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April 26, 2002

Rocco Mediate


JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Rocco, for joining us. Great round today.


JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: A 67. Familiar with this tournament --

ROCCO MEDIATE: Very much. I've always liked it here.

JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Why don't you just make a couple of comments on the day and your round and then we'll go into some questions.

ROCCO MEDIATE: The day, it was perfect conditions, perfect conditions. A slight breeze, but nothing that would make you back off or anything. I enjoy playing this golf course. Even if I'm not playing that good, I come here thinking I have a chance. It's bringing back a lot of memories. That always helps.

Q. It looks like you were playing well today.

ROCCO MEDIATE: Yes, I putted good. I hit the ball close a couple of times. I hit a lot of short irons. I drove good in a few spots, hit a few bad ones. Yes, I was very pleased to be climbing up there, because it's just if you miss hit a few out here you pay because the rough is nasty, very nasty, but it's good to see that.

Q. Was putting your game today?

ROCCO MEDIATE: Keeping it in front of me -- I kept the ball in play most holes. I drove it in most every fairway. I might have missed a few. I missed two, but it didn't matter because I couldn't reach. I hit them all on the back, and hit them all on the front. I missed two fairways today. That's why I could shoot a score. If you don't hit the fairways, you can't shoot a score, at least I can.

Q. When you hit your chip on nine, did you think it was going in?

ROCCO MEDIATE: No. I couldn't see it. It was a trick shot. It's definitely a trick shot shot. One out of 40 might do that, but I felt like -- I tried to hit a driver off the fairway and try to run it up that right side. I hit a slight draw, which is hard to do with a driver, and I was pretty much dead. So I tried to land it in the first cut and just keep it on the green somewhere, but I caught it real spinny, so I knew if it carried far enough it would be good, but I didn't think it would be that good, though. I was just trying to get a ten-footer. But that's a western Pennsylvania shot we have up there, with 56 degree club, not a 60.

Q. Rocco, I've always told you when you're well, you're hell. With your competence level and the way you're swinging at the ball again, obviously you're feeling much, much better.

ROCCO MEDIATE: I haven't had a problem since November, so I'm going to keep it going that way. Like I said, I hadn't played really that well the last two or three weeks. This is good to see this happening. It's always good to come back here. This course challenges you and it tells you how good you're playing or how bad you're playing. So far it's telling me I'm playing okay. I've got two more days of this stuff. I don't know what the weather is coming, but it will be fun in the last couple of groups here.

Q. Talk a little bit more about the course and your game and how you think it works for you.

ROCCO MEDIATE: A lot of right to left shots here. Even the ones that aren't, they fit my eye. I don't know how to explain that. It doesn't really makes sense a drawer likes holes like number 5 because it goes straight to the right, but I do. Holes like even 11. It's straight dogleg right, but I don't mind driving a 4-wood or driver off that tee over the bunkers. It fits my eye almost every shot. And so that's a huge thing. Because if you're up there and you're strictly right to left like me, although I'm working on the other way, but we won't talk about that, it will hurt you, if you don't like what you're seeing and that causes bad shots. It may not be bad swings, but if your eye doesn't fit it, you're toast. It just won't happen. Even the holes like 15 drawer, the fairway is basically unhittable anyway, especially for a drawer, but I don't mind it.

The course is in good shape, the fairways are beautiful. The rough is really thick and it makes you play good.

Q. You hit it a pitching wedge into No. 18?

ROCCO MEDIATE: Yes. It was a little downwind.

Q. You tried to hole it out, didn't you?

ROCCO MEDIATE: I just missed. It stopped a little short. That happens on that hole. The ball was going a little far today. I don't know what was going on. It wasn't that hot. And even if it was a slight downwind, I had 133 to the hole and a good solid wedge is 117 or 120, max, but I was downwind, downhill, and it carried about eight yards short and skipped up.

Q. Is this one of your faster starts into April, do you think?

ROCCO MEDIATE: I don't know. Probably one of them. I made a comment at THE PLAYERS Championship. I'm a part-time player, which I am. I don't play a lot. I'm getting a lot out of being a part-time player, because I get to spend time with my kids and wife and then play golf out here, which is the greatest think in the world for me. To get the start I did, yes, I wasn't really expecting it, because I wasn't feeling real good in the off season, and then I started feeling better and better and I've been good since.

Q. How does that part-time thing help your back?

ROCCO MEDIATE: It helps a lot. After I was hurt and then I went through all the rehab, we've talked about that, and losing the weight, last year I really worked hard with the weights and more stuff and I was hurt all the time. I withdrew 6 times last year, 5 or 6 times, either during the tournament or before it started. So I said to my wife, I've had enough of this, I'm going to do my aerobic work, I started doing this Pilates stuff. I thought it was weird before, but I gave it a shot. That's all I do, that and aerobic work and I'm done. Sold all my weights, sold everything. I got rid of everything. Because I was always hurt, I was always sore, stiff, something was bothering me. And since that time, nothing has happened. Cold weather, warm weather, it doesn't matter anymore. Obviously I like warm better, but I have not had one day where I went, man, I can't play today, not one. That's been almost 5 months now, so I'm just going to do that. I'm staying there.

Q. Robert Gamez struggling and now he's at the top of the leader board. It seems to surprise fans but not the players?

ROCCO MEDIATE: Robert has always been good, but he just doesn't know it. He was rookie of the year 1990 and then he came on bad times, but whatever it was in 1990 that was in there, it's still in there. He's had to figure a way to get it out, and I think he's done that this week at least. He's a good player and good guy. I don't know Robert that well, but something happened that obviously made him not play good anymore.

Q. It never surprised you guys?

ROCCO MEDIATE: I'm not surprised. This guy was All World in 1990, '91, look at his record then. Then all of a sudden, where did he go. A lot of guys may not have kept playing, but he stuck with it and he gutted it out and he's still here. Who knows what's going to happen to him this week. He may win the tournament. He's back to where he was and who knows what will happen after that. I enjoy seeing that happen to players myself, because it's cool to come back out in this competition and do what he's doing is really good.

Q. What would it do for you this weekend to win?

ROCCO MEDIATE: It would be great. Like I say, I love it here. I stay with people in town. Debbie and Stewart Flanagan. It's like a family to me. Their son Justin. In fact, Justin, their son, he's 14 now. But when I won in '93 in the pro am, I was putting on No. 10 in the pro am, I had him on his shoulders. I hadn't seen him in two years and I saw him Tuesday night and he's almost as tall as I am. So I said, well, you can put me on your shoulders now, stuff like that. But it would be great, of course.

End of FastScripts....

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