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October 3, 2003

Rocco Mediate


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Rocco, long day out there today, but you're in good position, obviously behind Tiger, but good position as far as regards to the rest of the field. Talk about how difficult it was out there today.

ROCCO MEDIATE: It was hard. When Tiger got to 7-under through 9, I was 1-under and I chipped it in, and I looked up on the leaderboard, and I said he did it, so can I. I can do this. I can try to get back in there. Here I make four in a row, came right back to where I wanted to go.

It's like I said, he pushes you, pushes you, pushes you. Front nine I hit a couple of marginal shots and I was toast, which is the way it is here. I enjoy this type of golf. Just a couple of marginal drives and it was over. You can't play.

Then I got it back going good, and then the shot that killed me for the day was on 15. I hit one of my highest, softies 4-irons I've hit in a long time 4 yards short of the flag and I had 50 feet coming back. I had about a four-footer. I drove it a little bit left on 18, dead. I hit a good shot out, short, way down, I hit it 20 feet. I almost made that one. But it happens here.

If this was a normal golf course I would be fairly disappointed. I'm not really that disappointed. I didn't really play that badly. I had my chances.

Q. You didn't have anything routine through the first 12 holes.

ROCCO MEDIATE: No, it was unbelievable.

Q. The first two-putt par you had was 13 but you had to make an eight-footer on the second putt. Can this course do that to you?

ROCCO MEDIATE: Absolutely. Even from the middle of the fairways you're just wondering what's going to happen when that ball hits the ground. You just don't know. It's a really neat way -- I like this type of golf, like I said. I'm not going to complain about it at all because it's fair for everybody, I guess. There's some pin placements out there you just can't -- you have no chance.

Q. Talk about the chip-in, what kind of lie you had.

ROCCO MEDIATE: I was just on the front edge of the green, 40, 50 feet from the hole. That's another one you're thinking what in the heck club can I use so it doesn't go back on the other side of the green. I pitched a little 9 and it fell right in. It stopped the bleeding as Pete said, and then all of a sudden I hit it close, three feet on 10, four feet on 11, got up-and-down out of the bunker on 12 from two feet and almost birdied 13, but I ran it by eight feet. That was one of the fastest putts I've ever seen. That's the way it goes out there.

Q. You mentioned yesterday coming back to the Phoenix thing with Tiger, looks like we're headed in that direction.

ROCCO MEDIATE: Well, I don't know how they -- I putted out first.

Q. Are they going three-somes tomorrow?

ROCCO MEDIATE: Yes. I'm sitting there with that nasty lie on 18. I looked up and I said if I can get this up-and-down I'm definitely playing with him, and I couldn't get enough club on it and I left it 15, 18 feet short. I wanted to play with him. I don't think I am, though, I really don't. I think they did something different. I did putt out first and hole on first on 18, so I don't know what that means.

Q. Be that as it may, you're always going to have -- whenever you're in a situation on the weekend where even if you're not in the same group, you're so close to Tiger, are you always going to fall back on what you did in Phoenix?

ROCCO MEDIATE: Yeah, it's just a matter of can you produce on this golf course. That's a little different than Phoenix was. This is just you either hit it in the fairway or you're completely -- it's a guessing, luck, whatever you want to call it. There's no other way to play this course. I hit it in the rough a bunch of times. I'm not used to that. I only hit two bad -- one really bad drive today. The other ones were marginal, close, they just went three feet left or three feet right and it was over.

Q. We all know about Tiger's record as a front runner and he talks about it like it's the easiest thing in the world to do. You've got shots to play with. Why do you think it's so hard for most guys to play with the lead because obviously guys don't --

ROCCO MEDIATE: They've never done it like him. No one has ever done it like him. I think my opinion is he trusts himself so much, trusts his ability so much more than everyone else, that's why he can do it. Like I said, I don't know Tiger that well, but if I was him that's what I would do because he knows he's got the shots, and he also knows that a couple marginal shots he's making bogeys. I don't care who you are. You just can't survive. Tiger is definitely not saying this thing is over. He knows he's got a lot of work to do and so do all of us, but it's hard to make up ground here, but it's easy to lose it. For all of us, it's a couple of bad shots and it's over. It's such a long-ass day out there, over five hours. The golf course just beats the crap out of you for five straight hours, just trying to get in.

Q. How much of an advantage does Tiger have on this course because of his length?

ROCCO MEDIATE: Well, it depends on how straight his length is the next two days because I don't care what club you have. It's hard to stop the ball on the green. The pins aren't going to get any easier and I don't think it's going to get any softer. I hope it doesn't. I hope it stays like this for two more days so we can see what happens.

If he goes out and does something crazy like he's capable of doing, it's going to be kind of a joke on Sunday. If he shoots 4- or 5-under tomorrow, which could happen. It could be hard to -- it's hard to make up that much ground, but if someone goes and shoots 4- or 5-under, three or 4-under, he shoots even, then it's going to be a closer match.

Q. 67-66 is getting pretty crazy already relative to the scoring average.

ROCCO MEDIATE: Yeah, 66 today was silly. That's a hell of a score. I'm sure he probably said that's one of his best rounds on a course like this.

Q. What's your approach tomorrow because of the course?

ROCCO MEDIATE: I just want to keep my ball in the fairway. I missed a couple fairways today. I just didn't do it. I was close, but that doesn't count. That's why I shot -- I was fortunate to shoot 2-over.

Q. People out there said there probably was four shots inside of six feet you would love to have back.

ROCCO MEDIATE: Yeah, the birdie putts I made were close ones, but I did miss three or four par putts today that I could have made. I could have made a couple of them. One on 14 or 15, I don't know what I did, but I missed it. Such a pretty shot, too. I hate when that happens.

Q. Did it affect you today how long the round was?

ROCCO MEDIATE: Probably. I like to go. I like to get it out. I just like to go fast. I'm not making excuses, we all had to play this slow. I'm sure it didn't help me, but I'm sure anybody would say the same thing. It just took a long time to play.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Let's go through your round. You started off with birdie on 1.

ROCCO MEDIATE: Hit a good drive and a 7-iron about eight feet, ten feet.

Bogey on 2, drove it a yard in the right rough, dead. Almost made a good par putt.

4 I drove it a couple yards in the right rough again and I laid up in the rough, and I laid up in the fairway. I missed about an eight-footer for par there.

Then I three-putted 6 from about 20 feet above the hole.

Hit it in the bunker on 7, didn't get up-and-down.

8, I hit it in the left rough about a yard. Just hit an 8-iron, went down over the green, down the hill and into the crap over there. I actually made a good 5. I chipped it in from just in front of the green, a yard short of the front of the green.

10, I hit a 9-iron about three feet.

11, I hit a 9-iron about four feet.

12, I hit it in the front bunker, hit it out about two feet.

5, hit my best 4-iron I can hit, made 4, three-putt.

17, good save, front right bunker, and I had a nasty -- I hit a pretty good shot?

Q. What was that, three feet past?

ROCCO MEDIATE: Three feet. I had to take a chance on leaving it in there because I wasn't going to hit it 20 feet. I just hit it on the fringe. I thought it was going to go but it kicked left and it just missed.

18, I drove it in the left rough, overdrew it a little bit. Like I said, I hit a nice shot up there, but just like a bird's nest, it was hard to get it close, and I didn't.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Rocco, thank you.

End of FastScripts.

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