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August 4, 2010

Rocco Mediate


MARK STEVENS: I'd like to welcome Rocco Mediate. Rocco, you're going to be making your third start here. Last week you fired a 63. Are you looking to join the 50s sometime soon?
ROCCO MEDIATE: It's not going great out there. Last week it was kind of -- we all knew last week there were going to be some lows, and there were. Greens were soft and course was short. Here it's a little different.
MARK STEVENS: Questions?

Q. Rocco, in that vein, the year started with talk that scores were going to be more difficult with the change in the wedge rule, and we've had a streak recently of 60s and a couple 59s. Is that a product of the courses that you're playing and conditions that are right for that or is something else going on?
ROCCO MEDIATE: Everybody's really, really good; and the conditions. You know, John Deere, soft, greens perfect. West Virginia, soft, fairways moving, greens soft, wedges in your hand all day.
I said on the Grey Goose thing out there they've ripped the grass off this place and I was pretty much right. There's a lot of low scores. And that's what -- the conditions have to be that way for scores that low. I mean they have to be soft, and the greens have to be really good or you can't do it.

Q. And I want to get into the mindset of things, though. Grant those same conditions that happened last week, but move it back 15 years. With the mindset 62 is good and that's where my target is, that's my four-minute mile and it stops or is there a mindset thing that's going on that's different?
ROCCO MEDIATE: Well, it's like once someone starts shooting those low scores, 58, 9, 60, whatever, 61, you think it's out there. It is a mindset, it's a total mindset.
I never thought like when I went out Saturday, I wasn't thinking I was going to go shoot 59. I was just going to try to shoot under par, trying to get back into the swing there. And all of a sudden you're turning 3 or 4-under and you get a couple more quick birdies and all of a sudden you go, we'll just keep going. Where, you know, maybe 15 years ago, it's hard to say.
Those scores, Geiberger shot it in '77 and it didn't happen again until '99, so 22 years then. And then it started happening more frequently. Guys are longer; courses are in way better condition than they were back then. And most of the time you're going to see it on wet conditions or short golf courses with perfect greens.

Q. Which Greenbrier was.
ROCCO MEDIATE: Yeah. Greenbrier's fairways were moving, but the greens were ball stop almost in a divot. So you get the best guys in the world 9-irons down the whole day, it's going to be all over, I mean all over. Two par-5s that most of the field could reach every day, I'd say one of them was tough, but most of them could reach. You're going to see some low, low scores.
And then you saw Stuart, he just kept going because you know, once -- Paul seemed to open the flood gates for some reason because every since that score there's been a whole bunch of low scores. And you know, if we had firm, fast conditions last week, it wouldn't have happened because those greens are so tricky. Not taking anything away from the low scores, but it's just hard to get the ball close to the green.

Q. Based on what you've seen so far this week in practice rounds, what do you expect the lowest score to be and the winning score?
ROCCO MEDIATE: That's hard. I could never predict a winning score, but this golf course is absolutely perfect. The fairways are moving a little bit. Rained last night, I guess. And the greens are like a pool table.
So it just depends. Much longer golf course, though. It's not wedges every hole. Par-3s are real good here, 11 a real good hole. Par-5s, there's a few of them, 18 most people can't reach. What, 12, you know, it's it can be reached if the wind's right for me.
What's the other one? 8. 8's a long hole, too. So it's not going to be quite as prolifically low score. Someone can go shoot 62 anywhere, but it's hard to predict.
I don't think we're going to keep seeing 59s every week, if that's what you're thinking. It's not going to happen.

Q. Rocco, we have a kid, Gavin Hall here, he's just short of 16 years old playing a PGA event. Just wondering what your reaction is, and how old were you when you first played your first PGA event?

Q. That's pretty young.
ROCCO MEDIATE: Yeah. Back then it was. You know, now these guys, kids, there's so many good players. One kid just shot 58 or 7 a couple weeks ago, whoever in the hell that was. It's a totally different ball game nowadays.
When I got on TOUR, I learned to play out here. You don't get to learn anymore. You have to be really, really good or you don't get to come out here. So it's changed in 25 years since I started, big time.
So a 16-year-old in a TOUR event, not surprised. Everybody's getting good, fast. I didn't even start playing until I was 15.

Q. Do the players mind 15-year-olds playing in events like this?
ROCCO MEDIATE: No. I mean I don't. If he got a sponsor exemption or he qualified, so be it. That's just up to whoever -- I don't care how old he is. I think it's kind of cool.
You know, when I started, if you were 20, 21, that was like ridiculously young to play in an event. Davis and I qualified, we were pretty young when we qualified. I was 21; he was 20. That was young back then.
Now, like you said, 16-year-olds playing, it's unbelievable. Guys are getting good. No, it doesn't bother me. I wouldn't think so. If it does, shame on them. If someone's angry that a 15 or 16-year-old's playing, don't come. I think it's great.

Q. Two years have passed since Torrey Pines. Are you still reminded of that on a daily basis?
ROCCO MEDIATE: Every single day.

Q. How often every day?
ROCCO MEDIATE: Depends where I am.

Q. How about here?
ROCCO MEDIATE: A few times already. 10 or 12 times someone's said something. It must have made an impact or something. I don't know.

Q. Had you won, what would have been different?
ROCCO MEDIATE: I'd have had a big-ass trophy and a 10-year exemption. I don't even care about that. It's just the trophy would have been cool. The rest of it, I mean it's nice and it's great, but who cares? It's the trophy.
The medal that I got, I don't even know where it is, to tell you the truth.
It was fun. It was a great day. I loved the whole day. I'd like to do it again, actually, to tell you the truth. It was one of the things you dream about.

Q. It was tremendous theater for golf and the whole history of golf, and maybe when you're 80 you'll look back and say that was a great moment. And maybe you do now.
ROCCO MEDIATE: I do. I thought it was fantastic. I learned a lot about a lot of things that day.

Q. But is there the pain? Is there the hurt?
ROCCO MEDIATE: I wouldn't say that. You just wonder. You know, you just wonder. It's not pain. It hasn't affected the way I play or hasn't destroyed my career or my life at all. In fact, it made it a little bit better.
But you just wonder, like God, I wonder if he'd have missed that or if I'd have made one or whatever, what would have been different, besides the money and all that other crap. What would have changed? I don't know. I really don't know.
But you can't look at it that way because that's a situation that I wanted to have that opportunity to go up against this guy, whether it be U.S. Open, kind of the ultimate situation. You'd never think that would happen, but it's what I always wanted to have. Wouldn't have mattered if it was the Buick Open, but the fact that I got the chance at our national level was all you could ever dream about.
And what I did that day I'm proud of. I performed as good as I could perform, especially the last eight holes. As good as I could do, all the stuff I learned my whole life came out, especially those last eight holes, and I did not miss the center once. And that meant a lot to me.
And you know, the reason, the things I haven't played well last year and most of this year until recently, and it's just because of how it is right now. It's not because I think about this moment or I should be the U.S. Open champion. That's not anything. It's just the way it is. I'm 47. I'm not the most healthy person in the world back-wise. So it's been difficult.
But I'm working harder than ever. So I expect I can still win golf tournaments, and I know I can. I just gotta get it out of me somehow. I think all of us can say that, but I know I can. I've done it before. And I'm better now than I was then. I just have to pull it out somehow, and that's what I'm working on tirelessly, by the way. I've played more golf this year than I've ever played, and I'm still having fun.
MARK STEVENS: Anything else? Thanks a lot, Rocco. Good luck this week.
ROCCO MEDIATE: You got it, guys. No problem.

End of FastScripts

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