”Obviously with the dynamics of our team, I felt it really important to have someone from Asia involved in it,” Price said during a news conference in Dublin, Ohio, site of next year’s Presidents Cup.
Maruyama was a member of the International Presidents Cup Team in 1998 and 2000. He posted a 5-0-0 record in the 1998 matches, helping lead the International Team to its lone outright victory in The Presidents Cup.
Maruyama is one of four players in event history to go 5-0 (Mark O'Meara, 1996; Tiger Woods, 2009; Jim Furyk, 2011). His overall record in two appearances is 6-2-0. Maruyama has won three events on the PGA TOUR and 10 on the Japan Golf Tour, most recently the 2009 Golf Nippon Series JT Cup.
In the 2011 Presidents Cup in Melbourne, Australia, four of the 12 members of the International team were from Asia – Koreans K.J. Choi, K.T. Kim and Y.E. Yang, and Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa. Every International team except the 2005 squad has had at least one player from Asia.
Price said he intends to lean on Maruyama for advice with the pairings.
“He'll help me, I know, with some of the decision making,” Price said. “There could be two Koreans, two Japanese -- there could be four Asians on the team. I really felt he would have a better understanding of how to pair the guys.”
Plus, added Price, Maruyama will be an asset in the team room.
“He has a smile and a demeanor about him that is just second to none,” Price said. “He loves to joke. He loves to tell stories. He loves -- he's just got a passion for life.”
Price’s other two Captain’s assistants are from his native Zimbabwe – Mark McNulty and Tony Johnstone.
U.S. Captain Fred Couples tabbed Jay Haas as one of his assistants, and will announce the other two at a later date.
Australia’s Stuart Appleby and Japan’s Shigeki Maruyama have a lot more in common than one might think -- for one, Appleby had just conditional status on the PGA TOUR last year, while Maruyama made just four starts. Well, throw all that out the window because the two are tied atop the leaderboard after two rounds at Waialae.
Maruyama, who went out early, led for much of the day after a second straight 65. Then Appleby, who switched back to the putter he used to shoot 59 at The Greenbrier Classic last year, birdied his last two holes in the afternoon to pull even with Maruyama at 10 under.
They have a long way to go, however, with a 36-hole finale set for Sunday as officials try to finish the tournament on schedule after heavy rains wiped out play on Thursday.
Those two will be grouped (along with Roland Thatcher) for all 36 holes. They start their third rounds off the 10th tee at 1:20 p.m. ET (8:20 a.m. local time). Their fourth-round tee time is set for 5:50 p.m. ET (12:10 p.m. local) off the first tee.
Appleby knows who’ll get most of the attention, especially from the Japanese media and fans who have swelled Maruyama’s galleries.
“I’m sure he’s got a couple more reporters around him than I have right now, probably at least 50 photographers,” Appleby said. “Just a normal day in Shigeki Maruyama’s life, I’d say.” – Brian Wacker
WINNING ON NINTH HOLE?: With tee times set for the final two rounds and groups going off both the first and 10th tees in each round, there’s a chance that the winner could find himself finishing on the ninth hole late Sunday.
It happened last year at the Puerto Rico Open when rookie Derek Lamely won on the ninth hole. He became the first winner to start on the back nine and win since Keith Clearwater at the 1987 Colonial Invitational.
Among the players who will finish their final rounds on the ninth hole Sunday: Ernie Els, Steve Stricker, last week’s winner Jonathan Byrd and defending champion Ryan Palmer. – Mike McAllister
EXPLAINING THE CUT: Because of that 36-hole finish, only the number nearest the low 60 on the leaderboard will compete in the final two rounds -- though the top 70 and ties will receive FedExCup points and earnings, as well as credit for making the cut.
Late in the day, the cut number moved to 3 under, meaning that 56 players will actually participate in the final two rounds Sunday. – Brian Wacker
COURSE IN GREAT SHAPE: Waialae Country Club crew’s hard work continued to pay off, as preferred lies were not needed for the second round. Players continued to praise the efforts of the grounds crew, as they were able to return the course to normal conditions after heavy rains forced the suspension of play before a single swing on Wednesday and Thursday.
The hard work did not go unnoticed by the players.
“Hat’s off to the staff here at Waialae and all the hard work they had to do to get the course ready. We played the ball down today, no lift, clean, and place, and it’s looking great,” said Mark Wilson, who shot a 3-under to jump into a tie for third with Steve Marino and Roland Thatcher at 8 under for the tournament.
Marino agreed with the miraculous turnaround of course conditions: “I can’t believe it. It was under water on Thursday, and right now you’d have a hard time telling that we had any rain out here. They did an unbelievable job.” – Heather Deranek
HONOLULU -- Japan's Shigeki Maruyama has never missed a start at Waialae since Sony began sponsoring the tournament in 1999. This year, he's playing on a sponsor's exemption.
Through 36 holes, he's making the most of it.
Maruyama shot his second consecutive 65 and was the clubhouse leader at 10 under – two strokes ahead of the field -- with the afternoon wave yet to finish. UPDATE: Maruyama and Stuart Appleby share the 36-hole lead at 10 under.
He's had a rollercoaster first 36 holes, with eight birdies and three bogeys each day, but it's obvious that Waialae fits his game.
"I'm not a real long hitter, but the fairways are always firm here, so you always get a run out on your drives," Maruyama said through his interpreter. "On the mainland, a lot of the courses you just hit and you have to carry it a long ways, which I don't do very well. But here, the length suits my game.
"In fact, the whole course suits my game."
Maruyama has three TOUR wins in his career but none since 2003. He's made just nine TOUR starts the previous two years, with his best finish a tie for 10th at the 2009 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
Just before that tournament, Maruyama played the Sony Open, tying for 12th. It was also the last time he had visited the press room inside the Waialae clubhouse.
"It's been a while since I had two good rounds together," said Maruyama, who made a charge on his final seven holes with four birdies.
While a win in this event would be huge -- especially because he feels a sense of responsibility to Sony for the sponsor's exemption as well as its sponsorship of the event -- he isn't yet dreaming of what it would feel like Sunday should he win.
"Right now it's just been about really trying to play good golf and entertain the Japanese tourists who are here in number," he said. "It's good to see so many out and also ... to play well for the sponsor Sony.
"That's really about as far as my thinking process has gotten this week."
During Maruyama’s news conference Saturday, a bird flew into the press room, interrupting the Q & A session for a brief moment.
Was it a sign of things to come? A good omen?
Well, the Sony Open logo does include a bird.– Mike McAllister
It’s been a few years since Shigeki Maruyama has been a regular on the PGA TOUR, much less been atop a leaderboard. That’s where he is now, though, after a second straight 65 has him at 10 under.
The last four years have been a steady decline for Maruyama, who made just nine combined starts the last two seasons. The last time he was this close to the lead? In 2007, when he tied for second at the Ginn sur Mer Classic.
One big reason Maruyama is halfway to his first victory since 2003: Putting. Maruyama is third in the field in putts per green in regulation at 1.520 through two rounds. And that’s why he leads the field with 16 birdies.
Meanwhile, overnight leader Stuart Appleby is on the course and is 1 under through his first four holes today. That has him in a tie for fourth and three off Maruyama’s lead.
If not for Spencer Levin, Roland Thatcher might not be in Hawaii right now. It was Levin who Thatcher was tied for second with late at the season-ending Children’s Miracle Network Classic, where Thatcher, who entering that week was 179th on the money list, needed at least a solo second to finish inside the top 125 on the money list. Levin, who was paired with Thatcher, bogeyed the final hole and Thatcher got his card for this season.
Fast forward to Saturday at Waialae and Thatcher is taking full advantage of the opportunity. Thatcher is 4 under in his second round and 7 under for the week and hovering near the top of the leaderboard.
He has plenty of company, however, with Shigeki Maruyama at 8 under after playing his first 13 holes in 3 under. Steve Marino is also at 7 under, while Chris DiMarco, after a second straight 67, is among a group at 6 under that includes Matt Kuchar.r