Steve Marino's Lubed Up Gallery
Brandon Stacy came to Congressional today dressed in a hot pink polo shirt, green shorts bearing bright pink flamingos, and golf cleats.
"Just in case a caddy drops out," Stacy said of his shoes.
It was a fine outfit, but several beers and five hours in the sun can do bad things to any outfit. The stains weren't terribly hard to notice. Sadly, Stacy's gonna have to wear the outfit again on Friday. And on Saturday. And on Sunday. Because Stacy's good friend, Fairfax County's own Steve Marino, shot a 5-under this morning to seize the first-round lead, and his caddie announced that the outfit stays.
"Can't change," ordered the caddie, G.W. Cable, another longtime Fairfax County pal in his first week on Marino's bag. "You're sleeping in that."
"I'm not changing it," Stacy promised. "I'm not washing my hair, I'm not shaving, I'm not washing my armpits. I'm wearing the same clothes all week, you can count on that. Look for the pink flamingos. You will not see anyone else here wearing this."
"For a reason," said fellow Marino fan Ryan Niethamer. "Because it's heinous."
The Marino fans--like Marino, alums of W.T. Woodson High--were holding court outside Congressional's practice green, shortly after Marino made his triumphant return to the clubhouse, and then to the media center for a "meet your current leader" press conference. I asked him about his gallery, which another reporter had described as "boisterous."
"Yeah, I've got some crazy fans," Marino said. "And today, I think it's safe to say, was probably going to be the mildest day, especially if I keep playing well. I know tomorrow is July 4th, and I'm teeing off in the afternoon, so that gives them plenty of time for them to get lubed up."
"We will certainly be 'lubed up,' " Niethamer confirmed in an e-mail. "Guaranteed."
This is notable, since they were surrounded a course-wide crowd that could best be described as "polite." Barely anyone wore shorts decorated with pink birds. Barely anyone decided a quiet Thursday morning should best be celebrated with full-throated bellowing. But the Marino crew, who have been playing golf together since elementary school, promised to change that. Last year, they were rowdy enough in supporting Marino at Congressional that another pro told them "that's enough" in his grown-up voice. Stacy responded by ripping off his shirt and flexing.
In between promising to bring a gallery of five dozen rowdies for the second round, the friends told long-ago stories of Marino. Like how Stacy and Marino would get yelled at by the pro at the Country Club of Fairfax for blasting range balls more than 350 yards into a red barn, off the course on private property. Or how they called Marino "Captain Klutz," because of his astounding lack of coordination, how he once fell off a bridge into a creek while golfing.
"Swear to God, I don't know how he did it," said Dave Wisemiller, who had snuck out from work to catch Marino's final three holes.
"The guy can't play basketball to save his life, can't hit a jump shot to save his life," Stacy said.
"And basketball's his favorite sport," said Niethamer, who has traveled to every tournament Marino has played this season.
"We have no idea how he's on the PGA Tour," Stacy concluded.
Before Marino could get into the clubhouse, Stacy loudly called to him, trying to get an autograph for a young boy. Marino obliged.
"You're such a great guy," Stacy said.
"I know," Marino replied, as the cameras began to roll.
"Will you sign my card too?" Stacy asked.
"No," Marino said.
"Aww, I love you, we grew up together, c'mon," Stacy said. "Just give me one signature, that's all I want. Noooo, that's not the right signature," he said, when Marino finally signed, using one of Stacy's childhood nicknames instead of his name. "I'm gonna keep it, though."
"What are you doing tonight?" Wisemiller asked the leader, as the kids continued to flock.
"Dunno bro," Marino said.
"Who's longer, me or you?" Stacy asked.
"Me," Marino said.
"Hey, Steve, we're going to Fairfax tomorrow to hit it over the red barn," Stacy suddenly decided. "Sweet! The red barn at Fairfax tomorrow. C'mon!"
"Will you go away?" Marino finally said, but he seemed honored by his gallery, and answered one question after another about his friends.
"I already challenged him to it," Stacy said, as the friends got ready to leave the course. "He'll be there tomorrow morning."
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