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May 26, 2016

Rocco Mediate

Benton Harbor, Michigan

JOHN DEVER: Good afternoon. Welcome back to the 77th Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid. Rocco Mediate with a 62 today.

Couple noteworthy items. 29 on the front was the low nine on the PGA TOUR Champions this year and the 62 is the lowest 18 hole score in this championship's history and it matches Kenny Perry's final round from 2012 right here on this course.

So, Rocco, tell us about it, was it good play, wet course, or some combination of both.

ROCCO MEDIATE: Solid stuff. A lot of fairways. A bunch of greens. When I missed it was in the right spot. So, it was one of those days to where -- but solid. Hit it close a lot on the front nine.

Actually hit it close on, what, 11 and 12, or 13. Hit it really close there.

4, I hit it close.

So I had a lot of short putts for birdie, I didn't really make a long one.

Made a good putt on 16.

But it was one of those days, I just drove it really well, I hit a lot of solid irons.

It's been awhile. Stuff I'm working on is coming around. I'm just trying to get back to what I used to do and that's hit the ball in the middle of the face most of the time. It's been a few years since that's happened. So it was a lot of fun. A lot of fun.

JOHN DEVER: You only had one Top-20, did you see any hints that this might come this week?

ROCCO MEDIATE: It's coming. I knew it's been coming, but -- like this was kind of insane, but it was just one of those things where the ball went close to the hole a lot and I didn't make any bogeys.

But as far as the hitting, even if I would have shot 71 or 72 hitting it as good as I hit it today, solid as I hit it today, I'm good with that, because that's what I need to do for me to have any type of confidence whatsoever. You have to earn the confidence though. Coming out I -- it was just solid. It was good.

So just trust. Trust. When you hit it sideways, there's no trust and that's a nightmare.

So, but it was good today. I couldn't be happier with the way I hit it, no matter what happens now, so.

JOHN DEVER: Questions?

Q. All those things you said about how well you hit it --

Q. -- this was your first sub 70 of the year.
ROCCO MEDIATE: I don't know when the last time I shot in the 60s.

Q. This was the first one this year.
ROCCO MEDIATE: I really don't know when I shot in the 60s last. We were happy to have three straight rounds under par from Houston through into, where were we? Birmingham. Don't even remember anymore.

So, but that's how we're just trying to build it back up. A lot of stuff's happened the last, especially this last year. Baby, new baby.

Q. And my next question is, are you sleeping?
ROCCO MEDIATE: I am. But she's doing great. She's a year and three weeks almost.

But my mom passed in August, a lot of stuff happened. It's not an excuse, but it does wear. It does wear on you a little bit and I'm not blaming that on anything, it's just, along with that, then my ball's going crooked, so good luck on that. It was a nightmare.

But you just keep going. Because I know it's in there. I'm fitter than I've been in 20 years. I'm as fit as I was in 2000 right now. So I have no issues there. So it's just a matter of getting back to what worked.

Q. What goes through the mind of a golf professional who's won and been successful on a lot of different levels, when it does start going sideways?
ROCCO MEDIATE: It's happened in our over the Regular Tour it happened some, too. You have those months, weeks, hopefully not years. But I've had a couple years to where it's just been no good.

Ricky Smith and I talked a bunch, we still talk a lot about it, we just kind of went back to what I used to do and tightened it up a little bit and the body's fit enough to do it again. So that's the good thing.

But you just don't know. Many times I've said, I don't know if I can do this anymore, but what the hell else am I going to do? I still love it though. That's the thing. It's like you don't want to play sometimes, but I can't wait to play the next day. It makes no sense. We're all cuckoo, so it just doesn't make any sense, but you just know that if you stay with it and keep working -- like I said regardless of what's happening the next three days, I know the ball's off the middle of the face again and it should stay there. There's no reason for it to change.

And if I don't trust it, it's going to go crooked. Simple as that. Just a matter of trust. Back in the old days I just shot it, it didn't matter, none of us, everybody can say that. We just aim and shoot.

And I remember, I talked to Rotella last week, hadn't talked to him in years, and Doc's the best and he goes, let me guess, you're trying to not hit certain shots. And I'm like, you think? I don't know where ball's going right now. It was starting to get a little better.

He goes, well, you never did that before. I said, I know I never did that before. I wanted to run it through you so I can hear someone else telling me the same thing.

And it's just aim and shoot. And that's -- I knew where the ball was going, kind of. We don't always know where it's going.

But when you know the shape's there, you can aim wherever you want. And that's what today felt like, a little bit last week, a little bit in Houston, it was kind of showing up. And today I just hit it close and made them all, so. That happens. Sometimes. Not enough.

Q. Has it been difficult to convince yourself that it's still there when you keep on adding up the scores after 18 holes and you don't see it?
ROCCO MEDIATE: Great question. Sometimes it is. Jess is like, you have to get your confidence back. I went, you have to earn your confidence back. You can't just go, can I have my confidence, please? Can I have it -- it doesn't happen.

So, I said, well I have to get it back by playing good and hitting certain shots that I used to be able to hit blindfolded, basically and they, I haven't done it for a couple years. So, no, I never thought it was over, except for a few times.


I'm like, oh, my God, I just can't, this is embarrassing. You're embarrassed out there sometimes. Just sideways. And I just kept looking over old films and talking back with Rick a little bit and then a buddy of mine Michael Biviano, who does builds kind of -- he's built a lot of my golf clubs. I play PXG, but we always look at them and we lie and loft with them and mess with them a little bit. And he noticed something this week, he goes, why are you so far away from it. And I said, gosh, it's just little things. I got back on top and, you know, see ya.

So -- and I used to be right there on top of it. So I can -- the club just, the path fixed, did itself. It was automatic to where the club was in a better spot, regardless of what I did in the back stroke.

That's how I feel about it. I don't like to have anything to think about out there, because it's a second and a quarter, maybe, the golf swing. There's no time to think about it.

So it's like you work on stuff on the range, great, but out there, there's no time. And I've been working on it on the golf course and it doesn't work. There's too much going on. It just has to be like this (Indicating).

But I figured eventually I'll start playing better, it's just -- despite myself, sometimes. But I never quit. But sometimes I felt like I was over. Sometimes it feels that way. I don't know. Probably, the great players probably never say that, but they may not admit that.


Q. We had some rain last night, how were the course conditions today?
ROCCO MEDIATE: Fine. It wasn't wet. As far as soaking wet. A couple wet spots. But it was fine. Greens were good. Soft. They received pretty good. If it doesn't rain anymore -- but maybe a chance of rain every day -- but the golf course held up. I know it rained like hell last night. I heard it last night. But the golf course was fine. Greens were good. Everything was good. A little softer. That's why the scores are -- if this thing firms up, that will all change.

Q. Can you just talk about how big the putt was on 16 and also --
ROCCO MEDIATE: That was cool.

Q. Also you mentioned earning the confidence back. What did it mean to shoot a number like that playing alongside Monty, who is the two-time defending champ and Kenny, who is tied for the record with you?
ROCCO MEDIATE: Yeah, I told Monty driving in -- and he made a couple bogeys so he wasn't really happy -- but he played great today pretty much. And I said, it's nice playing like you guys every once in a while. Because I used to be able to -- you know, I like the pairing for me, because it was a huge challenge -- not to go out and try to beat them, just to try and play good with them. Sounds weird. But that's how I, when I get the, with the best players, and those are two of our best players by far, it's nice to be able to hang.

And whether, like I said -- Kenny made a couple comments a few weeks ago. I remember asking Kenny, I said, what, in Houston, I hit it like awful, what do you see? He goes, I don't think you have enough loft on the irons and stuff like that. Little things like that.

And I went, so I checked it and I didn't. So all of a sudden that made a difference. All these little things, things happen and you listen to them and you listen to people that know what they're talking about. I thought they were fine, but they weren't, they were too strong, ball wasn't flying as good as it should have.

So those little things like that, you fix that, get loft back on, all of a sudden it's pretty again. And so the stuff that, it's just good playing with those guys and playing good.

I wasn't going out there trying to beat them. I guess we are, but that wasn't my thought. My thought was trying to hit fairways and greens and not make a fool of myself like I have been lately.

So, that's the whole key is just trying to, just, like I said, just trying to play like the, play like I used to play, which is a lot of fairways, a lot of greens, and just go from there.

And it's starting to come. Definitely. Today was crazy. But I hit it close to the hole a lot, so I didn't have a lot of long putts.

The one on 16 was good, it was fun. Because I hit a, I hit a beautiful tee shot and I thought I hit a great approach. The wind was just cooking in there. It was 165 yards and I was trying to chip a little five, it got up a little off the upslope and I'm thinking it's going to be on the front, no problem. Had a reasonable pitch -- it's hard to pitch off this turf sometimes, it gets growing into you, so you got to be careful, not careful but you got to make sure -- you got to be level. And I caught it pretty clean, just hit it a little too hard.

But that putt was cool. I was trying to get out of here without a bogey. That's hard to do, but that was a good one. It just keeps it going.

I made a nice one on 18. 4-footer on 18. But I made them all today. I really didn't miss one. And that's the, that's how those scores happen.

Q. During, obviously, during the course of your career you've had a myriad of health problems, back --

Q. Two years ago -- you indicated to me yesterday on the practice tee that this was a healthiest you've been in --
ROCCO MEDIATE: A long time. Yeah. My back's been good. You have episodes occasionally after surgery. Surgery was 22 years ago, so. But I've been great except for just a couple little things here or there. Nothing bad.

Q. No nagging?
ROCCO MEDIATE: No, no, no. Nothing. So I've been quite -- two years ago here I don't know what the heck happened. But I was out for awhile after that. A couple weeks. I couldn't, you can't hit it around here the whole -- it's over. So that was a bad -- but it was good today to actually come back and play 18 holes that was nice. Instead of four. Yeah. That was fun.

JOHN DEVER: Thank you, sir.

ROCCO MEDIATE: You bet. I just have to remember what press rooms look like. Now I remember this. Yeah. Camera and the microphones and stuff. That's nice.

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