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August 13, 2000

Rocco Mediate


LEE PATTERSON: Rocco, congratulations.


LEE PATTERSON: All victories are special.

ROCCO MEDIATE: This was a good one. This is very special. This was cool.

LEE PATTERSON: Maybe just a couple thoughts about that; then we will open it up for questions.

ROCCO MEDIATE: I just knew it was going to take a low score to -- what did I end up, 20? I don't even know what the hell I shot today. I just knew I kept making birdie after birdie. I couldn't pick up any ground. It was pretty -- it would have been pretty exciting, a lot more people would have seen that front nine, I think we made 9 or 10 birdies between us, something like that. Maybe more than that. It was amazing. It just happened, you know, we both played the middle holes like dogs, 12, 13, 14, barely made pars half the time. Then you know, just a very exciting day. I enjoyed it. It was a lot of fun.

Q. (inaudible)

ROCCO MEDIATE: I asked Pete that same question. What would we have done. He said, we probably would have hit the same club. If he was 5 more feet to the right, he would have probably made four or five -- he did make 5. Probably made 4. Easier chip. He had a tough chip. He just got kind of a bad break there, I thought. But I think he had to go because he figured I am making 4 and that puts me only -- only 1-up with two to go. If he makes 4, I makes 4, kind of might deflate, who knows still would have been 2-up, I might not have won. Best of playoff last two holes, so, I don't think that, you know, scared him. I think it just -- his shot didn't come off. He kind of had a draw on it.

Q. How far was the driver on (inaudible) --

ROCCO MEDIATE: Like 278 to the hole but I was just trying to hit a low running ugly looking fade which, with that 7 degree driver, it is pretty -- it is hard to do. But I had to give -- I had to try. We talked about 3-wood, but 3-woods gets me maybe on the front; that is not going to do me any good. That is 100 feet away, so.... I had to give it a chance and it came off perfect. I couldn't have done it better if I go out there and hit 100 balls, it won't be any better. After 15 I was a bit mad because that hole just shocked me.

Q. (inaudible) --

ROCCO MEDIATE: Well, no, camera went off. But I hit two lousy putts. First one I hit too hard. Second putt was terrible. I am not blaming it on the camera. It went off, I turned around and looked but, it was after the fact.

Q. (inaudible)

ROCCO MEDIATE: No, because you know it would have been my own fault because I could have backed away if I wanted.

Q. How different does this feel than (inaudible) --

ROCCO MEDIATE: This was cool because I knew that it was going to be a battle and then when Pete and I came, we are coming down 9, he said, let's just keep making birdies and distance ourselves from the rest of the field and see if we can get into a battle with Chris; which is what we did. I didn't even look at the leaderborad. First of all, I couldn't see. I was so into what was going on, but I knew nobody was within two shots or three shots of us. I think I was right because like I said, I shoot 5-under on the front. He shoots 3, 4, so I knew there was no way that there -- there could have been, but I didn't hear a lot of screaming so I knew we were ahead of everybody. I kept to what I was doing and see what happens.

Q. (inaudible) Greensboro, Phoenix, here, I believe you won all of those, what does that say about you?

ROCCO MEDIATE: I haven't thought about that. I don't know. I don't mind the noise. I don't mind -- I love crowds. I love a lot of people around. Tiger did steel them from most of us this week, but that is okay, he should. I'd watch him too if I was a fan. But I just liked -- I always loved this golf course; never shot well in four rounds, I don't think. That is why I finished in the top 10 a few times; never challenged to win this thing.

Q. (inaudible)

ROCCO MEDIATE: I really am because I played good. I made some good putts today, some good 15-footers that I haven't made a lot of recently. It was exciting; especially under the gun, that was the most fun. That last putt was so exciting.

Q. Davis made the point earlier this week that when we look back because of how well Tiger is playing, that it is going to be -- it is a better victory when he is in the field?

ROCCO MEDIATE: Absolutely. I want to play where Tiger is playing. I don't want to duck him. I am not going to beat him for a career, but I could beat him this week. I did beat him this week. I am not going to beat him for the next 10, 15 years, forget it, I am not even going to try. That was my point in the Tiger factor, yeah, he is the best player. I think he is going to be the best player for a long long time. But I can beat him this week and someone can beat him next week, but for a career, forget it. Try something else. I mean, that is my point.

Q. When you made that last putt looked like you just -- did you drop your putter?

ROCCO MEDIATE: No, I just gave it to Pete because I didn't want to do anything disrespectful because Chris still had to play. I wasn't going to pump my fist. I just don't do that. It doesn't do anything for me. I hit -- I made the putt. I was kind of shocked and I gave the putter to Pete; I got out of the way. I am not doing anything to deter him from what he is doing. We are professionals. I didn't want him to watch any antics or crap like that. If he makes it, we go to a playoff.

Q. Hard to do because you looked --

ROCCO MEDIATE: I was very happy, but I didn't -- I am surprised that I kept my wits about me because I did not want to do anything disrespectful for -- because once I made it, my stage is not mine anymore; it is his. I wanted to get over there -- I didn't even want him to see me because he still had to do his work. I wasn't going to do anything to do that. If he beats me, he beats me.

Q. (inaudible)

ROCCO MEDIATE: I am not even going to go there. I am not saying a word. I would never have done that, though.

Q. Since 1991 how many different models of long putters have you used?

ROCCO MEDIATE: Probably just three or four. I have used Scotty's since 1995, I think, 1996 Scotty gave me the first one. 1995, Ping -- probably only two, three models is all. That is it. No one else makes them.

Q. (inaudible) I know you had to make a birdie just go down the 18th and play your shot and his shot; what you were thinking --

ROCCO MEDIATE: Well, I just missed birdie on 17. I was only one behind, so anything can happen on 18. It is easy to hit the left. You can still make a score left. You can't make a score right in that bunker in those trees, you are toast. So I just played a swing off like I have done all week, all my whole career, big hooks off that tee, sometimes I overhook but most of the time they go down there where I can play, and being that I am a drawer of the ball, I would rather have been on the left side of the fairway anyway because I can swing it in there with a 9-iron too. I like the ball to go left. When he drove it in the rough, I didn't go look at his lie. I don't do anything. I just do my own thing. Pete walked by and he said, it is not a very good lie. Birdie is out of the question more than likely. If I make birdie, I can at least tie him; that is all I was thinking. I did not think he would make 5 from where he was as good as he is. It is hard to judge that shot under all the, you know, excitement, the pressure. It is a bit too hard.

Q. (inaudible)

ROCCO MEDIATE: I hit a 9-iron. It was a -- as hard as I can swing it, I hit it. Luckily it stayed in there.

Q. How long?

ROCCO MEDIATE: I think 148 or 9, something like that. I am not exactly -- once Pete kind of convinced me, he said, 8, I would have hit over longer left, just go hit your 9. Normally he says, we can't hit the other one; I want you to hammer it. It happened to come out right.

Q. (inaudible)

ROCCO MEDIATE: Twelve feet. I don't know.

Q. (inaudible)

ROCCO MEDIATE: Well, it just does a lot for my whole everything, for every week now, but, yeah, I am certainly not going to be a favorite for the PGA. I have never done well in the majors. It is going to give me a chance to maybe -- I don't know. I feel really good about playing good next week. I don't know what I am going to do. I wish I could predict it. But I have been on Tour for 16 years; 15 more years than I thought I would be on Tour. I have also won four more times than I have thought I would win in anything. I am playing -- I don't know what you want to call it -- it is amazing, amazing. Then what has happened over the last five, six years, I still don't believe what has happened. But I am -- I enjoy Valhalla. It is a pretty neat golf course; going to be wet, very hot, which I like that too. You never know.

Q. Presidents Cup standings, a good week next week -- (inaudible)

ROCCO MEDIATE: Yeah, that would be great because I'd love to play for Mr. Venturi. I'd love to play for him. But only way you get on that team is if you earn it. If I play good next week, maybe he will say: This guy played good, maybe I will pick him. But we will find out next week. I'd love to play good next week. I haven't done great in majors; a couple of Top 20s, but that is about it.

Q. (inaudible)

ROCCO MEDIATE: I don't know. I have never putted good enough. Hit it decent at majors, but just never made any putts. Maybe that is going to change because I made a lot of putts this week.

Q. You were on the putting green Tuesday all alone. I interviewed. You said, my putting has been awful, terrible. Did you find something, not just something this week, but did you find something that is going to carry you through the rest --

ROCCO MEDIATE: I worked on a couple of things; went on to some old keys that I used to do; raised my right shoulder a little bit; got square, just Pete kept telling me, just believe it. When you are going to make the putt and putt it -- there is 144 guys that want to do the same thing. I just did more -- I just stopped telling myself that I putt like crap, you know, and my wife got in my ear too and said: I don't want to hear it any more; not like I whine a lot. I get mad and disappointed that I have so many opportunities a lot of times, I don't take advantage of them and it kills me. I seem to have so many opportunities the last two weeks. This week I took advantage of most of them. First day I didn't make a lot, but the rest of the three I pretty much did.

Q. (inaudible) approach look at 18, once you hit it --

ROCCO MEDIATE: I knew if it started to draw a little bit (inaudible) I knew it was going to stop. It was a 9-iron. The ball I play, it stays there a little bit better. I knew it was going to be on the green somewhere. I wanted to putt at it from somewhere within certain distance and it came down perfect.

Q. What is it like to -- you have made your putt now; you have to watch somebody else and it is out of your hands --

ROCCO MEDIATE: Like I said, I got out of the way. I stood over there and I just said, if he makes it, I am ecstatic to be in a playoff, believe me. If you gave me the choice on the 18th tee, I'd say, let us go right now. He just happened to not make it. I am not wishing he misses it. I am thinking if he missed it, I am going to win, obviously, which would be cool, but I am not saying: Miss it, miss it, miss it. You don't do that. I don't do that. If you get beat, you get beat, you deal with it.

Q. Back in the '80s playing in the Western Amateur playing against a guy you never have (inaudible) -- what do you remember?

ROCCO MEDIATE: I just remember, I don't know what I won, but I think I barely won and Chris, well, he probably played bad because Chris was an outstanding amateur player; just like he is a professional, so he won many, many golf tournaments. I won two, maybe in college. So there was no pedigree coming from me, but from him there is, he will -- the way he played today, he will definitely win tournaments.

Q. Do you remember the year?

ROCCO MEDIATE: Probably 1984. I bet you -- yeah, that is the only time I played Match Play there. I lost in the final.

Q. If we can go back to the putt on 18 --

ROCCO MEDIATE: I'd love to (laughter). I will go hit it again. I will never make it again, I guarantee you.

Q. Earlier when you had missed a couple of putts you were smiling; made gestures and the TV commentators referred to the fact that you were extremely relaxed. When you made the final putt I saw huge relieve. Were you holding it back or were you really that relaxed?

ROCCO MEDIATE: What I wanted to do there and all I thought about was once Pete got the line for me, because I am not a great green reader, I am happy to admit that. If I'd trust him more, I'd make more. He is good at it. I said, what do you got. He said, "get the ball outside on the left, I want the ball on the left edge. That is where I want to hit it, and feel it in there and do it." No problem, fine. All I wanted to do was do that, whether it goes in or not, I am not concerned. If I can hit it where I am looking with the speed I want, I don't care if I miss it. Nothing else I can do, but because if it's a misread, it is a misread because you just can't tell. What if it bounces; what if it does something that it isn't supposed to do, it is notorious not to go in the hole. It is weird, but I knew -- I liked the same read he gave me. I saw the same thing. So I said, I will just put in the that left edge, just wanted to make sure I had perfect speed because I didn't want to knock it five feet by because if he misses then I have got to make it so it's double pressure. I said, if I put this in, it will be harder for him to make the 8-footer. It was just exciting because I knew right when I hit it, it was perfect speed and in. It just fell in the left center. But like I said, I did not want to do anything like jump around and I just -- I kept my wits about me. I said, all right, get the ball in the hole; give him the putter and leave because it is not over yet. If it was a putt to win and Chris was in fourth place then, yeah, I might have kind of put my arms up or something but no, it is just disrespectful to do that, I think.

Q. (inaudible) you have mentioned the fact once the gallery with Tiger few people watched you which is understandable --

ROCCO MEDIATE: Absolutely.

Q. Last year in Phoenix, final round, one of the comments was (inaudible) like a cheap suit --

ROCCO MEDIATE: Yeah, (inaudible) Tiger told me, relax, don't worry about it. I don't want to worry about it, I want to go get him.

Q. My point is as the popularity of Tiger goes up, we get new people in this game, we are going to get -- there were occasion this is week where as much as people were watching him, there was also a lot of disregard for the other players on the course. Where do you see --

ROCCO MEDIATE: It's been like that before. I don't think it is all Tiger. What Tiger brings to the game you can't measure it, it is so unbelievably huge, but I don't know if it's bad. I mean, I think it would have been bad anyway. Some guy have a few too many drinks, they just get silly. But this week, I mean, playing 17 for three, four days, there was nothing going on. I mean, I heard them all day, but you know, you just got to deal with it. If you can't deal with it, don't come, it's that simple. That is my thing. Phoenix is tough. This is tough, and Greensboro is tough, but it doesn't mean it is bad - if that makes sense to you. I don't mind it. It doesn't bother me at all. I may say something to Pete about like, what are they doing, but I would never let it bother me the way I play the hole.

Q. What does this win mean to you compared to your others; how is this one different?

ROCCO MEDIATE: I don't know how to put it into words. After last week you would have went: How did you get your card? I mean, it was terrible, I just putted so bad. Now here I am the following week -- Pete told me this was going to happen, he told me -- he did this the last time in Phoenix, so you complain all week about your putting, you are going to make everything next week, you watch. That is what happened. But it does a lot. I mean, the mental thing that I learned - that is what I am most excited about. Physically I was -- I don't have the greatest golf swing. I don't hit the ball better than anybody -- the best there is, but I hit a lot of good shots when I wanted to to today; couple of bad ones, but I expect them more than I used to; whether it is from my back not -- not being the same, but I have never been able to perform under the heat like this. This was a lot of fun. 17, 18 were extremely tense, tense-feeling atmosphere. I enjoy that. I actually enjoy it. I'd like to be put in that situation more than I am. It is hard to get there. But you know, just go back to Tiger one more time, he does it all the time, it is amazing. I don't think I can do it all the time like that. But it was sure a lot of fun today.

Q. (inaudible)

ROCCO MEDIATE: Well, this golf course I will tell you what, this golf course is -- I think I got it down. You can shoot a low score, but you got to hit your ball really good here. Can't scrape it around here or you won't shoot low. Greens are monsters and fast and undulated. Fairways are not real wide, most of them -- short holes are where you can kill the place. I didn't make a birdie on one of them today 12, 13, 14, I made pars, but if you hit your ball good here and you can say that every week, but I don't know how to explain it -- yeah, I shot 20-under, but I hit my ball really good tee to green most of the day. I birdied a lot of the tough holes; that is where you make up ground here if you play the par 5s and the short holes good. I would say it is a really good golf course. You can make this course really hard if you wanted to - firm this place up; firm the greens up, it is just going to play 5, 10 shots harder on the greens because you can't just fly it in there like I did on 18. It was quite exciting. I really thought he'd make his putt though. I didn't think was going to win outright.


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