home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


June 16, 2005

Rocco Mediate


RAND JERRIS: We're now joined by Rocco Mediate with an opening round of 3 under par 67. Maybe you could start us off with some general comments about how you were feeling when you came out to the golf course this morning.

ROCCO MEDIATE: I felt good right away. I love the golf course and I love the USGA setups. I was coming in hoping to see a little better play, putting and stuff. I was looking forward to it, looking very forward to it.

RAND JERRIS: Can we go through the birdies and bogeys on your card first, please.

ROCCO MEDIATE: I birdied 4. Do you want me to tell you how I did it?


ROCCO MEDIATE: Hit a good drive and a 3 wood just short and pitched up about four feet and made it just behind the hole.

I eagled 10. I think I vaguely remember that (laughter). I hit a real good drive and a 3 wood I didn't think I could really reach. It was real firm up front and it just carried. I walked up there and it was right in the middle of the green, 15 feet right of the hole, pin high. I'm trying to lag and make a 4, and it went right in the center.

On 14 I made bogey. I wasn't trying hit a good drive there, only had 152 yards, just trying to chip a little 9 iron in the middle of the green, let it release, 20, 25 feet short and I hit it thin and it flew and it went down the hill and it was awful. I had a nice shot up and made 5, made a real good par.

Then birdied 16 with a 6 iron. I was about 180 and I hit it about seven, eight feet behind the hole, ten feet behind the hole and made it.

Q. Not everyone who comes in here says that they like USGA setups. What is it

ROCCO MEDIATE: Well, they shouldn't come and play then (laughter).

Q. What do you like about it?

ROCCO MEDIATE: I just like it because it's the ultimate examination of your game. You don't necessarily have to win the golf tournament, but if you have a great tournament or something, it's examining what you're doing well and what you're not doing well. It'll tell you immediately. There's no maybes. It gives you what's happening with what you're trying to do. I've always liked the way they've set them up, always.

Q. When did you switch to the standard or regular length putter? How long had you been using the long one, and does this one feel a little more natural to you?

ROCCO MEDIATE: I switched a couple weeks ago (laughing). I kind of threw it in the fire quick here. I've used a long putter since 1991, so it's a long time. My back is good enough now. I wanted to get two hands on it again. It's working well, worked very well for me today, maybe one of the best putting rounds I ever had today.

Q. Did the long one ever feel natural?

ROCCO MEDIATE: Oh, it felt like part of me, absolutely. It just lost its luster to me. It may come back some day. I said it will never come back five years ago and I used a short putter for a week, so I'm not going to say that anymore.

Q. We had Pebble Beach host a tournament and then host the Open and then Riviera host a tournament and then host the Open. How would you feel about having Sawgrass host a U.S. Open?

ROCCO MEDIATE: I can't imagine how hard it would be with the firm conditions there. I don't think there's enough room. I don't know if the USGA can do what they want there. I mean, I don't know. There's so much slope in some of those fairways, it would be hard to keep them in there. I doubt if that will ever happen.

Q. The saves at 7, 8 and I think 11, how did they mentally keep your round going, and second part, a little bit different, have you kind of felt a round like this coming or sensed it might be close?

ROCCO MEDIATE: Those saves, I pitched it up about four feet on 7 and four feet on 8, those absolutely keep the round going. The one at 11 was huge, too.

You're not going to go around here I don't know if it's possible, and hit every fairway and every green. You've got to realize you're going to miss a few, but can I miss them in the right spot. If you miss a fairway, you've got to take it and pitch it out and have a number you can handle, otherwise you compound the problem and make a 6 real fast here. That's the beauty of it. Everyone is going to hit it in the rough some and miss some greens. You just have to handle it better than the other guys.

What was the second part?

Q. Did you see it coming?

ROCCO MEDIATE: Yeah, I felt it, ever since Jimmy Ballard and I started working and fixed my back, basically fixed the back. The guy is brilliant. He taught me to swing with this thing and got the pressure off it, and it's been coming. It takes time.

I changed the whole feel of my entire golf swing over the last six months. It's been a struggle, but I think I'm right on schedule. I keep telling everybody I'm right on schedule. Did I expect 67? I don't know. I expected to play well, but I don't know if I expected to shoot that low of a score, I don't know, but I knew it was in there. The beauty of it is you've got to keep doing it there's 54 holes left for me. It's so hard out there, it's so good, you can't screw it up. You've just got to play really good.

Q. How long did you have with the second shot on 10, and is the back problem kind of healing up a little bit, enabling you to drive the ball that much longer to have a chance at holes like this?

ROCCO MEDIATE: Yeah, it was 260 something to the front, but yeah, the back is doing great. I've done a lot of work on it, a lot. You know, I had to do it again last year, and I went and saw Jimmy. I had to do everything and get back in good shape because I was so hurt last year, I couldn't do anything. I thought about do I want to do it again, because it's really hard. This is the sixth time I've done this in 12 years. I thought, "Well, what the hell else am I going to do?" So I gave it another shot. It's true.

I still don't have anything else I want to do. So I'll keep trying to get back into playing shape, and with Jimmy helping me so much, we'll see how it works. It's been coming. It took its time.

Don't get me wrong, it's been frustrating, too. To have to work under the gun today for me it was under the gun. It's only Thursday, but I kept hitting good shot after good shot, a couple bad ones, but that's being a human being. It's going to happen. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens tomorrow. I want to keep hitting in the general vicinity of where I'm looking and I'll be happy.

Q. With the weather today a little cooler, maybe the wind up a little bit, did that change the course for you from practice rounds to today?

ROCCO MEDIATE: A little bit. I only played one practice round. I played on Tuesday. The golf course really is right in front of you. There's a couple drives you've got to know where to hit it. But it was a little bit different but not much. We react to it anyway. It doesn't really matter what you've done in the practice rounds, unless you've never seen it before, but I've played it a few times.

Q. You talked about the USGA setup. In any way do you think the way they set up the course, the toughness of it, is a great equalizer in any way?

ROCCO MEDIATE: I don't know. It's hard to say. You have to one thing about USGA events that I love is you must drive the golf ball. There's no other golf unless you drive the golf ball. You don't get to play unless you drive the golf ball. If you drive it bad all day, you have no chance. You have to drive the ball well in all of their events, and that sets up the most difficult greens, second shots in the world are right here. I've never seen anything harder. If you're not in the fairway the game is over unless you minimize your mistakes. If you make a few bogeys, hopefully you can make a few birdies to offset them. You have to drive the fairways. If you don't, you have to chip it out.

Q. How radical a swing change did you make, and in layman's terms, what did Jimmy have you do?

ROCCO MEDIATE: He had me standing a lot taller, a little wider stance, just real quick. I always used to move back behind the ball before anyway, so there wasn't a whole lot there, but he got me moving the whole spine back instead of the tilt I used to have, and that's put pressure on it the last five or six years. I had some of my best years in '99 to 2003, I think, or 2002, but he got me using my body again because my body was gone after the end of last year. It's just a matter of moving it, in layman's terms. The other stuff is boring.

Q. What putter are you using for a putter?

ROCCO MEDIATE: I'm using a Bettinardi.

Q. Most of the guys are not hitting 16 in two. How good a shot was that for you, and talk about the last three holes here.

ROCCO MEDIATE: Well, once I got past I made a really good par on 15, hit it just on the front, a little bit back down. It was in a really bad spot and I hit the first putt 12 feet left and made it, so it gave me a little bit more steam in my step going to 16 because it's so hard. It's a dogleg left, which I love, and I hit a good hard drive and hit a 6 iron just about eight feet above the hole, worked it back up into the wind a little bit and it turned out perfect. To make the putt was great. It was a downhill slicer.

Q. The last two holes?

ROCCO MEDIATE: And then 17, I hit it just past the hole about ten feet, and I left it short, which I didn't think was possible because it was straight downhill.

18, I hit a good driver and a 7 iron right in the middle of the green, two putt.

The last three holes, the whole golf course is just hard. The last three are especially hard.

Q. I was just wondering how aware were you of what Olin Browne did at sectional qualifying, and are you surprised to see him up on the leaderboard here with you guys today?

ROCCO MEDIATE: No, Olin has got boatloads of game. I was at the same qualifier he was at, at Woodmont. He started to playing a lot better, too. He's a straight driver. That's why he's a good iron he's just a good player. Am I surprised? No, I'm not.

Q. You had birdie putts on 13 and 17. Were you being real careful with those or ?

ROCCO MEDIATE: No, 13 I just hit it a little too hard. 17, I thought I hit it just right and it ended up a couple a couple inches short, but it was straight downhill, too. I thought I made it when I hit it. You can't mess with that one. But I really thought I gave it enough.

The one on 13, I just hit it too hard.

Q. Sectional rounds and today, are those the best golf you've played in how long? And outside you just mentioned that you still had a problem with your back. When were you free to go at it the way you wanted to?

ROCCO MEDIATE: A couple weeks ago, just before the Booz Allen, actually the qualifier before Booz Allen. I played 36 holes and nothing was wrong. I mean, I wasn't tired. I'm very fit, but sometimes the back doesn't let nothing, I haven't had a twinge.

I played two really good rounds at Booz Allen the first two days, had a crappy weekend, but I really think I was just beat, just worn out. I guess that's an excuse, but I've got to use it because I really was. I took a rest on Monday and played Tuesday and rested yesterday and I feel fine. That's when I started to feel it, about two weeks ago, really come back.

Q. You said last year your body was gone. Just kind of elaborate on kind of where you were. You had really good rounds in '99 and 2003 but the last couple of years, what they've been.

ROCCO MEDIATE: I really don't know what happened, I really don't. After the end of 2003, I guess yeah, after the end of 2003, to make a long story short, something happened in March of that year to the back again that I can't put a finger on what happened. It never stopped until a couple about a month or so ago, never stopped. Like I said, I got myself back in shape again because I'm sitting around for a year and I didn't get in shape. I love to eat, that's just how it is.

So I fixed that now. I don't know what happened. But all of a sudden I started to feel better and better and better and now it's real good again and hopefully it'll stay that way.

Q. Just to follow up, how much weight have you lost, and is it easier or harder the sixth time around?

ROCCO MEDIATE: When I first started after the back surgery, I lost about 50 or 60 pounds in those five years ago, and last year I put on maybe ten, but I could feel it. It's not like I was heavy but I didn't like it. I was sitting around and I probably lost another 20 or 25 just because I wanted to get as good as I could get and see what happened. Now that I was able to work out and move again, I could do whatever I wanted. That's how it's changed. This brings it out. You'll know how strong you are around this place. Thanks goodness it's real flat.

Q. How much work do you have to do physically on the back during this week?


Q. Nothing at all?


Q. You mentioned before coming in about falling down in your home. Can you tell us that story, what exactly happened?

ROCCO MEDIATE: Well, it just locked up and I got stuck I have a trophy case in the old house, we don't live there anymore, but to take the pressure off, I kind of placed myself on the thing and no one was home for three hours. I was stuck, couldn't move. Then I remember having to crawl up the stairs to bed, one of those deals. I remember that like it was yesterday.

Q. When did that happen?

ROCCO MEDIATE: That happened in that March. That was a year ago March. I mean, stuff like that, you always remember and it makes you to be doing what I'm doing the last couple weeks, and today especially, I'm ecstatic, couldn't be happier.

Q. You've always been really upbeat with us, but in the darkest hours, the ups and the downs and the ups and the downs, did you get pretty down?

ROCCO MEDIATE: I have, absolutely. If I said no, I'd be lying to you. I've never lost faith, though. Every once in a while I would think, "What am I going to do if this thick doesn't work?" I don't want to do anything else. I have no backup plans, never did have a backup plan. That made my mom kind of angry. "What are you going to do if you never make it?" "I don't want to hear anything about it." It was a very legitimate question she asked.

I'm just going to keep going until I can't go anymore. I still have some golf left, I know I do. Hopefully it's this week, if not maybe it's next week. I love this kind of golf, and I really hope I keep hitting my ball like I am, and I might have a shot at it come the weekend. You never know. It would be nice to have a shot, though. That's when you can really tell if things you're working on work.

Today was nice, but Sunday in the last group, the last nine holes, then you get to know how good you really are, I think. I never had that feeling well, close at Southern Hills, but I never had that feeling.

RAND JERRIS: Rocco, thanks for your time today.

End of FastScripts.

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297