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September 22, 2001

Rocco Mediate


JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Thank you, Rocco for joining us. I know it's late. You have three holes left, 12-under par. Make a couple comments about your round and we'll go into questions.

ROCCO MEDIATE: I just tried to stay close to Robert's shirt towel. He played phenomenal golf. Hit it close to every hole on the front nine. I made a few birdies and just tried to hang in there. It's fun to see a guy play like that and kind of get some momentum, kind of steal some.

Q. There was a point on 4 where you hit it 12 feet and he hit it in two and you just looked at him --

ROCCO MEDIATE: I went (indicating with arm) -- I did that on 6. I'm looking at him, "Come on. Stop." (Laughter.)

Q. Did you ever think he was going to listen?

ROCCO MEDIATE: Let me put it this way: He shouldn't. He's playing really good golf. Beautiful. It's good to see -- it's fun to see guys playing like that, but you just try and hang in there.

Q. You did a good job?

ROCCO MEDIATE: Guys that are playing that good, you've just got to try to play as good or better.

Q. You seemed like you did that well today, considering you didn't have a lot of -- there's a stretch there where he was tapping in and you had to make 12 -, 15-footers.

ROCCO MEDIATE: Yeah, you've just got to keep grinding. You can't let it affect you. You can only let it help the way you play. If the guy is going to make eight birdies, more power to him because that's going to be tough to beat. You can't do anything about that. But I'm going to try to make eight birdies too, and do the best I can to keep in sight of him. As he knows, he'll tell you, nothing is guaranteed. But it's -- I don't know how to explain it, but you've just got to just keep hanging in there, because all of a sudden, there's so many birdies going gone out there between us, you just never know. There was two, two-shot swings back-to-back on 11 and 12. It was freaky. I mean --

Q. What did you do on 12?

ROCCO MEDIATE: I drove it in the bunker and it was -- it sat down in like this little -- you know, when it runs in the bunker and it's got like a little groove in it. I couldn't get to the ball and I hit it thin. I hit it a lot thin and it was toast, gone. That's the only green I missed. So other than that, I was fine. You just don't want a guy like that to get eight shots in front of you, because he would have been eight shots ahead so fast, you just don't want to happen, if you want to try to win the tournament.

Q. Was your mom out today?

ROCCO MEDIATE: Yes, she was. She was out. I don't know if they are going to let her do it tomorrow, though. Slugger told me that -- I know that's the rule, but they kind of broke the rule here for me -- not for me. I never asked anybody. Linda did, my wife did, and he just did it, but that's never really happened before. So I told Slugger, I said, "Look, I understand." If everybody had their mom out here, we would have 500 carts out here and you couldn't do that.

Q. She still had a cart today, though?

ROCCO MEDIATE: Yeah, she did. They were driving around it. Was hilarious. I was laughing the whole way. I had never seen it happen before. Then Slugger said "look" -- and I said, "you don't to explain it. I understand. I totally understand. It upsets me, but I understand." But she was there. She was enjoying herself, too. She'll come out probably tomorrow and walk a few holes and maybe sit on No. 9 and wait, which is fine.

Q. Does she ask you questions about your round in the evening?

ROCCO MEDIATE: No. Not a word. I don't know how to say it. Just kind of -- if I shoot 63, she goes: "So you did okay today?" "Yeah, I did all right." That's about all I say. I don't say anything else.

Q. Did you come from a family of golfers at all?

ROCCO MEDIATE: No. My dad played. He's right back there. He played. But he never really -- I didn't like golf that much until, what, 15, 14? I hated golf.

Q. Kind of like Tiger?

ROCCO MEDIATE: Yeah, like Tiger, yeah, exactly. And then here -- it's like I said, I have no idea how I got here, but I'm here.

Q. Do you think there will be some added pressure tomorrow, given your circumstances?

ROCCO MEDIATE: No. Because today is the same as tomorrow. If I can go out and keep making pars and birdies, there's -- it's like it's just a golf course. There's more people here than I know than anywhere else, but that shouldn't change the way I play. You know, yeah, I know the course better than anybody here, by miles, but, you know, will that add up to something substantial? Maybe tomorrow we'll find out. It's going to take some low scoring, I can tell you right now, though. The way Robert is playing -- and I don't know who was behind me or close to us, but I've got to keep going. I've got to be at least -- for the next 21 holes I've got to be at least 8-under par. That's what I'm figuring. If I can get to 20-under, which actually shocks me -- I might have a shot at it because he's 14 (-under) already.

Q. What's your low round out here?

ROCCO MEDIATE: I've shot a bunch of 66s, a couple 65s, just screwing around with the guys. It's a little different. I said, I can't believe we're actually playing a tournament here you can get up on No. 10, just whip it out over the trees, though I've done that three days in a row, but still. It's different. It's a totally different mindset when you have to play an event at a course you've played for 20 years, basically. You know it's almost a disadvantage because it's like a was telling Pete today, I've hit so many 4-, 5-, and 6-irons on No. 10, just in the last five years, it's amazing. I hit 9-iron -- I hit 9-iron yesterday. I mean, I can't figure it out. The same with No. 9. Just a little 7-iron today at No. 9. I've never hit a 7-iron on that green, ever. 3-, 4-, 5-iron.

Q. Because maybe they mowed the fairway lower?

ROCCO MEDIATE: It's a tournament, so everything is brought up.

Q. You're jacked up?

ROCCO MEDIATE: As players, everything goes further, it's more -- you're more focused, whatever you want to call that crap. I don't know about -- I'm not the psychic guy -- laughter -- but the focus is totally different. I'm looking at shots out there going -- 16, I hit a 8-iron. I have never hit less than a 6-iron to that hole in 20 years. So, you know, you just -- it's amazing, the difference. The ball is actually -- well, at least in the practice round, it was actually rolling forward. It never rolls here. It always either plugs or it comes backwards. Never, because we're playing on clay. Two inches underneath the dirt is clay. The water can't go anywhere, so it stays. It's been interesting. But I hit the drive on 10 and I'm up there going, "How does this happen"?

Q. Your mom went out and kicked it.

ROCCO MEDIATE: Actually the ESPN cameraman who I know, we were walking up to the 10th tee and he goes: "I got your mom in the shot." And I go "What?" I saw her on the side when I was putting she was right behind me, and they had the shot right over her head. So I would like to see the replay of that somehow. She's enjoying herself.

JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Thank you, Rocco, for joining us.

End of FastScripts....

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