July 30, 2003
GRAND BLANC, MICHIGAN
TODD BUDNICK: You started the year with two Top 10s up through AT&T and have struggled a little bit. Seems you've been spending a lot more time at home.
ROCCO MEDIATE: A lot more time at home. Slight little injuries here and there, just keeps you away a little bit. Once I'm with them, I don't want to really leave. We just have a lot of fun.
TODD BUDNICK: How hard is that for a player? You want to be with your family, but you have a career, as well.
ROCCO MEDIATE: But I've been doing it 18 years, and my thought now is, if I want to take some time off, I will. They are at the ages where, I hate the people that say, "Well, they are young, they don't need you now." That's complete bullshit. They need you more now than they ever did, because you can turn them into something hopefully good at these age.
And my wife does a phenomenal job, and I like to be around for all of the things. I haven't missed a lot of things. I catch as much as I can, but I miss some things that I don't like to miss. It's not worth it. And if I can't get myself back in to playing good again after taking some time off, then that's just how it is.
Q. With the number of tournaments won by guys over 40 this year, Kenny Perry said inaudible the young guys cannot outdrive the old guys because of the equipment, what is it?
ROCCO MEDIATE: I definitely don't agree with that. The longest hitters always hit it longer than everyone else and Kenny has always been a long hitter. No matter what equipment I use and he uses, he will outdrive me, just like Tiger and Davis and all of the big guns. So guys that swing the club at 110 miles an hour like I do will never hit the ball as far as these guys, nor should they. Shouldn't be allowed to.
I wouldn't agree he has always been long, always been long, one of the Top 10 or 15 guys out here. So he is always going to hit it longer, no matter what equipment he uses.
Q. To what do you attribute the success of the older guys? Granted some of them are good players like Kenny and Vijay who are winning these tournaments, but any reason?
ROCCO MEDIATE: Because we're good. We know how to play. We've been around. The young kids, if you have more experience, you're probably going to beat them. That's just how it is. Especially I think that's why these guys are doing so good.
I remember I was sitting and I just told this story a second ago on the putting green, about a time a the Tyler Club (ph) in Pennsylvania where I play when I'm home, one of assistants, Jake, had a couple shot lead with 9 to go and he said, "do you think he still has it," and I said: "You never forget." If you've done it, before why can't do you it again? I just told him that, and he said he was very calm on the back nine. I didn't see the end because I went back out and played. Experience, doesn't matter how old you are to use it; look at Watson, Of course he's ahead of everybody else. Because we are older doesn't mean we don't know how to win and we can't do that. That's happening this year.
Q. Could you explain to me the difference Kenny Perry earlier said there's no line between playing well and not playing well, and trying to explain to me when you see a player of David Duval's caliber really struggle with his game?
ROCCO MEDIATE: My thought on the whole thing and I haven't talked to David about it at all. On your way to the top, you have to have there has to be reasons why you're reaching the top. You have to know why you have to know why it's happening. If you don't know why it's happening, and you start falling down, what do you have to go back to? Nothing. You know, maybe David didn't know what maybe he didn't have a swing key. You ask a lot of guys why they are playing good, "Well, I'm just swinging well." That's nice, but what happens when that stuff goes away? Because it will; you can't do it forever or every day. It's not going to happen.
So I think that that went away and that he just stopped making putts. There is a fine line, but the only line you can draw between playing great and not playing great is putting. There's no other line involved.
ROCCO MEDIATE: I was always one to never take how good I dud or how I play or where I'm ranked or all that other crap for granted. I know why I got there and I know if I don't to those things, I won't stay there anymore. Just like I know how my ranking has dropped, but it should; I haven't played much. I haven't played great. But with my world ranking with my kids has gone through the roof. That's the most important ranking I want. House ranking, I should say.
David is a scary thing. I don't think he's done by any means. A lot of people say he's finished. I completely disagree with that. I think he will be back. He just has to figure out why it went away and how he can get back to it, and only he can do that. No teacher is going to do that, nobody.
Q. How old are your kids?
ROCCO MEDIATE: 12, 10 and 7. They just had their first golf school yesterday. They come with me a lot, but I still want them to be taught by somebody other than me. Because A, I don't know if I can do a good enough job, you know what I mean. I can tell them how to hold and stuff and they had a ball. My oldest, Rocco, is not really into it. He's into karate and big time computer stuff, very smart, don't where it came from, had to be my wife. And the younger two love it. They are going to start playing probably pretty soon, but they have been hitting balls for a couple of years with me and they are starting to learn. I took them on the course yesterday and explained about the etiquette of the game and stuff like that. I talked to them about it. When someone else gets it, I think they listen more, unfortunately.
Q. Are they using the long putter?
ROCCO MEDIATE: Actually, Niki (ph), my middle boy, will try one that's like 36 inches but he's still fine on regular.
Q. Now that you are a home body more, what sort of goals do you have? Obviously, they have got to be reassessed, I would think a little bit, in terms of you want to win every time you play, but beyond that?
ROCCO MEDIATE: Yeah, I still think that I can play up to 50 or whatever I want to. I'm in good enough shape and I'm feeling better.
But this year was a year where I felt more that the kids needed me more. Not that they didn't, but I just felt different this year. It's like I could sense this it, that I'm like, you know, maybe I ought to not go away for two weeks. So I went the other way.
Q. Do you think by playing less maybe that will make you better down the road?
ROCCO MEDIATE: It could. It could. I've been out here for 18 years pretty much, straight, and sometimes, I'm sure everybody knows in your job, you know, "I'm kind of tired, I don't know if I want to go travel over there. Maybe I don't want to do this for a couple of months." You get a lot of grief, but I don't see the problem. We're able to do it because we have the best deal in the world here, I think. I love what I do. I still love to play. I still love to travel and do all that. But sometimes it's like, enough is enough for a while, I'm backing down and that's what I did for a couple of months. I'm planning on playing I'm going to play a lot at the end of the year and they start school, when they start school, I am okay because they are busy, busy, busy. They notice you're gone, but it's not as bad.
But during the summer when they are home with their friends, they miss you all day. It drives you completely nuts. Especially my youngest, he goes nuts.
Q. Were you back you back to the conventional putter?
ROCCO MEDIATE: I was for a couple months.
Q. Now are you back to the long one?
ROCCO MEDIATE: Yeah, I just don't feel comfortable with the shorty.
Q. How goal oriented are you now in terms of being close in majors, and how focused are you on that when you go to Oak Hill or next year?
ROCCO MEDIATE: I think I'm a realist when it comes to predicting how I'll play. The years I played good in the majors, I knew I was going to play good. Whether I was going to win or not, I didn't know. I had one good chance, the Open, but nothing else other than that.
Yeah, I think I still have one somewhere. I'm only 40. I lost two or three years playing with my back, so I think I've got those coming. If I can pile that on top of what I keep seeing out here with Peter and everyone else doing so well, staying as good of shape I can, I should be able to compete as long as I want.
But I still think I have some. I know I have more wins, but now I'm going to kick it in a little bit at the end of the year and see if I can play a little better. You take all that time off; you come back out, it's not that easy. These guys, as we say, are really, really good, and you can't play 40, 45, 50 percent, you're going to get snowed, which you should. If I get on a four out of five week run, I should be able to maybe pick it up a little bit and get back to where I was before. Just a matter of getting used what you're doing. I'm used to hanging out with the kids and taking them to the golf course and laughing a lot. And coming out here, it's a different ballgame.
ROCCO MEDIATE: A lot of guys have asked me that lately. I guarantee you, 50/50 or better.
Q. What impact does it have on your back or what impact would it have if you didn't wear them?
ROCCO MEDIATE: It would have a bad impact, because one slip, it would be all over. I practice with them at home and I hate them. I'm better off barefoot it probably would not be good out here to do that though I thinks it's just 50/50, most people.
Q. You play some of your best golf there?
ROCCO MEDIATE: I practice like that all the time. Great for balance.
All of my friends are going: What are you doing, your word ranking has dropped. Oh, my God, the world is going to end. Doesn't mean I can't get that back. I haven't played but a couple times in two or three months; I shouldn't be up there. If you don't play, you should not get better. That's how it used to be. Guys would be 20th and leave for two months and be 14th when they came back; how did you do that.
So I haven't played, so I've gone from 20 something to 35th or something, I don't even know where it is, and that's how it should go. If I play good the next couple weeks and play good at the World Series, it will go back up; or the PGA, it will go back up. That's the beauty of our sport; you only get what you put in.
Q. You said you get grief about not playing as much, is it from fellow pros, friends?
ROCCO MEDIATE: Just friend and family, not like my wife or kids family, but mom and dad or whatever. I'm like, you know, I want to be with my children right now, and if I have to sacrifice, for me, fine. But I don't want them to have to miss out on something this like I said, I would rather suffer than them.
Q. You coming back here to a course where you've won fairly recently, how does that
ROCCO MEDIATE: I love it here, I really do. It's a little bit wet. I guess we got a lot of rain this summer, but the golf course is one of my favorites. It's a shame we don't play more like it. It's just pretty much right in front of you. It's great.
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