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June 15, 2008

Rocco Mediate


Full Audio Interview

ROCCO MEDIATE: I bet you didn't think I'd be here today, did you? I believe you, I know you didn't think I'd be here. You didn't, really? That hurt. Go ahead, sorry.

RAND JERRIS: Well, Rocco, you are here today, tell us how you're doing right now.

ROCCO MEDIATE: I have nothing left right now. I'm toast. It was the most amazing day of golf I've ever experienced. Tomorrow is going to be pretty amazing, too, but today was absolutely remarkable.

I've never been there like that before. And I just found out what it's all about. It doesn't matter how you get it in, you've just got to get in and trust what you've worked on all your life. The putting. There's no technical anything going on, it's all make the ball go where you want it to go. It's amazing.

The thing that's most amazing is the man I'm going to play tomorrow has won 13 of these. It's amazing how much it takes. I gave all of what I had today and I can't complain. I knew he'd make that putt.

RAND JERRIS: You really enjoyed yourself. Did you enjoy yourself today?

ROCCO MEDIATE: Yeah, I had a blast. It was hard. I kept trying to do what I was doing. I hit a lot of good shots. Made a lot of putts today for me, when I needed them, big ones, to keep the momentum going. And missed a couple, but I made a few.

It was a blast. I've never had more fun and more insanity. It's just amazing. Some of the shots that came off I was very pleased to see what I did without having ever done anything like that before. I've won golf tournaments, but not like this one.

Q. Can you talk about what were your thoughts about the 18-hole playoff format before this. Do you like sudden death, do you like three or four holes at the British, what are your thoughts?

ROCCO MEDIATE: I think the 18-hole playoff for the National Open is the way to go. Maybe some day we'll go to a four hole, but that's just for TV, I don't know what the deal would be.

But I think it's a great way -- you play for your national title for four days, and if you go bogey the first hole, I don't know, I think it's more important than that.

Q. You would like to go back out right now, though?

ROCCO MEDIATE: I don't know if I could. (Laughter).

I'd probably find a way. But I think tomorrow it's like he came up and said, "We have a game tomorrow", I said, "Yeah, I'll see you in the morning. I'll see you in the morning, big man."

Q. At the beginning of last year you've got a headset on and you're doing TV and your playing career is somewhat in doubt. I guess put that in context and what this means to be 45 years old and having the greatest moment of your career.

ROCCO MEDIATE: Yeah, it is. I can't explain it. It was, after the announcing bit, I was pretty in bad shape. And I met a woman who's over here somewhere, Cindy is over here somewhere, who saved me. You've heard this I'm sure before. Made me able to play again and found the problems and all of a sudden I've had one setback since then. And it was a disk anyway, no one could have prevented that.

And that's what made me able to keep going. She denies that vehemently, like she didn't do anything. But I certainly wouldn't be sitting here if I wasn't fixed, for sure. And on this type of golf course you have to be.

This is a big one for me. This is a long one for me, so, yeah, a lot of things happened. Talking about was I ever going to play again or do this or have a chance to win one of these, get back to Augusta National, which I still have some things to settle, there, and I've done that, too, which is cool. Yeah, I get back in there. So, all that stuff, I can't really believe I'm sitting here, I really can't.

Q. What was your strategy on 18?

ROCCO MEDIATE: Well, I figured if I'd kill one I might be able to get there. I hit a pretty good one, but I over hit it. I over hit a couple of times coming in, but that's just how it is.

I had 247 to the front, which in the situation I was in I probably wouldn't have went if I was in the middle of the fairway. It might have, I'll never know. Just to put a wedge -- I had 106 yards. And I thought I hit it the right distance, but it's just so hard to make it go 106 yards -- I hit it -- maybe seven or eight yards too far.

But I saw it, and I wasn't thinking about, oh, my God, don't hit it in the lake or something like that. I was just trying to get another putt at it. That's the only strategy I had. I'd be going in there with a 3-wood or hybrid club, and who knows, who knows in that situation.

Q. We've seen Sunday at a Major, particularly against Woods, great players freeze up under the pressure. Obviously you're out there having a great time, continuing to laugh and smile. How hard was it to try that? Can you do that tomorrow and have as much fun as you --

ROCCO MEDIATE: Absolutely. Oh, my God, I get to play for the National Open against the best player on earth, that maybe has ever played. How much more could you ask for?

Yeah, I would have loved to have a birdie, but I didn't, so I get to play him tomorrow. You just don't know what can happen. I don't know, what did he shoot today? 73. So it's going to take around par tomorrow. I'm sure they'll do some fun things. I don't know what they'll do tomorrow. But I couldn't be happier with what happened today.

Q. Why can you do it and others can't?

ROCCO MEDIATE: I don't know, I'm nuts. Come on, seriously. I've always been that way. It's nervous energy, anyway. I can't be quiet, that's for sure. But I obviously won't bother anybody, I don't do that, either. I'll talk to people outside before I -- but Tiger will talk a bit, I'm sure. He has no choice. (Laughter).

It will be sure a lot of fun.

Q. As much respect as you have for him and his record in match play, how do you keep that from getting in your head and play your game?

ROCCO MEDIATE: It's stroke play, though. There's a bit of difference. I have nothing to lose, I really don't have anything to lose. I can't believe I'm in the situation, I can't wait to go see what I've got against the man. I can't wait to see what I've got against him. I know what he has.

But it's heads up and we'll see how it goes. It will be exciting. But I'm sure there's going to be a lot of heat on me, too, because I know that I'm playing the best player in the world. And I'm 158th player in the world. But that will change this week, too (Laughter.)

It won't get to 2nd, but it won't be 158th. So tomorrow will be a -- I'll be nervous as a cat like I always am when I play. And once I get to the first tee I'll try to hit the fairway and go on.

Q. Amid all the fun you're having and all the praise you have for Tiger, discuss a little bit the competitiveness that you obviously, the sense of that, that you have to have to be in this situation?

ROCCO MEDIATE: To go up against the best player in the world and have a chance to beat him, there's nothing else you can ask for, period.

Of course I want to win. Of course I do. I wanted to win today and I thought I had a pretty good shot at it. And I made him do something today and he did it, which is amazing. He does it all the time.

But he hadn't had to do that -- I don't know if he's done it in a Major before. But to hit it out where he hit it, out of the rough, and makes the putt.

But I made him do that. If I make a mistake, that's to win, and he'll make it anyway. The competitiveness, of course I'm going to try to win. He wants to kill me. I want to kill him. That's just how it is. But it's going to be a very entertaining day, I can assure you of that.

Q. You mentioned nervous energy, but some people say that patience is one of the virtues to win on the U.S. Open course. So how do you square that off?

ROCCO MEDIATE: You know, I have no idea because I am so impatient, it's unbelievable. I really can't answer the question. But I know -- I don't know, you just know where to miss here. There are some places where you can play from. On 15 I didn't miss in the right spot. On most of the places I did. And I was able to get up-and-down or whatever.

I don't know what you want to call it, but patience, it's all about that, you know. You just don't know. I'm thinking yesterday, that I probably have to shoot 2, 3-under par to have a chance. I shot even par and just about won. So that's what these courses do. I knew at the beginning of the week somewhere around par is going to win, and it is. We're both 1-under par.

Q. You said earlier this course is very long for you and you also said I made him do something today. So what's the game plan for tomorrow? Are you going to be aggressive and try to make Tiger do something or are you just going to try to shoot around and hope you end up one less?

ROCCO MEDIATE: Yeah, it's all about fairways and greens in this joint. And that's what he's going to try to do and that's what I'm going to try to do. And that's who's going to win the battle tomorrow, you can believe that. That's what we have to do. I don't really know if you could call it match play, because it isn't. It's a stroke play deal, and it's going to be -- I can't believe I'm -- it's going to be a blast.

Q. You said yesterday you were a little disappointed that you weren't matched up with Tiger on the final day.

ROCCO MEDIATE: Yeah, I really tried -- I really wanted to get in that final -- why wouldn't I want to play with him? If we get in a fight, yeah, I have a problem (laughter). He's for sure going to kick my butt.

But we're just going to play golf. It shouldn't stop me from being able to play. I'm sure Tiger will tell you the same thing. I posted a number and it didn't stop him from posting the same number, you just have to do that. That's what I meant when I said I made him do that. He had to birdie 18 to get through tomorrow.

Q. I think you said on TV, and people have watched him and sensed he makes the big putt, he makes the big shot. Did you stand there saying, I knew he was going to do it?

ROCCO MEDIATE: Absolutely, I knew he was going to hit it. When Lee just left his short, I said to Rolf, I said, I bet you this putt has speed. That's what he does. He doesn't care about the outcome. He doesn't care about the next one.

Q. What should be the odds here?

ROCCO MEDIATE: I don't know, you guys can set those. I think it will be, what -- I don't know, a little bit behind the odds that I will win. I don't know, it's just going to be -- I don't know how you make odds on that. But like I said, it's -- who knew I would be here playing against him tomorrow. And you better watch yourself tomorrow, pal (laughter). See, he's a little nervous right now (laughter). He's nervous. It's going to be a blast, guys. I'm happy to be here. And we'll give you a show, I'm sure.

RAND JERRIS: Thank you very much for your time. Good luck tomorrow.

End of FastScripts

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