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March 18, 2007

Rocco Mediate


Q. Just with the leaderboard and the difficulty of the golf course, did it feel at all like a mini-major?
ROCCO MEDIATE: Oh, I was thinking about that all day. I only drove it -- I missed one fairway, the last one unfortunately. That was the best I hit over the ball, it's just going to be a hard, nasty little hook out there and didn't hook. Stayed to the right. It definitely, the greens are getting -- No. 15 is dead. It doesn't have a green. It's just brown now. So they are getting very firm and very crusty very fast.

Q. The big names on the leaderboard, the atmosphere?
ROCCO MEDIATE: It's great. I'm just happy to be around.

Q. While you were on the course, you and Vijay and Sergio were the only guys out there under par.
ROCCO MEDIATE: It's hard. I was just trying to make all pars. I wasn't even thinking about making birdies. I didn't care. You know, fairways and greens, fairways and greens and I was doing that.
I missed a couple fairways but they were just barely, you know. I had to try to get a little aggressive, but you really can't out here. There's nowhere to hit the ball. With the clubs I'm hitting in -- maybe Vijay is hitting it so much further, he's hitting a lot shorter irons, but I can't go at some of these flags.

Q. What kind of bonus was 6?
ROCCO MEDIATE: That was cool because -- inaudible -- I had a horrible lie and I just let the toe do its work and it went in. I was lucky. I was just trying to make a four. Then I hit a real good shot on 9 which was another crazy downwind hard green and made that. So I was very much thinking about trying to birdie like -- when I turned I was thinking more about birdies but pins were so tough, just hard to get close to them.

Q. I know you were trying to win but a little while goes by and you step back and look, will there be relief that your year is made --
ROCCO MEDIATE: Ridiculous satisfaction.

Q. (Inaudible.)
ROCCO MEDIATE: I found this week that it works; my golf swing does work. I putted fairly well, I did everything as good as I could this week, just about except for a couple of shots yesterday. This is huge.

Q. Now you can sort of play --
ROCCO MEDIATE: I still have to call and ask for exemptions all the time, but I'll do it if I have to. I'll play the Monday Pro-Am, do the pairing parties, I enjoy it. People have been good to me for 22 years, so I try to give a little bit back.

Q. What will your schedule be like now?
ROCCO MEDIATE: I have no idea. I don't even know what's going to happen today.

Q. Do you usually go to Houston?
ROCCO MEDIATE: I haven't been to the new course at Houston. I'm thinking of going. We'll see how it goes.

Q. That tee shot on 17 --
ROCCO MEDIATE: Oh, my God, that one, I hit it exactly how I wanted to hit it. And you know, Marty said "Don't go at the flag" and I said, yeah, whatever, because I'm trying to make a 2 which is not the smartest move. But if I make 2, I might win the golf tournament who, knows. Just hit it about as clean as I could hit it. Hit it a foot short of perfect.

Q. What did you hit there?
ROCCO MEDIATE: 3-iron. The other guys are coming in with fours and fives but I'm old.

Q. So you can't pick up birdies coming down the stretch but you step up to 18 --
ROCCO MEDIATE: I was trying to hit a hard, running hook to get a 6- or 7-iron on it to go to that flagstick, and I just blocked it. Still makes me mad because I'm swinging too good to hit that crap.

Q. A lot of guys birdied 18 to finish off pretty good rounds, Friday, Saturday, and even today and everything, so 18 is not really a killer hole this weekend.
ROCCO MEDIATE: Well, yesterday and today it was harder than the first two days because it was into the wind. Still, with the equipment now, you can hit 4-, 5-, 6-iron in there or 7-iron into the wind; I'm hitting 4-iron, 3-wood sometimes.

Q. Are you feeding off the crowd?
ROCCO MEDIATE: Oh, I love it here, tremendous crowds. I know a lot of people here. It's just fun. 18 was cool.

Q. Why do you think they like you so much?
ROCCO MEDIATE: I have no idea. If they knew me, they definitely wouldn't like me.
I kind of went to school down the street at Lakeland and I've been coming here for 22 years, and I try to say hello a lot and talk and smile and stuff.

Q. If Vijay winds up winning this, either you or him would have been a blow for the old guys either way.
ROCCO MEDIATE: He's won enough. He's going to win this one, too. But no, I'm way ahead of schedule right now, believe me, when I tell you after the last couple of years, way ahead of schedule. I'm ahead of schedule.

Q. Is there a piece of you that will think if yesterday had even been 73 --
ROCCO MEDIATE: No. I might have shot 75, you just never know. I just knew I could still win the golf tournament after that birdie on 18 yesterday. And I was right, a couple more things, I might have won the golf tournament. But I can't look at it that way. I don't have time.

Q. Best you've hit the ball since, when?
ROCCO MEDIATE: This whole -- since Los Angeles is when it really turned and everything felt just remarkably well. I have never felt this good, and I don't remember the last time I felt this good, maybe ever, which makes me a lot happier because when I was feeling bad, it's hard to be happy, geez.
I'm ecstatic. I can't blame one shot in the last month on my body and I love that.

Q. I know you were going to try anyway, but does this give you encouragement as far as qualifying for Oakmont?
ROCCO MEDIATE: Oh, yeah, absolutely. I'm going to try to get in the easy way and get in Money List or World Rankings, I have a shot at that if I keep playing. And that's fun to say because sometimes after a good week, I wasn't able to play for three weeks. I feel great right now.

Q. Was that any kind of motivation this year to make sure you got to Oakmont?
ROCCO MEDIATE: I really just wanted to feel better and if I feel better, I'll get there. If I feel better I'll get there.

Q. So you're saying feeling better is more important to you than how you finish right now?
ROCCO MEDIATE: Absolutely. Because now I can keep playing. I've always said, if I'm healthy, I can make a good living out here and I can still win golf tournaments, and I'm healthy. So hopefully I can win. I played good, but hopefully I can win soon, because I know I can. It's just a matter of doing it. Time will tell.

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