game that has been unrivaled for three days.

“I definitely think today and the first day were similar,” said McIlroy, whose 66 included birdies at two of his final three holes. “I gave myself plenty of chances, and I think the biggest thing today was only just that one bogey. Got to put your ball in the fairway, put yourself in position, and for the most part, I did that today.”

Projected FedExCup standings

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

For the week McIlroy ranks first in strokes gained: off the tee, third in strokes gained: approach to the green and second in greens in regulation. But to catch Woods, who he will be paired with, he’ll need a much better day on the greens.

The Northern Irishman needed 30 putts on Day 2 and ranks 23rd, out of 30 players, in strokes gained: putting.

McIlroy skipped the first playoff event, opting instead for an extra week at home to work on his swing and the move has paid off.

“I hit the ball well. My wedge play has been really good,” he said. “I've done a lot of work on it the last few weeks, and it seems to have paid off.”

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Glover trails Straka at Tour Championship

By Associated PressSeptember 23, 2018, 12:19 am

ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – Sepp Straka moved into position Saturday to earn a PGA Tour card in the Tour Championship, shooting a 7-under 64 to take the third-round lead.

With the top 25 earners in the four-event Tour Finals getting PGA Tour cards Sunday, Straka birdied the final three holes to reach 18-under 195 - a stroke ahead of Curtis Luck, Lucas Glover and Denny McCarthy at Atlantic Beach Country Club.

''It's always good to get an extra birdie in late. I got three of them to finish, which was nice,'' Straka said. ''It's very bunched up there, so you can't really take off, you've got to keep the pedal down and see where you end up at the end.''

Straka entered the week tied for 80th in the card race with $2,744. The 25-year-old former Georgia player from Austria won the KC Golf Classic in August for his first Tour title. He finished 31st on the money list to advance to the four-tournament series.

''My ball-striking is really good,'' Straka said. ''It's been good all week. It's been really solid. I really haven't gotten in a whole lot of trouble and have been able to capitalize on a good number of chances with the putter. Hit a couple of bad putts today, but some really good ones to make up for it.''

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

Luck also shot 64. The 22-year-old Australian went into the week 16th with $41,587.

''Obviously, it just comes down to keeping that momentum going and trying not to change anything,'' Luck said. ''That's the really important thing and I felt like I did that really well. I played really aggressive on the back nine, still went after a lot of shots and I hit it close a lot out there.''

Glover had a 68. The 2009 U.S. Open champion entered the week 40th with $17,212.

McCarthy shot 67. He already has wrapped up a card, earning $75,793 in the first three events to get to 11th in the standings.

The series features the top 75 players from the regular-season money list, Nos. 126-200 in the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup standings, and non-members with enough money to have placed in the top 200. The top-25 finishers on the regular-season money list are competing against each other for tour priority, with regular-season earnings counting in their totals. The other players are fighting for the 25 cards based on series earnings.