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KITCHENAID SENIOR PGA CHAMPIONSHIP MEDIA DAY
March 9, 2017
JULIUS MASON: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I'm the PGA of America's Julius Mason and I would like to thank you very much for joining us today as we celebrate the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship's defending champion. As you get settled in and take your seats, please sit back, relax, and enjoy the history and tradition of the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid.
Nearly 80 years of history in just five minutes. Ladies and gentlemen, the first now before we get to the program some people that you need to be, that are going to make this championship very, very successful. First from the Middle Atlantic PGA Section, please welcome Executive Director John Guhl.
PGA of America board member Kelly Williams and Chris Liedel.
From Trump National Golf Club, Washington, D.C., general manager, Michael Macdonald.
PGA professional Kevin Morris.
And superintendent Brad Egan.
From the Whirlpool Corporation and KitchenAid Corporate Vice President Of Communications And Public Affairs, Jeff Noel.
From the PGA of America headquartered in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, please welcome the Chief Executive Officer, Pete Bevacqua.
And he's joined by Senior Director Of Championships, David Charles.
How about this one from left field, from Middleburg, Virginia, 2003 and 2004 Golf Writers Association Of America past president, Len Shapiro.
The championship in Potomac Falls does not run smoothly without the support of Supervisor Susan Volpe.
And we are also very pleased to have representatives from many of the local professional sports teams who we will see later on in the program as well. And now to kick things off, please welcome the CEO and general manager at Toscana Country Club in Indian Wells, California, the President of the PGA of America, Mr. Paul Levy.
PAUL LEVY: Good morning, everyone. I know many of you here are from the DC area, but a lot of us aren't and we're excited about this great country we live in because the hotel we're staying at here is a great place to be and a great place to be here to host the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship. 11 weeks from today we will have this great championship and it's going to begin at Trump National Golf Club in Washington, D.C., which you know is just right up the road from here and we're really excited to have this championship come to the nation's capital. It's something that we're very excited about, three or four years ago when we made the announcement and we're really going to be looking forward to being back here in six weeks. The KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship is the most historic and prestigious event in all of senior golf. It's one of our four Major Championships, along with the KPMG Women's PGA Championship, along with our PGA Championship, and of course how can we not mention the Ryder Cup, especially after last year's victory. What an exciting Ryder Cup, wasn't it? We are so excited about all that.
Last year in Michigan our KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship field included 16 Major champions, seven past Senior PGA champions, five members of the World Golf Hall of Fame, five Ryder Cup captains and many of the international players representing over 19 different countries. We expect a similar caliber to show up this spring in DC and that's a lot of star power on one golf course. So, Rocco, I think you have a lot of competition there when you get back in six weeks, but I think you'll do all right. In addition, this is something that, as a club professional we're very proud of, we have 35 of our top Senior PGA club professionals who qualified last November at our Senior PGA professional championship and they will all be here to play for that championship. Five of the 35 are qualifiers from our Middle Atlantic PGA section and three of them are here today and I would like to introduce them. If you would stand up please, first of all Jim Estes the PGA Director of Instruction.
Brendan McGrath the PGA director of golf instruction.
Ricky Touma the head professional from Burning Tree Country Club.
When we talk about the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship and I can't tell you what a great partner that's been for us and how excited we are as they are, because their sponsorship has resulted into a title sponsorship with us through 2024. So thank you all from the PGA of America. KitchenAid is a really iconic brand and I'm very excited to share our passion for observing tradition, preserving enjoyment and they also share our passion for the game of golf and we're really excited that we're going to have this relationship for another eight years. That's a really exciting thing. Also, as we look forward to Trump National DC it's a world class venue. I had a chance to play the golf course back in October and I got to meet some of the staff there and it's really a great venue. The views as you look down the Potomac River, there's nothing you see but golf course and countryside and I think that that golf course is going to be a great venue for the championship and it's something that the players will really enjoy. To that end we're very thankful for all of the hard work that Eric Trump and the entire membership of the Trump National Golf Club has done to put this event on and we know that it's going to be a great partnership. Also we want to being a knowledge and thank our broadcast partners, NBC and the Golf Channel, as they will provide 12 hours of life coverage in and around Memorial Day weekend. This championship will be seen in well over 200 million households which is terrific exposure for senior golf. As of today we're really excited about people getting to know you, Rocco, not that they don't know you, not that you haven't had a great career, but he's such a great personality he's really one of a kind and the thing that I love about him is he shows you, if you play golf, it should be about having fun and smiling. I think you've done that your whole career and you're a great spokesman for the game of golf. Thank you very much.
With that said I look forward being back here in six weeks looking forward it you share some of your stories with us and thank you again for having us here today. Thank you.
JULIUS MASON: Thank you, Paul. We know if Rocco wasn't in a good mood this morning, he is now. So next up please welcome, from Benton Harbor, Michigan, KitchenAid's Deb O'Connor.
DEB O'CONNOR: Good morning. Before I tell you about all the great things KitchenAid has in store for the 2017 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship, let me address the first question I always get: Why golf? How does that fit? Aren't you about cooking? Yes, we're definitely about cooking and we think it's a perfect fit. If you think about the process of both golf and cooking, it's about making memories, having a good time, whether you're on the golf course with your buddies or if you're in the kitchen cooking with family and friends. It's really about bringing people together. And that's why we're so excited for May. This really gives us another opportunity to pull everything together. We'll have a giant tent, we call it the KitchenAid Fairway Club, and it will be filled with products. You'll see our new black stainless steel, you'll see a dishwasher with a window in it, and you'll see hundreds of our small appliances, including our iconic stand mixer, where we will see 50 colors and finishes, the only place you can see all of those at one time. And it's all there for people to experience. They can touch it, feel it, try it out if they would like to. So we're excited about that.
Along with all those products we have a demonstration kitchen in that tent and we have a chef that will be in there the entire time and he's there to answer questions, he'll be cooking all day long every day, and if you want to learn how to use a knife, he'll help with that. If you have a recipe that you're trying to perfect and you're not really sure how to get it right to the best, the best taste, he can help you with that. So, we're excited about having him and then also we have celebrity chef on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. On Thursday we have Gabriel Corsi. He has a show called Extra Virgin. He's an amazing Italian chef, so, Rocco, we got him for you. Then Friday we have Keegan Gerhard award winning pastry chef. You've probably seen him on a lot of the Food Network challenge shows, he's a judge quite often. And then Saturday we have Gayle Simmons, the host of Bravo's Top Chef. So we have a lot of really great chefs and then we're also going to have a few local chefs, too. So it's going to be a great time inside the ropes with amazing golf and then it's going to be a great time outside the ropes with some amazing cooking experiences. So, I hope you can join us.
JULIUS MASON: Deb O'Connor. True or false, all media attending the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship will receive a full kitchen?
DEB O'CONNOR: Um --
JULIUS MASON: So, oh, you have to win the championship to get the full kitchen, as Rocco will tell us soon again.
Next up ladies and gentlemen for details specifically on the championship, please welcome the championship director, Bryan Karns.
BRYAN KARNS: Thanks everyone for being out here today. I want to say an additional thank you to a number of the folks in this room that really helped us get here to where we are today. You've treated us so well over the course of the last two years we have been on-site. That's one of the hardest things we have to experience moving around each year with this championship is finding a host site that will welcome us, take care of us, put us in connection with the right people, and this community both in DC and certainly in Loudoun County where the golf course is located has been tremendous, so I wanted to say thank you out of the gate.
Just wanted to mention a couple of things about tickets. They are currently on sale. You can buy them at SRPGA.com or by calling 1-800-PGA-GOLF. Tickets start at 15 and juniors under 17 get in free with a ticketed adult. So it's a great family opportunity for Memorial Day weekend. Also, continuing our tradition of honoring the men and women who serve our country, we have complimentary admission for all military personnel and their guests. One guest, but all military, both retired and active. So we feel like that's going to be a great opportunity for folks in this area due to the large military population. Lastly, we have a few volunteer positions still available. If you're interested in being a marshal, which is a great way to get inside the ropes and experience some of the greatest golfers in the world up close and personal, please go to SRPGA.com, all the information is there. And then again just wanted to thank everyone for coming out. We couldn't have gotten here without you and we look forward to having everyone out at Trump National in May. Thank you.
JULIUS MASON: Someone last night told us when he turns 50 it's his goal to turn professional and play in this championship because he loves this event so much. Please welcome the general chair of the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship, Mr. Eric Trump.
ERIC TRUMP: I got a few years before that happens though. Rocco, I better start chipping, right? So I said to the guys last night, we had an unbelievable dinner here at the hotel and I said to the team it's rare when all the stars align -- and that's exactly what happened with this event. First of all, starting with Rocco, he's a good friend of ours for a very long time. There is no more quality person anywhere in the world. There is no person who's been more loyal. There's no person who is more fun to be around. We absolutely love him and we think with the win last year and to be the defending champion at a Trump course -- and I would like you to look at his shirt right now. He's wearing our colors proudly. So there's something up there that gave us all a little bit of luck, having you win, and it's an honor to have you being the defending champion at Trump National in Washington, D.C.
The fact that we're in our nation's capitol, we started this whole process with Paul and Pete and you have been absolutely great. Pete, thank you for everything you've done. We started this process talking about this great tournament in 2012 and 2013, long before politics was ever factored into anything and it's really amazing that here we are in Washington, D.C. and at an incredible course, truly one of the great courses anywhere in the world, on the famous Potomac River, overlooking the iconic falls, again, in our nation's capitol and in such a pivotal time in our history and there's no more fitting tournament to be here than one of the oldest and most prestigious tournaments. A tournament that started in Augusta, Georgia a very, very long time ago and that's very, very special to us. And something that should be cherished. Last but not least, the great KitchenAid, an All-American company, that puts out an absolutely fantastic product. A product that is made in the United States. We couldn't have a better partner at our side throughout this whole process. And Jeff, on behalf of my entire family and on behalf of our entire team, I promise we're going to make you immensely proud. The course is impeccable, the job that Brad does every day, with Michael, our general manager, and our entire team, Kevin, it's truly second to none. And you are going to be proud and the players are going to be proud and they're going to love this experience. You will not find a better facility. Last but not least, KitchenAid, you're talking about the great kitchen appliances. My wife has all of them. She's bought a lot of KitchenAid over the years, she's a pastry chef. And it's finally nice to have that connection back together. But we're incredibly proud of this tournament. It's going to be an immense success. The stars really aligned from every angle on this one and we're going to have a lot of fun and it's going to be a great day. And to have military out there and Memorial Day, free tickets for them and their spouses or their friends to come in in Loudoun County, the most supportive county in the world, we really appreciate you guys, you have made our lives easy. And that's not always the case. You let us do what we do best and I hope we made you proud with the facility we have. And thank you and thank you to the entire board and everybody, you are an amazing county and we owe you a tremendous thanks. So thank you very much on behalf of the entire family, on behalf of Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C. and our entire team here, we're going to have a lot of fun and I really appreciate all of you being here. Thank you.
JULIUS MASON: Thank you, Eric, and for your comment about having fun, ladies and gentlemen please welcome to the stage, our defending champion, Rocco Mediate. As we want to learn a little more about you and your travels throughout life.
ROCCO MEDIATE: Good to be back.
JULIUS MASON: How about we remind everybody here what happened last year with your victory. Let's watch this.
ROCCO MEDIATE: Okay. I'm not even sure.
JULIUS MASON: So finally a Major champion. Let's set the stage. Take us back a week before. Coming in, how were you playing?
ROCCO MEDIATE: Crap. Pretty much crap for a few years. You run into those moments in your career as a professional, you're good and you're bad and hopefully the bad doesn't last too long. But that was one of the worst couple years I've had in my career and not because -- the golf was just no good and it wasn't working. So, I remember that week I was on the range with one of my dearest friends, Mike Biviano, who built most of the golf clubs I ever played and he still builds my stuff now and he's like a brother. And he was watching me hit balls and he goes, a couple things, you look bent over. And I got a little taller at address, I moved a little better and it worked pretty well. And I putted really good that week. Obviously you have to, to win.
JULIUS MASON: So this is during the practice rounds?
ROCCO MEDIATE: I got in there on Monday, I think, I don't know what day I got in. I was on the range, he got in there in the morning, I was on the range with Mike in the evening, I was hitting a few balls and it was starting to get a little bit better. But then he said a couple things and I went, ah-ha. And then all of a sudden it started to click a little bit. Still wasn't great, but it was better.
Then Daly says, J.D. says something on the green, we're out there Wednesday afternoon and I was putting okay, he goes, why is your left leg moving when you're putting. He goes, your left leg's moving. I go, okay. So I kind of got my weight forward and went back and held it and all of a sudden I made them all for the entire week, made everything pretty much. So those things happen. J.D. doesn't say something, maybe I don't win. It's one of those things that's so stupid.
JULIUS MASON: But you roll into Thursday, you shoot 62. When do you say, "I can win this thing." Are you saying that on Wednesday after you putt?
ROCCO MEDIATE: Heck no. I wasn't saying that until we got done. No, there was no like, I can win this thing, because on that golf course especially you can lose three shots in one shot. Doesn't make any sense, does it. That golf course is brutal. Especially the approaches.
JULIUS MASON: Not to mention the strength of field.
ROCCO MEDIATE: Right. Two Hall of Famers chasing me, right, exactly. So until my ball didn't go in the water on 18 off the tee I felt pretty good about it. I figured, with a three-shot lead, I could get that done. But you never think that way. You hear stories about guys, you hear the great story about Mr. Palmer at Augusta, one year he's walking off the 18th tee with the one-shot lead or one or two-shot lead, one-shot lead, I think, and one of his buddies go, hey, great tournament, you won. He made double, lost. You just can't, you can never think that far ahead, especially in this crazy game. I never thought I was going to win until my ball was in the front of the green on 18.
JULIUS MASON: So now not only do we have the record 62, you shoot 19-under, 265, which established a new championship record that was set 33 years earlier by Sam Snead. And nobody has ever gone wire-to-wire since Jack Nicklaus in '91. So, pretty nice company.
ROCCO MEDIATE: Yeah, I feel like I really don't belong in that company, but I can't even tell you how this happened. I know how to play, obviously and I've won before, but nothing this big. This is the biggest one I ever had, PGA TOUR or any TOUR, for that matter, because it felt like what it was, which is a Major Championship. Whether it's we're 50 and older or 20. Doesn't matter. It felt the same.
JULIUS MASON: So if it feels the same way when you're over 50, does this, how do you feel on a lead when you go to bed at Saturday night.
ROCCO MEDIATE: Oh, yeah. Hopefully, you're nervous. Definitely nervous. And you just don't know what's going to happen. So what I feel like is I'm just going to go out there and see how I can do under this gun that's in front of me. I call it a gun. So it's in front of you and if you can get -- I don't know how to explain it, but it's just a challenge, obviously. Then you got the guys coming after you who are really, really good and if you mess up, it's over. I remember telling Martin, my caddie, I said, even par is the worst of the scores. And if I shoot even, I lose. Simple as that. And the wind was blowing a little bit early and it was nasty and somehow it happened.
JULIUS MASON: So almost a year later, how is your game today?
ROCCO MEDIATE: It's better than it was last year, so that's a good sign. Everything's getting better and better. Which you never really stop working. I practice, we work as hard as we did back on this tour as we did on the PGA TOUR, ever did on the PGA TOUR. Just as hard. Because it's just as hard. It hasn't changed. I'm playing against the same guys that I played with my entire life, so why would it change? Is it going to get easier, no. It's not easier.
JULIUS MASON: You hadn't really seen Harbor Shores before you won that championship. It's kind of setting up this year where you haven't seen this course.
ROCCO MEDIATE: No, I'm going to try to see it before. What else helped me is, I forgot about this one, we're on the putting green that day with J.D. and Monty is around and we're putting and making fun of each other. And I remember Martin goes, how do you play this course? Because he won, Monty won a couple years ago and then he won in Indiana. Monty said, well, it's not that hard to play the course, as long as you're not past pin high. So I went there and I'm thinking, that is absolutely genius, because if you miss short of pin high, you can play the golf course. And pretty much the entire week when I missed, I was under the hole. So I could get it up-and-down or have a putt at something. So that helped, too. All those things made a difference. I never really think about that. I just want to shoot at flags, I don't care how I'm playing, I just want to shoot at flags. But I remember when he said that, I looked over at Martin and I went, I don't want to be past one pin this week. And we might have been once or twice but not a lot. And that made a big difference. Because when you miss on a golf course like that, you can't play from certain spots. Nobody can. So I missed in the right spot most of the time and that helped. So all these guys little things that are said, I bet you everybody can tell you the same thing. Somebody said something and it clicked. It makes total sense.
JULIUS MASON: So congratulations. But we're not done yet.
ROCCO MEDIATE: No, I'm sure we're not.
JULIUS MASON: Let's leave the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship and go back to a moment in time in 2008 in California, Torrey Pines, that could arguably go down as one of the greatest moments ever in the world of golf but potentially the world of sport.
ROCCO MEDIATE: He looks mad at me there, doesn't he. He looks mad. What did I do?
JULIUS MASON: Let's start here. This quote from John Fienstein, who co-authored your work.
ROCCO MEDIATE: He wrote it, I didn't.
JULIUS MASON: Are You Kidding Me is the name of it. So Tiger Woods is the 2008 U.S. Open champion. His performance was nothing short of amazing. But Rocco Mediate was the champion of all Americans. A true underdog who captured the shear joy of playing and competing. Together, Rocco and Tiger created a singular moment in sport and an indelible memory for millions that isn't likely to be matched.
How often are you reminded, in your daily walk of life, are you reminded of this?
ROCCO MEDIATE: Every day. Honestly every day. Someone asks me a question every day and it's funny they come up and they act like, are you okay? Of course it's okay. It was the coolest thing ever. I just didn't get the trophy. Otherwise it was fantastic, as far as golf was concerned. We didn't know what was going on as the back nine started because we didn't, we were just trying to play and kill each other.
JULIUS MASON: Hold that thought. You're setting this up for us. Tiger's going for his 14th Major title. You were trying to win your first. He's the No. 1 world ranked player. You're 158th in the world.
ROCCO MEDIATE: Sounds right.
JULIUS MASON: Let's go back and remind everybody what happened.
ROCCO MEDIATE: Okay.
JULIUS MASON: So obviously this was amazing theater. At what point do you realize how big a moment in time this is?
ROCCO MEDIATE: After it was all done. When we were playing it was just playing. I knew, I knew I couldn't reach 18. I reached it the first day. I had 245, 235 to cover the left and pin was back left and I covered by a yard. I got kind of lucky there. I think I made birdie. But every other day I had to hit a low kind of a nasty hook off that tee to make it run. And especially the last day, the wind was a little in. And I knew it was going to be a four. So I said, just put it somewhere, because I can't reach the green. And what if I hit it in the fairway from 250 or 260 to the flag? Now what do I do? Do I go? If I hit it on the green I'm a hero. If I hit it in the water I'm an idiot. Johnny would have gone crazy. So I knew what he was going to do. If he hit a good drive, he was going to hit a mid iron. I knew he was going to make four. Unless he made a big mistake. But he doesn't usually do that. So I know this. So I just tried to put it up there, just miss a little bit and I laid it up a perfect number and a reasonable shot, but I still, even though, with the one-shot lead, I just missed, if I hit my 4-iron another yard on 16, because it just kind of, it catches it, it goes up to the flag and is stiff. I knew that. When it was in the air I thought it was over and it just didn't quite carry. Neither did his. He hit five and I hit four and they were basically the same shot. But you never know in these things. These things make you do funny things.
JULIUS MASON: So after Sunday, you're a little older than Tiger at the time. Are you saying to yourself, I don't have 18 more holes in me?
ROCCO MEDIATE: Oh, no, I was ready to play. I remember saying something to one of my friends I was with, saying, I just want one more shot at him before I'm done. And I got it. I got the shot in our National Open, which is really cool, and with him. It was the most fun I ever had playing. And I knew when I woke up on Monday morning that I was going to win. I knew it. I felt it. But great players like him -- I think he's the greatest ever, in my opinion -- find a way somehow. They just do things you're not supposed to do. He did it all the time.
JULIUS MASON: On Sunday after play you go into the interview first and then Tiger comes in. That was an interesting moment.
ROCCO MEDIATE: Yes, it was cool. I was talking to the press, kind of like this. There was a million people there, because he was there, not because I was there. And he was standing in the door, because I was going over, like I usually do. And I said all right, okay, enough, enough. Okay, I understand when you guys think he's going to destroy me tomorrow. It's over with. Why don't we just end it now and I'll just leave, if that's how you feel. I said, but I have a different feeling about this. I said, I'm looking forward to tomorrow for the challenge. And I can assure you, this guy and I are going to give you a show tomorrow. I'm through here. And I walked right out. He was standing in the door and I high fived him. That's what we did. When I got three down at the turn after 10, I 3-putted 9, hit a terrible chip on 10. Stupid. Call it what you want. I 3-putted and I missed it by a foot or something. I told my caddie, I said, this is, I'm not losing this golf tournament. And I had eight holes left, but I'm three down, and I believed that totally. Then all of a sudden I never missed a shot. And all of a sudden I'm walking to 16 one ahead. And I was not surprised. Because I knew on those golf courses, on that kind of golf course, on any U.S. Open, any Major Championship golf course, three shots is nothing. It's nothing. And he made a couple mistakes, I made a couple birdies. Here we go. So, it was cool.
JULIUS MASON: Something really weird happens, Tiger wins, you lose. But America remembers you. America fell in love with you and what's really interesting about society is that nobody remembers the guy that finishes in second place and you go on this whirlwind. You're on the Tonight Show.
ROCCO MEDIATE: That was so much fun. He's so cool.
JULIUS MASON: So talk about your life after that and then I want to know what happened on the TV show.
ROCCO MEDIATE: It was busy. It was just busy. For some reason, and I don't understand this part, I still don't, why can't I or anybody in my situation compete with him? Now, I've always said, if I played in 10 tournaments in a row back then, he's going to beat me nine. But what about that one time? That's what I want is the one time. I'm not going to compete with him over a career. No one has. He's won more than anybody else. So you don't expect that. But you also know, why can't I compete with the best guy in the world and see what I can do. It's a challenge. Most of the guys think, oh, done. Because they know what he can do. And I'm like, no, I'm going to try to see what I can do with what I have. Which isn't close to what he has, but it doesn't matter, I can still beat somebody. So I never thought about that Monday as, oh, my God, I'm going to get destroyed. I could have, very easily. I was working my way towards that after 10 holes. But I never thought of it that way ever. Not one time. Like I said, when I woke up, I knew I could beat him, no problem, if I just did what I had been doing all week. Because what he did all week was miracles. It was a great week to do that. Tiger's won perfect and won like when he beat me -- sideways. The ball went sideways. But he still beat me. That doesn't happen.
JULIUS MASON: They come down and they say, Rocco, if you had one shot to hit over again in that championship.
ROCCO MEDIATE: I would take the approach at 18 on Sunday. The adrenaline got me a touch. I laid it up perfect and I had a perfect number, 108 yards and a 52 degree club goes about 110 yards give or take. Wind was a little in and I hit it right where I was looking, but it carried about five yards too far and jumped up on the top. So I had a 25-footer. If I could have just maybe taken a little, just felt what I was feeling, I might have hit the ball on the tier and had a good putt at it. But where I hit it, I didn't. Nothing much more than that. There's not much more -- I hit a putt on the 71st hole, I had a shot on the 71st hole. Beautiful 7-iron. Right over the flag. Went right by the hole about from here to the TV maybe that far. And I remember walking up and telling my caddie, if I make this, this is over. Because I had a one-shot lead and we were on 16. So if I'm up two going to 17, I can win this tournament. Because nobody's going to birdie 17. And as soon as I hit the putt, I thought it just carried a little too much speed and ran about six feet by and if I somehow made that one -- but that is the one, I don't want it over, because I couldn't hit it much better, but those two shots made a big difference back-to-back.
JULIUS MASON: Is Tiger Woods the best golfer you've ever seen?
ROCCO MEDIATE: By far. There's not anybody close. By far. As far as I'm concerned. I never played with the big guys when they played. His father said something years and years and years ago, he said, my son will do things on a golf course that no one else can do. And he'll do it every day. And you think, what? Well, he was right. He was a hundred percent correct. This guy did stuff that you just can't do. But all the great ones do. Jack, back in the old days, they all did things that you're not supposed to do all the time. That's why they are the greatest ever. We do things we're not supposed to do occasionally in the moment.
JULIUS MASON: Who hit the bet golf shot you have ever seen?
ROCCO MEDIATE: Well, one of the ones I remember -- I remember a couple. One was from him and one was Jack and one was from Watson. Jack at the Masters on 15, the 4-iron shot was stupid. And then Tom obviously on 17 at Pebble. But Tiger hit one, I was watching on television when he won at Bethpage in 2002 I think it was. I got done early so I was watching, I don't know where I was, in the locker room somewhere. And he had 272 to the hole on, I think it's 13, the par-5 at Bethpage. 272. No wind really blowing. It's 85 degrees. He hit a 2-iron. Did I mention that too? 272, 2-iron. First of all, how does that come into your head? 15 years ago, when the ball didn't go anywhere like it does now, to about 25 feet from the hole. Simple 2-putt. He hit a big high cut in there. Won the tournament going away. I think everybody got killed there, too. But that was one of the best shots I've ever seen but nobody talked about it because it was on 14. At Pebble Beach he hit all of the best shots I've ever seen and won by a thousand. So those guys are all, they're the best because they did things that you're not supposed to do all the time. Trevino was the same way. Hagen, Jones, Sarazen, Snead. They all did stuff no one else could do.
JULIUS MASON: Who was who is your dream foursome, alive or dead?
ROCCO MEDIATE: Yeah, I would go obviously with Mr. Palmer. He would be my first choice. Hagen. I would switch out Hogan and Jones every weekend, I would take Hogan one weekend and Jones the other. Trevino, too. And I would switch them up. I would have to do that. Because that would be cool.
JULIUS MASON: We're going to hop around a little bit. The top-3 favorite concerts that you've attended in your life time.
ROCCO MEDIATE: I would say Rush, Rush, and Rush. Because I really haven't attended many more concerts.
JULIUS MASON: Have you seen Rush more than one time?
ROCCO MEDIATE: I've seen them 40 or 50 times. Alex is, their lead guitarist, is one of my dearest friends. I met him in '92. I just called the management company and said, is there anybody in the band that plays golf? Alex does. Have him call me. I'm in St. Louis, they're playing there tonight. And I'm playing at Bellerive, where we played a few years ago, I'm going to do a practice round there going to the U.S. Open at Pebble, in '92. The crazy U.S. Open. And I said, yeah, have him call me, I'm going to play golf tomorrow and would love to have him play. Five minutes later the phone rings and, yeah, hello? And Alex sounds like, hello this is Alex Lifeson. And I'm like, whatever. And I'm thinking, holy crap, how did he know I was here? And I'm going call him back. He calls right back. Okay, it's Alex, yeah, I would love to play tomorrow. I tell you what, if it's you, I'll see you at nine. I'm like, what am I doing? So it's nine o'clock, limo pulls up. Out comes Alex. We have pictures, it's hilarious. But he's been a very dear friend of mine. A lot of good advice. And, but, musically, I'll put Alex definitely in the top-5 on a six-string and the top two or three on a 12-string. Very underrated. The whole band is. Three of the best musicians in the history of music. I've gotten to know Geddy. No one knows Neal. I talked to him like twice in three years. So but just really good people. So I had a great time. He's gotten really good. He has his own -- he built a golf course. So he's really big into the game.
JULIUS MASON: If golf officials allowed you to play golf barefoot, would you?
ROCCO MEDIATE: Absolutely. That's, why wouldn't you? I probably wouldn't in tournaments, because, but I practice that way since I was a kid. Balance. I have pictures of me in Minnesota in January, 30 below, with flat bottom shoes hitting balls off ice. So it tells you that, like you can throw water down there and -- so it definitely made me as well as a golf swing and stuff.
JULIUS MASON: You have cycling legs over here on the right.
ROCCO MEDIATE: Get rid of that because it weighs you down.
JULIUS MASON: So your legs look good. So you probably heard that the PGA of America announced that in our championship practice rounds all of our championships competitors will be allowed to wear sports.
ROCCO MEDIATE: Fantastic.
JULIUS MASON: Will we see your legs at the end of May?
ROCCO MEDIATE: Of course you will. Darn right. I think it's fantastic. Just loosen it up. Wouldn't you want to loosen it up a little bit? The game's always been uptight. Why do we have to keep being uptight.
JULIUS MASON: Who goes through more cigars in a round of golf, you or Miguel?
ROCCO MEDIATE: Actually, I may smoke, in the round, one cigar will last me all day, easily all day. And maybe two or three a week at most. Miguel's, he doesn't smoke when he plays in tournaments. Did you know that?
JULIUS MASON: I would have lost that bet.
ROCCO MEDIATE: He only smokes before and after. I asked him and he goes, no, I don't smoke in a round.
JULIUS MASON: He might get a Pilates tip from you down the road, based on what we see on the driving range.
ROCCO MEDIATE: Yeah, we got to stop that.
JULIUS MASON: So you enjoy a good cigar, but you also really, really enjoy good food. You had dinner last night with chef Zambito. Maybe a preview for your Champion's Dinner. Care to share?
ROCCO MEDIATE: Yeah, we talked last, what is it? Talked last week or this week. I don't know. I think we talked last week and I knew when you told me his name last name it would be very simple. So we talked literally for five minutes and then the other 20 were about family and stuff how we grew up. But the stuff he did last night, people are going to lose it, it's so good. Too much food. It's actually too much food. I'm going to have to cut back a touch. Because you can't eat it all.
JULIUS MASON: Tuesday night during KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship Rocco will host the Champion's Dinner and has the opportunity to identify the menu that everybody will eat and also pick out a gift that everybody will receive, to begin the week. Do you know what the gift's going to be?
ROCCO MEDIATE: The humidor from Rocky. Real pretty wood and stuff. But it doesn't have to be a humidor, it could be a jewelry box. Because not everyone smokes cigars. That's what I was worried about. You can put stuff in it. It's cool. I don't know which one he sent me I showed you. It's pretty nice. So that will be fun. Because you can use it for anything.
JULIUS MASON: So who is the cook in the family you or Jessica, your wife?
ROCCO MEDIATE: I cook a little more now because of the baby. But she cooked before. She cooks well. With the baby now there's not enough time.
JULIUS MASON: Who were you facetiming this morning?
ROCCO MEDIATE: My daughter.
JULIUS MASON: How old.
ROCCO MEDIATE: 22 months yesterday. So I'm in an unfair playing field here, trust me. These guys, chef the first baby born in 14 years on the Champions Tour. So I'm in completely unfamiliar territory. It's like what time do you get off? I didn't go to sleep, you know. What can I say. And it's so much fun I can't stand it. I have three older boys and they adore her. They don't see her as much as I would like, but they're trying to figure out their lives, too. But they love her and she's so much fun. It's insane.
JULIUS MASON: So you're from Pittsburgh. Which would suggest that you're probably a pretty big --
ROCCO MEDIATE: Pirates, Penguins, Steelers.
JULIUS MASON: So because we happen to be in the district that also loves its sports, we thought we would hit you with a quick trivia test or game. Are you all right with this?
ROCCO MEDIATE: Go ahead. But I only follow the Steelers Penguins and Pirates. If you asked me five players on each team, I can't answer that question. So I'm going to fail.
JULIUS MASON: How about this, in 2005, Ryan Zimmerman and Andrew McCutchen were selected in the first round of the MLB draft, just seven slots apart from one another. Who has played in more all-star games, Ryan or Andrew.
ROCCO MEDIATE: I'll say Andrew, because he's -- I have absolutely no idea.
JULIUS MASON: And the answer is.
ROCCO MEDIATE: Winner.
JULIUS MASON: Nice.
ROCCO MEDIATE: I don't follow it enough to know. Give me 50 percent.
JULIUS MASON: Who has more rushing touchdowns, Bettis or Riggins.
ROCCO MEDIATE: I would have to say Riggins.
JULIUS MASON: Let's see.
ROCCO MEDIATE: Has to be Riggins.
JULIUS MASON: Not by much.
ROCCO MEDIATE: Still has to be Riggins.
JULIUS MASON: Who has scored more goals, not points in their career, Sydney Crosby or Alex Ovechkin?
ROCCO MEDIATE: I feel like Sydney has been around longer I'm going with Sydney.
JULIUS MASON: You just lost your house here.
ROCCO MEDIATE: Wow. I don't know. See, I don't know. And plus I know that the Capital stuff here, but we don't like you guys in Pittsburgh because you beat us all the time. Just saying. It's like -- it's like a nemesis. It's cool, it's a great rivalry. I love watching it.
JULIUS MASON: Let's get out of sports and go to TV in the television world. This popular TV show originates in your hometown of Pittsburgh what's the name of us.
ROCCO MEDIATE: This Is Us. We watch it all the time. That show is remarkable actually. We watched it Tuesday. It's fantastic.
JULIUS MASON: Okay. What is the name of this 2005 romantic comedy that takes place in Washington, D.C.?
ROCCO MEDIATE: Oh, I know the name. I've seen it 15,000 times. I watch it over and over. My wife goes crazy. I know.
JULIUS MASON: Audience, do you know?
(Audience says Wedding Crashers.)
JULIUS MASON: You get a KitchenAid mixer from Deb before you leave.
ROCCO MEDIATE: "Mom, where's the meat loaf? Mom."
JULIUS MASON: So speaking of movies, Academy Awards, does anyone tell you that you look like a movie star?
ROCCO MEDIATE: No.
JULIUS MASON: No.
ROCCO MEDIATE: No.
JULIUS MASON: What's your favorite movie of all time?
ROCCO MEDIATE: Pulp Fiction.
JULIUS MASON: Do you have a favorite line from the movie?
ROCCO MEDIATE: Can't say it here.
JULIUS MASON: All right.
ROCCO MEDIATE: I did a thing -- let's see if I can remember this, we did a thing in, where the hell were we? I don't know if it was Martha's Vineyard or it was for the Reebok guys and we did it, I don't know 10 or 12 years ago, maybe longer, my cousin and I were there and my cousin Joey, proper name for an Italian cousin. And Sam Jackson. I had gotten to know Sam a little bit and just love him and Pulp Fiction is like the movie I loved back then. So that night we were drinking a little bit probably too much for that night and we were all talking and McCord is all taking and I said, Gary, I want to do something tomorrow morning. And he goes, what do you want to do. I said, just bring me up in front and Sam will sit beside me. And he goes, all right. So I wake up in the morning and go, oh no, what did I promise to do, I'm not doing this, I'm going to choke. Sam's right there. Gary goes, no, no, no, you're coming. So I said, anybody, I go, anybody ever seen Pulp Fiction. Yeah, they go crazy. Here's Sam, he's in the seat going like this (Indicating) I got to deal with this idiot. Okay. Ezekiel 25:17. This is how much I watched this movie. Sam, when I tell you to get in character, just please do this for me. He goes, all right. Let's see what you got. Now I'm choking. The Boston people were there, the players, movie stars, I got to get up. And now I said Ezekiel 25:17. The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who in the name of charity shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I went like that to Sam and he goes, and he goes, I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee. I mean just like he did in the movie. And you will know my name is the lord when I lay my vengeance upon you. The place went insane. He comes up to me and he goes, son, you got too much time on your hands. So I go, but I pulled it off, right? I pulled it off. It was amazing. Any time you put people in front of things they're not used to doing or uncomfortable doing, it's awful. It's an awful feeling. Like Alex would bring me out sometimes to, for a guitar change in between songs at a show, with 25,000 people. And I go out in the dark, I take the guitar, and he grabbed me and I went, that's not where I belong. I want to be a rock star, but I'm not. So, I would trade my job for his any time any day. That's how much I love music. I can't play it, I don't know what to do, I play a mean air guitar, but that's about it.
JULIUS MASON: All right. I think this is kind of where we sort of stop and go to Q&A because this Pulp Fiction thing just did was really, I hope you got that on video.
ROCCO MEDIATE: It was funny. He's like, what the hell is wrong with you.
JULIUS MASON: Ladies and gentlemen, if you do have a question for our defending champion, please raise your hand. Get a microphone. So everybody can hear your question and we'll knock it out. Let us know who you are and where you are and where you're from.
Q. Have you had a chance to play Trump National?
ROCCO MEDIATE: I have not.
Q. Okay. I was going to ask what the best and worst things and hardest parts were, but you haven't played, so.
ROCCO MEDIATE: Well it is our Major, so it's not going to be, it's going to be great but it's not going to be easy. It's not supposed to be. Hopefully it's nasty.
Q. Can you just talk about what's it like to be a Major champion. Six-time winner on the PGA TOUR, but I'm sure it's extra special to have that after your name.
ROCCO MEDIATE: Yeah, it is. Like I said, people look at you differently or a lot of people, a lot more guys talk to me in a different tone since that's happened than they did before. Because it's different. I don't know how to explain it. It's totally different whether it's our TOUR or the PGA TOUR, it's a different ball game. Especially this one. This is the oldest. This is like the most important one for us.
Q. (No Microphone.)
ROCCO MEDIATE: Miguel brings a lot of cigars. I smoke Rocky Patel, so any time I see Miguel, I bring some to him and then he brings me some of the silly good Cuban cigars. And I would say, I didn't come over here to get cigars, but if you're going to give me one, I'll be happy to take it. So I have known Miguel for a lot of years and he's definitely one of my favorite guys and one of our best players by far. But when he puts all his time in here, forget about it. He still can play the other TOUR, too, so I don't know.
Q. So talking about Miguel you have a bunch of new players coming on the Senior Tour. Jose Maria and Angel might come.
ROCCO MEDIATE: No, he needs to stay away. Tell him to stay away. No, it's good. You want that competition to come out. You want those guys to come out and bring even bring the level up more than it is now, because as we get older some of the guys don't play as much or play as well anymore. Still play well, but not as much as they did when they were 51, 50, 55. So I like it when the new guys come out and they're really, really good. Because it ups the ante a little bit. It makes you work harder. But Cabrera can stay home. We don't need him. He's so much fun. How about that guy? I mean, come on. He's fantastic.
Q. At what age did you know that you could be pretty good and put in the work, but what age did you know that if you put in the work you would be great?
ROCCO MEDIATE: I still don't. No, I don't really know. I tried TOUR school when I was 21, because I didn't want to say, I had been playing golf for five or six years at the most, and I tried after college, because I didn't want to feel like 10 years after that, well, I wonder if I would have been able to make it out there. I wanted to know. And somehow I got through and that was the end of that. 33 years ago. So, I don't really know when I -- my first year on TOUR I knew I wasn't going to survive. I knew it when I first got out there. I said I don't understand some of these guys, but if I can figure out a way to get better so next year I can come back and do it again. And that's exactly what I did. I had no business qualifying. I had no, nothing to stand on. That I won a couple of events in college, maybe, like two. I played decent, but I was not even good at all compared to some of these guys. Now days it's different. Back then it was just as good it was just a different qualifying system. Once a year, that's it. And I got through at Greenleaf, which we played college golf on some. So I knew the golf course and it's right in the middle of the field. They took 50 back then. That's the only qualifying you had. And I finished 24th or 25th. And I knew when I walked on the range at Pebble Beach my first event about an hour and a half I walked up-and-down the range and watched everybody, Nicklaus, Watson, Trevino, Lanny, Norman, I watched them all. And I'm walking up-and-down this range and I didn't hit a shot yet, not even one shot did I hit, and I walked up-and-down the range and my caddie I had back then, Al, he caddied for me, I said, Al, I'll be right back, I got to make a phone call. So I went in and called Rick Smith and I went, yeah, I'm at Pebble Beach, beautiful, I have no chance, none. We have to start doing something. It doesn't matter what I do, I'm done. I got to figure out how to get better immediately. And we started to work the middle of that year and I got better and I never had a chance for my card and I knew it. So I wasn't like devastated. I just got ready for the Q-School and finished third and I figured it out then. But still you didn't know. My first Top-10 was in 1990, that was four years after I got on TOUR. Then I started to learn and learn. I learned out there. You can't learn out there anymore. If you're not ready, you're done. These kids are different. College is different now. High school. It's almost like professional. It wasn't when we started. It was just normal. So I learned to play on the TOUR. Thank goodness.
Q. What do you think will be different about playing on the president's golf course?
ROCCO MEDIATE: I have played at, I don't know how many golf courses I played that's in the Trump organization, but a lot of them. And but it's definitely different. I met Mr. Trump -- I met him when he was Mr. Trump -- I met President Trump in 2008. I played a fair amount of golf with him. A fair amount. Mostly in L.A., Palm Beach and Jupiter a few times. Palm Beach mostly. But it's, he's, it's different now. Because he's President. It's a whole different ball game and I got to see him a few weeks ago and he's not different, but what he has to do is different. He can't just go out and say -- he can't just go outside anymore, he just can't. So it's definitely different. But playing at one of the President's golf courses is cool. He called me, I forgot to tell this story, so I'm on, I shoot the low score the first day at last year's tournament, and I'm up there on the range the next day, I think I played late the next day. I played late on Friday. So I'm on the range at like 11, 10, 11 o'clock. I don't know what time. And my wife calls on the phone, so I get my phone on for about a half hour before I play, in case something's going on. So I actually get a text. Answer your phone, Mr. Trump is calling you. Just to give me a heads up. Because sometimes I don't even look. I have music playing anyway, so. He goes, hey just called, just want to say how proud we are of you yesterday, and no matter what happens we love you. I have to go talk to 35,000 in San Jose, see you later. Boom. End of conversation. I mean think about how cool that was. He didn't have to ways his time calling me. Three seconds before he went on stage. So, that's, he's my friend. It's cool to say he's my friend and I'm lucky to say that. I love him. We have a blast. And obviously it runs in the family. I just said to Eric, I said, funny how you guys can all talk. It's pretty amazing. So, I've been very fortunate. A lot of fun. Lots of fun. And I've been wearing the colors since 2010. So I'm not one of the bandwagon guys that just jumped object I've been with him since 2010. Because I like his stuff and I like him. Simple as that.
Q. Who are your least favorite or who is your least favorite player on the TOUR?
ROCCO MEDIATE: I can't say that. Now come on.
That's just mean. I actually couldn't say it because I would get in trouble.
Q. This is probably the complete opposite of that. You talked earlier on the eve of a Major you had fellow professionals kind of giving you tips on what they see in your swing. How frequent is that? I see you do it for other guys as well.
ROCCO MEDIATE: Try to.
Q. But want to beat each other's brains in, but you're helping each other out.
ROCCO MEDIATE: That's just the way it is. You look at your friend and say something, if he asks you a question, usually you don't say anything unless you're asked. Unless it's just so bad you can't stand it. Which has happened a lot to me too and a lot to other people. But that's just the way it is. Just because it helps doesn't mean it's going to make -- you know what I mean, I don't know how to explain it. But that happens a lot to a lot of people, I would think. But like I said with J.D. said to me last year, it made a huge difference. Because I was, like I said, I was putting decent, but now I went, oh, wait a second, that feels totally better. The speed got better, line got better and the putts fell for me. So, it definitely made a difference. It's happened to me twice in my career that I won well this -- Scott Piercy in 2010 we were playing in Mississippi and we played we both hit it good, he shot a good score, I shot 70 or 1 or 2-under. His hit all the greens and missed every putt and he said to me do you mind if I help you with your putting. And I went, Jesus, thank you. Please. Give me something. I got nothing. We went over to the green for like an hour. Got the chalk line. Showed me a few things. And he goes, get on the line and figure this out. And I won two weeks later at Frys. So just like that it happens. But he didn't have to do that. He could have went, well that's great, keep missing them. But he said, no, I can't take this anymore. So that's cool. A lot of us do that. It's what Mr. Palmer said, it's a brotherhood, it's a fraternity. It's like you may not like somebody, but you respect them. Right? You may not like the President of the United States, whoever is President, but you respect the office. Arnold taught me that all the time. Whether Arnold loved all the Presidents he played with, we don't know, you about he respected the hell out of them. So you look at it that way whether you like them or not you still respect what they do. Especially like we have people that we love on the TOUR and we have many some guys that don't like me and I don't like them or whatever. But we still, it's a respect thing. You never treat them funny when you play with them.
Q. What's your favorite golf course to play?
ROCCO MEDIATE: Tournament-wise, over the years, my favorite tournament course on the PGA TOUR was Riviera. It still is my favorite tournament course I've ever played. I'm a big George Thomas fan. But on the PGA TOUR all those years, 28 years I think it was, Riviera is my definitely my favorite. Definitely.
Q. You mentioned you have three older sons or three sons. Are you steering them into the career of golf?
ROCCO MEDIATE: Oh, heck no. Too hard. No. One doesn't play at all. Nico and Marco, my two younger ones, 23, 24, and 21, they play a little bit and they're pretty good at it. Good athletes. Rocco just never liked it. We found out back when he was a kid and the reason he didn't like it, we would send him out to play soccer or baseball and he's like, dad, I can't do this. I can't do it. He said, I don't like to do this. All right. Find out he's got a valve thing in his heart and that problem and we found out when he was young, so easily fixed no problem. Now he's perfect. But there's a reason why he didn't want to play, but the other two do. Nico is going to start playing more. He's in Seattle, so there's not much time to play there because it rains most of the time, but not really, they don't want to do it. I take them out, dad it's too hot, dad what are you doing. Just one more guys, just one more. They kid me about that. So that's like four hours later. I tried to show them, but they don't want to do it.
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