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June 14, 2008

Rocco Mediate


Full Audio Interview

RAND JERRIS: It's a pleasure to welcome Rocco Mediate to the media center. Rocco with a round of 1-under par, 1-over par, 72 this afternoon. 1-under par for the championship. Rocco, we understand you were asking Tiger Woods a question up in the Flash area, could you tell us about that question.

ROCCO MEDIATE: Yeah, I just -- I just, it was just a perfect opportunity so I jumped back in with all the other media and I said, "Excuse me, Mr. Woods," and he was walking off, I said, "Are you out of your mind what you're doing out there? Come on."

So it was funny. It was funny. He was beautiful. He put his head, he did a little high five and he's amazing. Just like a broken record.

RAND JERRIS: Tell us a little bit about your round.

ROCCO MEDIATE: I had a great day. I had one little mistake on 15 pretty much. A couple of 3-putts, but that happens. And I caught two crappy lies on 15 and I paid. I made what I would call a pretty good six, unfortunately, but I finished pretty good with the birdie on 17. It wasn't one of my best days ever on the golf course in this type of event for sure.

RAND JERRIS: Ask you just to walk through the birdies and bogeys on your card.

ROCCO MEDIATE: Well, I hit a pitching wedge on 2, just about 12 feet right of the hole. Maybe a little bit longer, 15 feet. Made that.

Then I birdied 5 with an 8-iron from about 10, 12 feet, something like that.

Then on 10, hit a cut pitching wedge on 10 about eight feet above it and made it.

Then I 3-putted 3 and I 3-putted 13. And pretty, I shouldn't have 3-putted either one of them. I guess we can always say that, but I shouldn't have.

Then I made a double on 15.

And I bogeyed 16. Hit it in the left bunker and it was pretty dead.

And then birdied 17 with a good 7-iron to, I don't know 15, 18 feet. All in all a good day.

Q. You sort of had a front row seat for Tiger's eagle there when you were waiting.

ROCCO MEDIATE: Yeah, the antics, yeah, I saw it all. I saw it all.

Q. What does that do you to you at that point?

ROCCO MEDIATE: Nothing. It's just, you know, it's such a great arena, this golf tournament, and the fans are unbelievable this week. Something is going on. Maybe because he was in front of us, it was just exciting all day, it was just cool to be part of that. It doesn't really change the way you're trying to do anything. I was just trying to hit fairways and greens. I can't worry at all about what he's up to or anybody else is up to. And it's just matter of getting it in like that. Just fairways and greens, because I have to hit them. I can't play out of that stuff at all.

So it's just doesn't really affect you. It's like you want to be there, you want to get right up there with him and stay there and play with him every day out there. That's what you want to do because then you know you're playing really great.

So I missed the pairing by one and I'm a bit disappointed, because I would have loved to have had that tomorrow. How many chances do you have to do that? So, but maybe he'll get to watch me do something good tomorrow, you never know.


Q. As well as you're playing, as well as Lee's playing, other people near the leaderboard, when Tiger has a lead going into the final round you as you know --

ROCCO MEDIATE: He's never lost.

Q. Right.

ROCCO MEDIATE: Yeah, I know about all that.

Q. How difficult --

ROCCO MEDIATE: It's going to take a ridiculous round by one of us to beat him. If we go out and shoot 4- or 5-under par one of us, you never know. But you can't ever count anything. It's just you can't really predict anything that's going to happen.

When he has a lead, he's never lost. So that means he's never lost. So chances are that could happen tomorrow. But you just never know, you know. It's not over yet. And I'm sure he'll tell you the same thing. Because this is a U.S. Open course and you just don't know what the heck is going to happen sometimes.

But it will take a pretty spectacular, it will take a perfect day, a perfectly clean day for me with making five or six birdies and no bogeys to win this golf tournament. And that still might not do it. You never know. But it will take something crazy.

Q. How do you keep from maybe trying to make too much happen tomorrow?

ROCCO MEDIATE: You can't on this golf course, it doesn't let you. You have to take your shots, you have to, no matter what, especially with the clubs I'm hitting to some of these greens. I'm hitting 6-iron -- when he's hitting a 6-iron I'm hitting a three or four iron. So it's not quite -- I fancy myself good with those clubs, but it doesn't matter, I can't put the ball the way you can with a 6-iron.

So I have to take my time and hopefully get off to a good start and there's some short holes coming up, coming at you on No. 2 and 5 is a playing short and that's about it. There's a few more here or there.

So, I have to be perfect tomorrow and make everything tomorrow to have a shot at this golf tournament. That's what I know. Which is fine. I don't mind knowing that.

Q. You've played with pain before, do golfers get enough credit for playing with pain?

ROCCO MEDIATE: It's hard to really say. We all, I think every one of us hurts. Sometimes it's worse than others. But a lot of times just the littlest thing can take us down. It's ridiculous, actually. But it can. Because it's such an unnatural motion the golf swing. No matter how good you are at it or how -- I'm trying to think of the word -- biomechanically sound you are with the motion of your body and golf swing, it's still not right. It does something to you. It's insane all the stuff we do.

And, but I don't know. I really don't know. It's hard to say. It's like I said, the littlest thing can stop you. That's the weird thing about this game. Whereas, if you're a football player you can have a broken arm and still play. It doesn't make a lot of sense.

Q. You had quite a bit of interaction with the crowd today. Unlike I mean 99.9 percent of the players out there who ignore the crowd as much as they can. Are you going to just let that roll and kind of --

ROCCO MEDIATE: Oh, yeah. Tomorrow won't be different than today. I have pretty much the greatest job ever, so I get to play this game for a living and then I get play in the U.S. Open and play particularly well so far.

Yeah, it's going to be a lot of fun tomorrow. I just hope I do the same thing I have done the last couple day, but just a touch better. But I enjoy it. I enjoy it.

Q. If you covered this before, sorry, but where were you this time last year at Oakmont?

ROCCO MEDIATE: I missed Oakmont by one. I don't know where I was. Let's see. I don't know where the heck I was. Probably at home. I was in Pennsylvania, I think. He was in Pennsylvania, I come from Greensburg, so that's just right down the street so I think I was home that week. I don't remember.

Q. As much as you interact with the crowd and hear encouragement, what was it like to walk up to the fifth green and they're not just yelling your name but --

ROCCO MEDIATE: Oh, man, it was unbelievable. Yeah, they're so loud too. I, it's just an honor, really. I mean, amazing that they -- but they're -- it's -- they just -- it's -- this tournament does that, it seems like it's like that every year. I haven't been like this in this position every year but this has been amazing. It's been great. You feed off of it. I love it. It's a lot of fun. And there's a zillion of them out there today. How many people showed up today? Yeah, it was unbelievable.

Q. You seem to be having the time of your life.


Q. Everybody else seems to be playing, I mean they just seem to be slightly pained in their motions and what they're going through. What is it about this tournament that just excites you so much?

ROCCO MEDIATE: I just love it. It's our National Open and I just, I love the whole way it's done. I love the tightening down of the golf course every day and how difficult it can be and it's just, I love that par means something. What's Tiger at 3-under? Par means something. And I'm what? I played my butt off this week and I'm 1-under par. I mean that's what, that's great when that happens.

And it's all fair. This is the most fairest, best setup U.S. Open golf course I played on, and I think I played 13 of them. And I've played good -- they have been all good ones, but this one seems, I don't know, it's just good. Mike Davis did an amazing job. The whole staff did. But changing it around, we have never seen different changes like this. At least I haven't, in any open I've played. It's cool.

Q. Talking about that final pairing with Tiger, with the possible exception of Bob May in those 13 wins, most of the people that have played with him have fared rather poorly in that final round. Do you not buy into the notion that playing with Tiger the final day at a Major when he's in the lead is the most difficult pairing you could possibly draw?

ROCCO MEDIATE: It's the most -- it is a difficult pairing. Not because -- because it's just, it's just so much going on. There's so many things going on. He's the best in the game. So everybody's watching and most everybody is pulling for him.

But I, I don't understand why -- I feel like he either brings the worst out in you, against you, or the best. And I've loved playing with him. Like I said, a handful of times over whatever, however long he's been here, 10, 11 years. And I played some of my best golf with him. And I love that. I love that fact. And nine times out of ten, yeah, he's probably going to kick my butt, but that one time is what you're looking for. Because you can, he's one of those guys where you can say to, you know, I can say to my boys, like when I beat him in Phoenix '99, when he was a couple years out, I can always tell my kids, "I beat the best player in the world this week, guys." It doesn't happen very often. That's the only time I can tell them that, so far.


I just want another chance to try to compete against him. And I would love to get it tomorrow, but you want to see what you have against that. Like I said, probably going to beat you, but you never know. I don't want to lose before I tee off, you know. It's easy to do that. But I, if I get beat, I want to get beat going down and fighting and just like he does. That's what you want to do. You always want to be around the best players. I haven't been there that many times, but I loved it when I have been.

Q. You said earlier that this was one of your best rounds in an event like this. What parts of your game today did you really like?

ROCCO MEDIATE: I just liked -- from yesterday -- well from the first day on, but especially yesterday early, and then a couple mess ups late today, but tee to green I was right on where I was aiming away from holes, which is hard for us to do because every other tournament you can fire right at the flag. You don't get to do that here.

And it's hard to aim away 15 yards left of something when you're always used to -- and I was putting the ball where I needed to put it on, like, especially coming in at 10, 11, 12, I hit three beauties to where I really couldn't go at the flag -- well 10 you could, but 11 and 12 there was nowhere to hit the ball, so you put it over there 30 feet and deal with it.

And I just made a couple mistakes -- even 14, just put it up there 15, 20 feet short of the hole, can't shoot back at that flag, take your three or four hopefully and go.

And that's what I was, I had so much control of my golf ball the last three days, I just loved it. So hopefully it's going to spring me to do something really good the rest of the year or tomorrow for that matter. But it's a big confidence boost, any time you do these -- well, any time you do well in one of these events, there's nothing harder, so, I wish we played three of these a month. Not four, three. You need a week off.


Q. Last year's tournament at Oakmont, you were in your, at the clubhouse at your club, I think.

ROCCO MEDIATE: Yeah, I was. I was there.

Q. Because we played there and we saw you there.

ROCCO MEDIATE: Yeah. There you go. Let me guess, shorts?

Q. Right. Shorts and --

ROCCO MEDIATE: Yeah, that was me.

Q. You looked like you were having a good time, but how tough was it to miss that?

ROCCO MEDIATE: Yeah, it's, it wasn't fun, but it wasn't like devastating or anything like that. After I missed the qualifier last year at Oakmont I remember telling a few people that I'll never go back to one of these qualifiers, I'm too old, kicking my butt, and I was back this year, so, I pretty much lied about that to myself.


Glad I did.

RAND JERRIS: Congratulations on your round and good luck tomorrow.

ROCCO MEDIATE: Thank you. Hopefully see you tomorrow.

End of FastScripts

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