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March 26, 1998

Rocco Mediate


WES SEELEY: 5-under par, 67 for Rocco Mediate, including a furious finish. General thoughts about your round then we will go through it.

ROCCO MEDIATE: Well, it was very solid from tee-to-green. Hit most of the fairways. Hit most of the greens and it was just -- it is nerve-wracking playing here and loving this place so much and living right here and it was fun to get out in there and play because that is where it is the most quiet and -- calm, actually. Then having the boys follow me is one of the few times they follow me was a lot of fun too. Knowing they are out there and they are starting to get old enough and they behave except for just now spilling the Coke - it was a lot of fun. I have putted as good as I have putted ever today. There is no question about that. That is what it takes. I mean, it would be nice to do this everyday.

WES SEELEY: Take us around. Just one birdie on your first 9 which was the back.

ROCCO MEDIATE: 16, I just hit it in the right rough, laid up, give it the old benign talk about it. Sand wedge about five feet, made it. I made it the old-fashioned way. If you hit it in the fairway there, you can hit your a 2 and 3-irons. I had 225 to the hole. Then just solid, basically. Before that, I missed one green, I missed 12; got up-and-down. But other than that, I hit every other green, I think. Yep. Hit every single green. Played pretty good. Almost made a couple of birdies here and there.

WES SEELEY: Round 2, bogeyed 2.

ROCCO MEDIATE: Hit my best shot, one of my most solid shots of the day, hit pitching -- mid-wedge, 15 feet short of the hole and spun back down that hill which was shocking because that green is hard as a floor. I was kind of surprised. I had a horrible first putt, left it 10 feet short. Went around that big ridge; missed it, 30 feet. I hit 3-wood over the green on 2. Just over and pitched out about five feet. 4, five feet made that. 3, hit good 8-iron about 15 feet by the hole maybe, made that. So I am like, okay, this is just what I have been wanting to do. And just-- hit the hole on the floor from about 15, 16 feet. 5, hit it about 3 and a half four feet with 5-iron on 5; made that, kind of down hill left-to-right. Then 6, I hit a 9-iron, bounced it into the hill with the directions of my caddie there. It was a great call by him, actually because I was in the right rough. Just in the rough barely. And that front pin, I was basically dead. I hit it just short, bounced up about two feet short, made that one. So, that was kind of -- I was not expecting one there. A 4 would have been perfect, but that is what happens sometimes. I made a good bogey on 7. Hit really one of my best drives of the day. It picked up some mud. That fairway is low where it kind of picks up mud sometimes, as I am sure you have heard it, just on the left side of the ball which we know where it is going to go - to the right. I tried to do everything I could. It just went dead right up against -- there is a little mound just right of the bunker. I couldn't hit my third shot. Tried to, but I just pitched it out. Pitched on about ten feet, kept me alive by making that. But I was fortunate there. Unfortunate and fortunate in the same -- it happens. Then, hit a good 3-iron about twelve feet behind the hole and on 8. Just tried to hit it real soft, put a lot of air, perfect, by the hole, made that by the hill. Then we played differently than we usually play. I laid -- you know, living here all the time I never thought of this and Kenny thought of it. I hit a good drive. He goes, "We are going to lay back, get you about 100 yards." I go, "Why?" He says, "Think about it." I have played that hole pathetically probably in my whole career really. I have always laid up too close, always on the hook lie on the downslope. With these greens, especially now, forget it. And I tried to lay up a lot further back, but the ball went a little further than we thought. I had 130 yards but it was on a downslope. A real good sand wedge about -- I don't know how far it was 12, 15 left of the hole. Dead pin-high. And it was easy to read that one because we get down on the green height and I made that one in the center. I knew I was going to make that one the way things were going. I felt if I got the putter moving, the ball would go in. So it was fun.

Q. You think you putted better than two years ago when you birdied 6 in a row?

ROCCO MEDIATE: Yeah. I think overall, I did because those putts, there were some long putts made in that stretch. But as far as the way I felt, I putted better. I felt pretty confident. First couple of times I was a bit nervous, hit some iffy putts because I hadn't done it in so long. Once you get out there in the competition, it does change. I tried to go back to do what I was practicing on the putting green and get the feelings. All of a sudden, I started to get them. Almost made a bunch of them on my front 9. It was fun to do that. These greens are so good that even after all these people ran over them all day, there was really no bad spots out there at all. I haven't seen greens this good in a long time.

Q. It is tough for you not to get too geared up for this being your home?

ROCCO MEDIATE: Yeah, but I have learned a little bit. I have learned some being around for so long. It is hard sometimes. I just try to -- I know the golf course so well, I am not real concerned about what the wind does or, you know, I knew the conditions would be firm and fast and I think that is how most of us like it out here. And the rough is fairly penalizing, you know, especially with the greens that firm. But, it is hard not to go a little crazy here.

Q. Were you going at that pin at 9?

ROCCO MEDIATE: Oh, yeah, the way things were going, absolutely.

Q. Short putter versus a long one, what benefits are you getting out of the switch back this week?

ROCCO MEDIATE: There is no -- I haven't seen any negatives. I am standing up still, so my back doesn't bother my back at all. I could putt all I want in practice, whatever, but the feel was way better. Once you get your hands on something like that, I mean, I know I have -- I know I have good feeling and I have good touch, I know I do. I don't see why I shouldn't be a pretty good putter.

Q. Got to be happy with your position overall?

ROCCO MEDIATE: Oh, yeah. Absolutely. I mean, it keeps you -- if I keep playing well, I will be -- I just want to be in there on Sunday somewhere, that is what we all want to do. We all want to be somewhere around where we might be able to win or -- might be able to win, that is what we are here for most of us. And, if I keep playing good, hopefully I will be there. Depends on -- I can't do anything -- I don't know what anybody else is going to shoot, but three more scores in the 60s I will be there somewhere, I mean, I know it on this golf course. It may not has low enough, but it would be around there. I don't think the golf course will get any easier. I think it is going to get firmer and firmer and faster. They were -- there were some fast putts out there today.

Q. You said yesterday it was kind of scary to make that change now. How long was it scary today?

ROCCO MEDIATE: Well, the first couple of holes -- I made about a 3 and a half footer on 13 for par, hit it just over the green, putted down, pretty good putt. And it was down hill left-to-right. I made it right in the middle. I went: "That felt pretty good." That was one of those ones where I probably wouldn't have made it with the other putter. In fact, I know I wouldn't have. But it was scary. It was just -- I was unsure, I guess, is a better word than scary. I was quite unsure of the first 3, 4 holes. Chipped it a foot on 12, so didn't truly have to putt there, so -- but once I got -- I made a good 5- or 6-footer for par on 15. 25 feet above the hole, made that one for par. And, I felt real good after that. Made about a 5-footer on 16 for birdie.

Q. When did you abandon the long putter and go to this short --

ROCCO MEDIATE: Sunday night.

Q. Had you been using a long putter this go-around with the long putter; had you been using that just because you thought it would help your back?

ROCCO MEDIATE: My back is fine. My back is non--- not even in the equation, I guess, but I just use it because I am always so comfortable with it. Sometimes being comfortable doesn't -- it was pathetic, I putted -- this whole year has been a mess on the greens except for today. I mean, I had a couple of decent nines here and there, but never anything that I could sustain. And, like today, I kept making them. I kept trust in what I was doing which I don't remember when I have done that. It has been years.

Q. How many times have you gone back and forth between the two?

ROCCO MEDIATE: I don't know. I have used it since 1991. That is when I started using it. Back and forth. Probably three or four times. I don't know.

Q. What inspired this change? Dissatisfaction?

ROCCO MEDIATE: Just pathetic performance on the greens. I mean, I couldn't -- it couldn't get any worse. It could only get better. So use -- that was a positive thing and one thing that has helped me on the putting is being such good friends with Janzen and watching him putt through the years. You pick up some of his-I have picked up a lot of his, I don't know what you want to call it, mannerisms, and there is something to that. I mean, his putter -- I have got 38 inches. He is 32. But I just watch -- I have watched him so long, I have watched how good he putts. And, I am just trying to mimic that feeling. I don't look like that at all, believe me, but I am trying to mimic that feeling and the pace because he -- you know, as you know, he is one of the best I have ever seen. I pick it up. I watch people. And, I have learned that through the years; especially with the normal putter, you watch the good putter what do they do. I mean, you look at Faxon's pace on his putts and on his putter, you just learn things. With a long putter the feel just went away. I don't know what happened. I can't explain it.

Q. What are you putting with now?

ROCCO MEDIATE: It is a Cameron, 38 inch Cameron and I feel fine with it.

Q. I couldn't quite see you from across the fairway. How do you grip it, the way you ordinary would?

ROCCO MEDIATE: Basically. I put both hands on it. It is like a 10-finger grip basically.

Q. You don't have it up here?

ROCCO MEDIATE: No, normal. Putter is only three inches over standard. 35 is usually standard. Standing there, both hands on it, looked -- it is funny, I look like a golfer out there on the green. I have been told that many times: Hey, you look like a golfer, now you have got a real putter.

Q. Tee to green, that you were most pleased with today?

ROCCO MEDIATE: I drove it in most of the fairways and I have been hitting it pretty good this year. I just haven't been taking advantage of it. And most of the guys will tell you that that is reason why we haven't shot many good scores because we haven't had many putts. I have really been hitting my irons solid and been driving it fairly solid, fairly straight. That is the difference. I just took advantage today - is the only difference. Hitting like this all year -- I have hit some good shots today, but I have not been doing that a lot, and I am taking advantage of them. And, today, like I said, I just made most of the putts I hit on the back 9, almost made every one of them actually. I missed the one on 4 and 1, so would have been all 1-putts, I think.

Q. Your best position here?

ROCCO MEDIATE: I think I was close a couple of years ago -- not a couple of years ago, maybe 1990 when I played with Hale Irwin. I forget the first one, shot 5-under that round also. I think I was in the same area. What is Lee 5- or 6-under?


ROCCO MEDIATE: I was right in the same area. Hell of a score, 6-under.

WES SEELEY: Finished 2-2.

ROCCO MEDIATE: Where? On 17 and 18?


ROCCO MEDIATE: Oh, that is nice. I played with Kevin Sutherland today. He made four 2s on the 3s today. Only adds up to 8. I hadn't seen a guy birdie -- make four 2s in a while. We were talking about that. 2-2? That is pretty good.

WES SEELEY: Anything else?

End of FastScripts....

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