Player's Take: Max Marsico
May 04, 2022
By Max Marsico , PGA TOUR Canada
- May 04, 2022
- Marsico has his eye on getting back to the Korn Ferry Tour. (Media/PGA TOUR)
At The Wigwam in suburban Phoenix, Max Marsico got back on a career path that had eluded him for the past three years. Marsico’s career was on an upward trend during the summer of 2018. He was playing well enough on the Korn Ferry Tour that he felt like he would be able to keep his card. However, a wrist injury hampered his play midway through the year, he tried to come back and play too quickly, which resulted in poor play and the eventual loss of his card. More wrist issues ensued, then a global pandemic put a damper on the progression he felt he was making with his golf. In April, back to PGA TOUR Canada Q-School the University of Pennsylvania graduate went. Over four days in Litchfield Park, Arizona, Marsico was the best player in the field as he cruised to victory, capturing medalist honors. With that win came the opportunity to play in every 2022 PGA TOUR Canada tournament, something Marsico intends to do once the season gets underway in early June. Marsico is finally healthy, his game is in a good place—as his win indicated—he has a good mindset, and he is obviously keeping himself well fed as he unwinds from golf by tooling around in the kitchen.
For the past three and a half years without any status and factoring in the pandemic, I’ve been playing one-off tournaments, state opens, that type of stuff. It’s good experience, and sometimes you can make a little bit of money—but not often.
The full season on a PGA TOUR Tour is what I’ve been shooting for. Now I feel that if you’re a better player, you’re going to have better odds getting through a season of 11 or 12 events than you are Korn Ferry Tour Q-School. Q-School is a wicked animal. Yet I’m where I am right now because of PGA TOUR Canada Q-School.
I know that I’m a good enough player. I think that over my years as a professional I’ve become a lot more proficient at practicing properly, reading courses and learning courses and managing my game. I would like to think that part has come with maturity.
The most enjoyment I had playing golf were the last 10 events of 2017 on the Korn Ferry and the 25 events—whatever I played—the next year. It’s so much fun being out there. That vibe and culture where we’re all out there week to week interacting with the same people and developing friendships is a lot a lot of fun.
I attended the University of Pennsylvania and graduated from the Wharton School of Business. I try not to compare where I am in my career with what my classmates are doing in theirs. There have certainly been moments where I’ve run into someone I knew or you come across an article or a Linkedin post and have been like, Huh, maybe golf wasn’t the right choice.
It’s hard not to do that, but there are so many people I’ve met—especially playing pro-ams on the Korn Ferry Tour—where I would be playing with some executive VP of some multi-national, someone with a fairly impressive corporate title, and I could tell he was super jealous of what I was doing. I guess it goes both ways.
I used to struggle with the comparisons more than I do now. Back then, it actually leaked into my golf. I would start worrying about past results, about what happened and what I was doing with my career. That would get me down. You can just drive yourself crazy with that kind of thing, and I try my best not to feel that way, but it does creep into my head now and then.
I live in Las Vegas now. For the first date with my girlfriend, we went to a place called the Yard House, which was kind of funny. I don’t really drink, and she doesn’t drink, and we’re at this bar that’s a gigantic brewery place. She ordered a water, and I ordered a ginger ale.Marsico with his girlfriend. (Courtesy of Max Marisco)
I really enjoy being in the kitchen, and I think I can hold my own as a chef. My go-to dishes are always Italian. I’m Spanish-Italian, so I’ll do the whole homemade sauce with meatballs, braciola, sausage.
I didn’t know it at the time, but my girlfriend’s favorite meal is pasta with red sauce. That’s it. Simple. I made it from scratch one day for her early in our relationship, and she was blown away. She was a Ragu girl. That is now her most-requested dish. We have it as almost a Sunday tradition.
My red sauce recipe comes from my family, but it’s modified. Every Italian family claims to have the authentic recipe for red sauce, and every single person does it differently. That’s a little of the beauty of it. You doctor the red sauce to your taste.
My dad prefers you cook the sauce with the meat in it, with the meatballs and sausage and stuff. He likes that flavor. My girlfriend isn’t a vegetarian but she’s pretty much a vegetarian. She prefers her sauce with a ton of basil to brighten it up. She likes fresh herbs. That’s how I make it for her, with tons of garlic, fresh tomatoes—canned tomatoes can work, if necessary—and little bit of red pepper flake.
If I had only one day left to live, and I could only have one meal, pasta with red sauce may very well be what I choose. It reminds me of growing up and my life now.
My dad’s mom was Italian. My dad’s dad was Spain Spanish, and Mom is Finnish. I’m a smorgasbord of Europe.
My mom is a very good cook, and she basically understudied under my grandmother. She was a traditional Italian grandmother, and my dad would say after eating a pasta dish my mom made, ‘This doesn’t taste like my mom’s.’ My mom has been chasing that mythical Italian dragon for the last 30, 40 years trying to get it right.
When I was first starting out cooking, I remember I made scrambled eggs for some friends. I threw a bunch of salt in with the eggs while I was whipping them, and I remember when I gave the plates out, somebody took a bite and the food fell out of their mouth because it was so over-salted. That’s not a good feeling, just so you know. It’s a really bad feeling, actually.One of Marsico’s favorite things to do is cook. (Courtesy of Max Marsico)
I’ve never lit anything on fire cooking. Well, not really. But I did use the wrong setting once. I put the oven on broil instead of bake, and I put the dish in there, and it had a lot of olive oil. I wasn’t aware of that type of stuff back then, and I just threw it in the oven. Before long, I looked in and that thing was flaming. I kept the door shut and turned the oven off. It was a little singed inside the oven, but there was no major damage. No, I didn’t serve that creation.
If I had a free day without golf, I have to say I really enjoy cooking overly elaborate and intricate meals that I have no business attempting. I would probably spend a couple of hours doing that. I’m a fairly simple guy. Taking the dogs out for a nice walk in the morning is always fun, doing a workout and spending time with family would be high on the choice list, too. There’s nothing really extravagant about me.
My dad is almost 80 now, and I grew up listening to what he was listening to. So, Frank Sinatra, Dion, Dean Martin and Frankie Valli, that type of stuff. Today, it’s mostly classic rock on my play list. I really like the Rolling Stones. I was never into the ‘90s or early 2000s music, grunge rock.
Choosing a favorite movie is a tough one. “Caddyshack” is the simplest answer because every time I watch it, I have a lot of fun.
The biggest difference I noticed about attending an Ivy League school is the material isn’t any different. If you’re taking Finance 100 at Penn and you’re taking Finance 100 at UNLV, you’re probably going to run into 95 percent of the same concepts you would get at any other university. One of the differences I did notice was the guy who was my professor actually wrote the text that was used across many institutions. That was a little different.
I think what sets Ivy League schools apart is mostly the student body. The kids I was around every day could do things that were amazing to me. I think I’m decently smart, and maybe I am still kind of an idiot still as I chase professional golf, but I met kids who were at another level.
We had a kid on our team who was a couple of years older than me. We were in the van on our way from practice back to campus one afternoon. He was sitting there with printer paper and a pen that looked like it had been chewed up by a dog for a couple of days. He had taken a horrible picture of his homework with his cell phone—and it wasn’t even an iPhone; this was probably 2010—and he started doing a problem from that photo that he said was 30 percent of his grade. He didn’t have a calculator, no textbook, nothing, and all us were in the van talking. He proceeded to, in the 30 minutes it took for the van to take us back to campus, finish that problem that was due when he got back.
He was supposed to do calculations, and we asked him if he didn’t have to put the numbers into the problem. He said, “I just write all the formulas, and I derive the formula down to what the answer would be and my professors realize that I know what I’m doing. So, I don’t put the numbers in.”
I was like, OK, I can’t do that. This guy is way smarter than me. But I was a better at golf than him.Marsico won by two strokes in Arizona to earn membership on PGA TOUR Canada this season (Media/PGA TOUR)