Last Friday after the second round of the Honda Classic, Steve Marino hosted the first-ever Steve Marino Ping Pong Invitational, which was live-streamed on TourPlayers.com (if you missed it, you can go there to check out the full two hours and/or clips), at his home in Tequesta, Florida. Steve invited a group of his friends, including PGA Tour players Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson, Will Mackenzie, Spencer Levin and Cameron Tringale. The mayor of Tequesta even popped by to say hello and kick off the festivities!
I caught up with several of them in between the action to check on the competition. I also learned a lot about the players. For example, Cam just recently moved in with Rickie, who lives across the lake from Steve. Apparently Cam and Rickie hit it off when they ran into each other at a party store back in SoCal.
I really enjoyed talking with Rickie, who had his game face on for the matches. “I’m not too worried about who I’m playing, I’m just trying to win,” Rickie deadpanned. “It doesn’t matter if I’m playing John or Joe, I’m just trying to beat that guy…I can handle my own (on the ping pong table), but I’m not a Matt Kuchar or Brad Faxon.”
He filled me in that supposedly Freddy Jacobsen is the No. 1 ping pong player on Tour right now.
Dustin, who didn’t play in the Honda because it would have meant seven tournaments in a row, recently moved to nearby Jupiter, Florida. He admits to being a “Silent Assasin” on the golf course, but not in ping pong — he was beat in the semis by Rob Luca, one of Steve’s friends. Who won the whole thing? I reveal the winner in the video…
I used my Flip camera for these impromptu interviews, so apologies if the sound quality and/or lighting are poor. If you don’t want to watch the idea video, go to the six-second mark for Marino, 2:00 for Dustin, 3:25 for Cam, and 4:29 for Rickie.
Thanks for the time, guys, and thanks to Alli Mackenzie, Rickie and Alex Browne for their camera work! An extra big thank you to TourPlayers.com for inviting me to the shindig and great job on putting together such an innovative outing!
(Photos by Kyle Auclair)