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April 28, 2002

Rocco Mediate


JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Congratulations, Rocco. I'm sure you're happy to be back in the winner's circle.


Q. And I'm sure your happy -- I know Calc got you at the Phoenix Open?


Q. And I'm glad you're glad to get one back?

ROCCO MEDIATE: Yeah, it was. Not many people can say they got beat by the lowest score in history. I did. I think that's always fun to say, because that's what happened at Phoenix last year. Today was not a revenge thing. I knew I would have my hands full and if I made a lot of mistakes I was going to lose. It's that simple. The mistakes I made I recovered from and I stayed alive. He made a few mistakes and here we are, in a nutshell.

Q. Number 5, what kind of turning point was that?

ROCCO MEDIATE: Well, it was pretty big, because -- I hit a good looking shot on 4. Who knows what the wind does, and it came up short and I had a crappy shit and missed the putt. I thought I had a pretty good shot off the tee box and Calc's ball went through the fairway. Mine hung up and didn't go anywhere. The wind turned around. It was a big turning point because I knew he was in trouble over there. I knew if he made four it would be phenomenal. But I had a pretty open shot and hit a little cut 8-iron around the tree and made a 12-footer and it was just a different ball of wax then. I birdied the next hole. And then he started making mistakes and I kept trying to get lower and I didn't hit any good putts then. I left a couple of putts short and misread a few. I made it a little tougher on myself, because if I had converted 8 and 9, it would have been a whole lot easier. The one I made on 10 was a monster. That was the one. I was so mad walking up there after hitting whatever you want to call the second shot up to the right. I said I'm not leaving this green without four and somehow I made it.

Q. How long was that putt?

ROCCO MEDIATE: A good 20 feet, I bet, 25 feet, something like that. It was a long putt.

Q. Talking about the win.

ROCCO MEDIATE: It just took everything. Yesterday I was in a rhythm and my swing felt like half decent. Today I had nothing. I mean, I don't think I was the only one. But I just felt bad out there today, not nervous, I just didn't feel I could putt the ball where I wanted to because I didn't know what the hell the wind was going to do. I just started to trust it. I drove it good today. I drove it in a lot of fairways. And that's what kept me alive.

Q. How do you feel about your week overall?

ROCCO MEDIATE: I feel good. We had perfect weather and really bad weather, as far as wind. And wind here, with this rough, makes it just miserable, as you probably watched today. It wasn't pretty. What was the low score today.

Q. 66.

ROCCO MEDIATE: Was that earlier or just late?

Q. Jonathan Byrd?

ROCCO MEDIATE: That's awesome. That's still late, though. That's phenomenal. It's surprising. Anyway, the week was -- I can't complain, obviously. It was as good as -- trust me, the way I played last week, I was just hoping to make the cut here and get some work on my swing, and yet here I am.

Q. You've got more money right now than you had all last year.

ROCCO MEDIATE: I didn't even think about that, but that's amazing.

Q. It's not even May yet.

ROCCO MEDIATE: I know. That's good. I would like to get in the Tour Championship once or twice. I've only been in it twice, or three times maybe. It would be nice to go back. Yeah, it just goes to show you you never know. That's what I told everybody after the first two good rounds, if I shoot a couple more 67s, who knows. I had a chance to today, but today it was just survival.

Q. What's the best thing about winning?

ROCCO MEDIATE: It's definitely knowing I still can. It puts me up to five, which is five more than I thought I would win. That's true. What it does for me is like what Justin said last week about kind of winning ugly, getting the job done. Not that I've always played perfect when I've had a chance to win, but this was ugly. I just kept going forward and going forward, and that's what's most satisfying to me. I could have very easily shot 74 or 75, and been second or third or whatever it would have been. I just didn't want to do that. I wanted to give my best effort against one of the best players and see what I come up with.

Q. Do you think eight or nine years ago you could have won?

ROCCO MEDIATE: Definitely not.

Q. Why not?

ROCCO MEDIATE: Because I didn't have the calmness. I didn't have the knowledge. I just kept telling myself, stay in the moment and just do your thing, don't think about the trophy presentation, don't think about what you're going to think about, just think about the shot you're hitting now. But I stayed in the moment very well today. Even coming up 18 with a three-shot lead. I'm like, I'm not even going to smile. I'm not ready yet. Because something weird can happen. He hits that awesome sand wedge over the bunker to 15 feet and I'm like, I have to make sure I keep it in front of me. The worse I can make is 5, and I can't lose. Until he missed his putt, I knew it was over, but I didn't even crack a small because I don't want to get caught up in that, because I don't want to be standing out here saying, How did I lose? I should have won. What happened. So I wasn't going to let that.

Q. Is there something about five wins?

ROCCO MEDIATE: I don't know. It's more than four. Five is just cool, and winning it twice on this course is really cool because this is a hard golf course. It's not easy. You have to play good here and today I kind of bucked the odds. I think a lot of us did today and didn't play good, but shot a decent score. And that's good. It's just neat. It's five times I've won, and it's still hard to believe sometimes.

Q. Why didn't you think you would ever win that much?

ROCCO MEDIATE: Because I wasn't that good. I didn't have a pedigree. I didn't have -- what do you want to call it? I just wasn't that good. I didn't start until I was 15. When I went to school, everybody said, Are you crazy? You're never going to make it down there. I got through it and got better. The only reason I tried Tour School was because I had been playing golf for five years. I figured at least I'll give it a shot. So in 10 years, I won't have to say, boy I wonder if I would have made it. But I wanted to try, and here I go make it the first time, and I'm still here. It still tries surprises me sometimes. I don't know what you want to call it. Some people think I'm crazy for thinking that. I know I'm a good player and everything, but this keeps proving it and I'll just thinking that when it happens. I'm not a world player, by any means, but I'm holding my own.

Q. You won here in '93 and then they changed the course.


Q. You win here this year and they're talking about changing it.

ROCCO MEDIATE: This place, I was telling a couple of guys yesterday. I do not dislike it. Trust me. But with a little work you have one of the jewels of the tour. You have one of the best courses. Tee to green, this is one of the best course we play. They can mess with these greens a little bit and make it even better and you'll have to turn people away. It has the chance to make that happen. I don't know what's going on with that. But some of the pin placement are impossible. They're almost impossible. That's okay. I don't mind that because I like it when it's hard, but it's hard. But like I said, it's one of my favorites and always has been since I came here in '86.

Q. Do you expect to get a bill for 14 --

ROCCO MEDIATE: I can't believe. That was obviously wasn't on purpose, but Calc and I laughed. I don't know who else saw it, but it was pretty funny. I would never do that on purpose, but I went like that and I hit the ground and it shot the thing all over the place. It was funny, but I fixed it and it was fine.

Q. What's your schedule like now?

ROCCO MEDIATE: My next is Colonial Memorial. Nothing is going to change. But it was a week of -- last week at Hartford I played very, very, very poorly, and I worked on some things on Tuesday with a buddy of mine, Randy Sonnier, who has been my friend for 22 years. We started working on my grip a little bit. I said, all right, and I started to see results on Tuesday. And then Wednesday in the pro am I played okay, not bad. And then Thursday I played okay and I just kept carrying it through, and I had no -- after I shot 68 on Thursday, I thought what's the cut? I'm looking at the paper, what do I have to shoot to stay here, because I want to keep practicing in tournament conditions with this thing, having no intention of sitting here.

I don't know what kind of attitude you want to call it, but I wasn't in shape to win anything on Sunday -- or Monday, believe me. It just goes to show you, you never know what can happen. All of sudden things clicked. I started to putt better, we worked on putting, and bang, I just started doing some crazy things and here we are.

Q. (Inaudible)

ROCCO MEDIATE: It's a challenge because I really -- the driver swings I made coming in, were the best driver swings I ever made in that type of situation, because I didn't miss a fairway. I knew if I did I was going to lose, because Calc starts getting on one of those binges, I'm out of here, it's all over, and that's what -- I knew I didn't have it, but I got it in. I hit a couple of good iron shots. I had a bad one on 17. I misjudged it completely.

The best drive I hit all day was 18. I hit it right toward the score board and it kept rolling. I hit it just where I was looking. And in the playoff against Elkington, I snaphooked it in the first bunker, so that was dancing through my head. I got that out of there. Thank goodness. But winning this way was really -- it actually feels very good because actually I hit it really good, and then I hit it really bad. And I got a good result, because that's what a professional is supposed to do, an older 39-year-old professional, I should say.

Q. Was there one shot today that you were proudest of?

ROCCO MEDIATE: Let me think which shot did I hit. The tee shot on 16 and 18 were my two favorite shots, and the wedge on 15 was -- that was a hard shot because that wind was going like this, and Calc's ball looked perfect and flew over the green, and stuff like that was going on. And I trusted the yardage and I actually made a swing there was the resemblance of a swing and it went right by the flag. That was my best shot, because it got me back to four up. Like I said, I wasn't comfortable at all with any kind of lead today. I wanted to try to get to 5 and 6, and I couldn't. I didn't have the tools to do it.

JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Rocco. Congratulations.

End of FastScripts....

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