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June 14, 2008

Rocco Mediate


Full Audio Interview

Q. For a moment you were a fan there?

ROCCO MEDIATE: I'm always a fan, always have been.

Q. Is Tiger completely out of his mind?

ROCCO MEDIATE: Completely out of his mind. The stuff he does, it's unreal. It was an amazing day, it's one of the best days I've ever had on a golf course like this. And obviously I would have loved to finish 4- or 5-under, but so would everybody else. Play is hard.

Q. Is it fun to -- you were following him, when you're seeing this happen?

ROCCO MEDIATE: Yeah, right. It's fine. You've just got to keep doing -- I kept doing what I was doing and just caught two really bad lies on 15, I mean really, even in the first cut I was toast, my club grabbed. But that happens here. I've had pretty good lies all week, so I just was toast there. And I got it in. Made a good birdie on 17 and was pleased. And almost birdied the last.

Q. But he's right in front of you --

ROCCO MEDIATE: What the heck, what is he doing? What are you doing? Stop it. (Laughter) You've got to look at it that way. It's not like it makes you do anything different. I'm not trying to hit shots harder, I'm trying to play the game this course demands. Where I'm playing from is a lot longer, I have to be precise or I'll get ripped. It's been fun for me. What am I, 1-under par or even? Tomorrow you never know.

Q. You've said this is your favorite event. You've said it many times. Given that, what is your position, what did this day mean to you?

ROCCO MEDIATE: I know what I liked, I hit my ball really, really good most of the day. It was in front of me. I missed a couple of shots but I really liked the way I reacted. When I had the lead -- I was nervous, very nervous but very comfortable. I played with the lead a lot yesterday, too.

And today the longest I've had, made one little mistake and I got ripped, that's what The Open does to you. I loved today, I couldn't be happier.

Q. You said you were nervous?

ROCCO MEDIATE: Absolutely. It was a good nervous. I knew that, first of all the world is watching, which is really cool. I love that. You've just got to keep doing what you're doing, but it's hard to do. I love that feeling. I'll feel the same way tomorrow morning or afternoon.

Q. You said the other day, you said, I may not have many more of these left?

ROCCO MEDIATE: You never know. I'd like to have three or four -- play in three or four, five more Opens, I'd love to. But to get close to the lead it doesn't happen every time, especially when you're 45 and-a-half years old.

Q. To be a part of this theater, has got to be --

ROCCO MEDIATE: It's the greatest, to be part of the era that Tiger is in, and the dream for me would have been to be in the last group tomorrow. That's what I want to do. Before I came here this week I told everybody, that's what I want to try to do. I don't care if I win or lose, I want to be there.

Q. Why?

ROCCO MEDIATE: Because he's the best that's ever played. He's the best that plays now. And you want a chance to go up against him. Sure, he's probably going to win, but he might not. You just don't know that. And you always -- he relishes the same thing. He wants to kill you, of course, like we all want to win, but if he doesn't win it's the most sportsman thing you could ever see. Yeah, that's what I wanted to do, and I missed, I just missed.

Q. For all you've gone through with your injuries, with the ruptured disk, with the last time you've won, how would you summarize what a week like this means in the whole scope of your journey?

ROCCO MEDIATE: Well, it tells me that I still have what it takes to compete at a pretty high level, I guess you'd say, one of the highest levels so far.

I'm ecstatic, that's the best I've played in that type of situation consistently for -- maybe ever, maybe ever, in a Major event. At Augusta when I had the week there my back went by bye-bye. I couldn't finish. But in this case, so far so good. And like I said, tomorrow, you never know. You might go out and shoot 66 tomorrow. I'd like to have a shot at it and see what happens.

Q. (Inaudible.)

ROCCO MEDIATE: Absolutely. I'm not afraid of the scoreboard, it can't do anything to you, it doesn't punch or anything, it just looks at you. It was great. I kept hitting good shot after good shot after good shot. It was a blast. It's what you want. I was actually kind of shocked I was in this position and was so cool. Not shocked, but it's hard to believe sometimes because the fans were unbelievable to me, to everybody, really, but amazing I just -- I loved it. They're just insane out there.

Q. Last year at the Open, how disappointing was that to you not to play in it last year?

ROCCO MEDIATE: I missed in the playoff last year, and I made it in a playoff this year. It was a disappointment, but what are you going to do? I had a comeback year last year, I couldn't let that affect me. I would have loved to play, but this is awesome, this place.

Q. What do you think the fans see in your Rocco?

ROCCO MEDIATE: Themselves, themselves. Just say normal, everyday person who's a bit on the crazy side.

Q. Why do you say that?

ROCCO MEDIATE: I don't know, I talk a lot more with them. I had them laughing their buts off on 18 because as Tiger was standing there hitting the second shot, I said, everybody listen, because after he hits it it's going to go crazy. And I went like this (indicating), and of course they went crazy and the same with the putt. You almost want to tell them, just don't bother, because you know it's going to go in, it's just what he does. I just love it. I love it. I'm fortunate to do what I do and especially in a theater like this, so I'm going to enjoy the heck out of it.

Q. You say they see themselves?

ROCCO MEDIATE: Just a normal dude. Pretty much normal. I'm not real -- I don't know, I'm just normal. I talk more, whatever, and I'll give them crap if they give me crap. That's what they want.

Q. Standing there in the middle of the 13th fairway when he did that, how loud was it?

ROCCO MEDIATE: It was unbelievable. You could see it, I said, did you see what he just did? Anyway, it's just amazing.

Q. His putt on 18, his look afterwards was as if he said the other two were some luck involved, but that one on 18 he looked as if, yep, that's what I do, check the top of the leaderboard?

ROCCO MEDIATE: That's what he does. It is what he does (laughter), but just once, can't someone else do it? Come on.

Q. Everyone knows your signature shot, you stand over it and say this is the one. He stands over it and drops it in?

ROCCO MEDIATE: He's the best that ever walked on grass that played golf, whether he beats Jack's record or not, forget it, it's just the most amazing display of athletic, mental power that there is, there ever was. Look at him, he hasn't played in ten weeks. There's no surprise to me, but he hasn't played for ten weeks. And he comes here. So I'm not surprised. I'm looking forward to tomorrow. I can't wait to see what happens tomorrow.

Q. What's the most important thing for you tomorrow?

ROCCO MEDIATE: Fairways and greens, period. That's it. That's the most important thing for all of us, especially me, because I can't get to these greens out of the rough where I'm driving the ball. I'm not driving it 300 yards. So I have to be really good off the tee. And so far I have been fairly decent off the tee and not in the rough too many times. In the first cut a bunch of time times, but that's okay.

Q. Did you think you were going to hit a lot of these greens?

ROCCO MEDIATE: I putted at Muirfield a few weeks ago. I've been putting okay. And I grew up on poa so that doesn't affect me any. They're perfect; a little bumpy at the end, but that's what poa does. You have to putt on them, no big deal. But they set it up beautiful again today. It was cool today what they did, moved 10 up, moved 13 up. Tomorrow they'll go back. I think we'll see the whole golf course tomorrow. I think so.

Q. You hit driver on 14, if they move it up to 277 --

ROCCO MEDIATE: I don't know if it's worth it, because you can't get to that back pin. You can hit it in the front bunker, but if you don't make it there, and it catches up in the grass, which it will, it's that high -- it's one of those things you come to the hole and decide what the heck you're going to do depending where you're at in the tournament. You're not going to win the tournament there, but you can lose it there for sure.

Q. Is there a low number out there for somebody?

ROCCO MEDIATE: I think there is. I definitely think there is. There hasn't been one yet. Actually what did Miguel shoot? 66? It's there.

Q. What have you been hitting into 12?

ROCCO MEDIATE: I hit two Callaway hybrid clubs and a 3-iron today. That's fine. That green will accept a driver coming in there.

Q. (Inaudible.)

ROCCO MEDIATE: 6? I hit -- well, I had a layup because I hit a bunker one day. I hit a hybrid club and a 3-iron. Today I had 247 to the hole. I had a ten foot birdie putt, so not bad. It's hard to hit shots that long on the green, it is hard.

End of FastScripts

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