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Marino's Gallery: Day II

Dan Hellie, interviewing media star and Steve Marino groupie Brandon Stacy.

It's Day II of the Steve Marino Gallery Watch, and we're talking with Mike Trone, who used to coach Marino and his friends at W.T. Woodson High.

"These other guys could hit a white ball; Steve could play golf," Trone is saying, while trying to pass off a non-alcoholic beer to these other guys. "After these guys graduated, I got to coach some guys who were sane. I finally got off the anti-depressants."

That's right, with hometown boy Marino flirting with the leaderboard for a second straight day, the stage was set for four more hours of gallery hijinks, with Marino's shrillest cheerleaders having now become full-on media darlings. Brandon Stacy, he of the still-unwashed pink flamingo shorts and hot pink polo shirt, said he had already been interviewed by five or six media outlets by the time Marino made the turn; he estimated that 1,500 fans had recognized him by his outfit.

The estimate, it should be said, seemed a bit high. One older gentleman approached Stacy after Marino nearly chipped in on No. 14 and asked how it had stayed out; Stacy thought he was asking how his shirt tail had stayed out of his unwashed shorts.

"He doesn't care about your pants; he's talking about the ball," pointed out Anthony Themak, another Marino friend.

Marino's gallery had grown by Day II; there were dozens if not hundreds of Marino followers, almost all of whom had stories to tell. Like Matt Emory, who stood out from the majority of spectators by the lack of a ticket around his neck. How had he made it into the tournament grounds without any sort of pass?

"The girl looked at me, I winked at her, and she let me in," Emory explained.

"If you were this good looking, would you pay for a ticket?" asked Ryan Niethamer, another Marino groupie.

Meanwhile, Dave Wisemiller was doing his part to keep the golfer loose, causing both Marino and caddie G.W. Cable to break into laughter seconds before Marino teed off. Wisemiller's trick? An old gimmick in which he extends his stomach in a grotesque bulge; his friends claim makes him look pregnant. "Her name is Bertha," Wisemiller said.

Fran Marino, Steve's mother, occasionally told the boys to simmer down when they got too noisy, but in truth, there seemed to be few complaints about the excitement. Playing partner John Merrick's fiancee, Jody Schmidt, was walking the course virtually alone; she said it was good to get the spillover cheers from Marino's pals, who "usually cheer for everyone."

(Although occasionally, the group would depart as soon as Marino finished, with the other players still on the green. "I came here to see Steve, I didn't come here to see Merrick whatever his name is," Wisemiller said.)

As the round progressed, some members of Marino's gallery made a wager on whether Notah Begay III's big-boned caddie, his brother Clint, would take a knee within the first six holes. Others branched off to the Grey Goose tent. Still others judged the odor emanating from the increasingly ripe Stacy. "Dead bodies and fish," Emory said. "We've got the Brandon Buffer; 20 yards at all time," Niethamer said. "Well, I don't want any hugs today," Marino's mother summarized, when questioned about Stacy.

As Marino made the turn, Stacy was stopped for yet another interview.

"My wife said, 'Honey, let's wash your shirt;' I said, 'Absolutely not,' " he told WRC's Dan Hellie, "I'm getting more attention, but I'm getting attention from further away."

By Dan Steinberg  |  July 4, 2008; 5:20 PM ET
Categories:  Golf  
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