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October 14, 2010

Rocco Mediate


ROCCO MEDIATE: I am getting there. It is coming around nicely. It has been a long time as maybe you have not noticed.
MARK STEVENS: Rocco, thanks for joining us. Great round today, 7 under, 64 after the first round of the Frys.com Open. You mentioned out there that you are playing better. You are feeling good. It is was obviously evident today.
ROCCO MEDIATE: It has all been -- most of us can say this. But it has all been putting just destroying me, whether it be long or short. My back is so good, I don't really need the long (indiscernible) but I kept messing with them. Nothing.
I have been striking it really well for a long time, and I have just gotten murdered on the greens. And then it bleeds into everything else. I was averaging 3, 4, 6, 8, 10 three-putts a week. Even if I played two rounds, I was averaging three or four, five three-putts. There can't be anybody doing that.
I was telling them out there, Mississippi, Scotty Piercy who I played with with the first two rounds, I think I hit 17 greens the first day. I barely got into the evens. Sad. And he said, Hey, look, I can't take watching this anymore. Can I tell you a couple things? I said, Let's go.
And, basically, it is like all the great putters that have played well both sides. I was chipping when I putted. It was pathetic. It was up and out and open. It was terrible.
We got on the green there for just a half hour and he put me in a spot to where everybody else looked the same. All the good putters looked the same, stroke-wise. You know what I mean? And all of a sudden, hitting a couple hundred putts a day on the chalk line, it's changing.
And I don't like to wait for things. I like them to be immediate. I can change a golf swing immediately. But putting, it doesn't make sense to me because I'm (indiscernible) the putter 9 inches immediately. But it's working. I'm putting the time in on the right stuff this time. That's a change in the last few weeks.
Everything else is good. Better late than never.

Q. When did it go bad? I mean, everybody thinks back '08 you almost won the U.S. Open and they do a book on you.

Q. But you had to be putting well to be in contention then.

Q. Was it gradual?
ROCCO MEDIATE: Yeah. The following year in '09, it was just-- God, it was terrible. No matter what I did, it just -- I didn't make any. And my attitude was horrible at that time because it is like if I hit a shot offline with any club in my bag, I pretty much -- in fact, I guarantee I know immediately why it happened.
Well, hitting putts after putts and hitting them offline lousy speed and stuff, I didn't know what was going wrong. So how can I fix it? But I kept trying to.
You know, I spoke with a lot of different people. But I pay attention closely to what the great putters do and that blade barely leaves the ground on both sides.
Stockton was a big proponent of that, too. I just never could get that feel. And I'm starting to get it, starting to. Still a little dicey at times because it is new.
But today was good. I hit a close a lot today. I hit it close in the back nine a bunch of times. I almost made four more birdies on the back nine, by the way. Just missed.
So, yeah, hope to do something good again tomorrow.

Q. After this year to be on top of any leader board --
ROCCO MEDIATE: Well, you know what?

Q. -- what does that mean?
ROCCO MEDIATE: It is just cool because I'm keeping at it. Like I said, physically I'm fine. I'm in good shape, and I will be in better shape for next year. But that was the missing link. I mean, a lot of guys can say it. But -- and I hit so many greens and hit so many good shots. I wasn't getting anything out of it, and it was killing me. And, you know, a lot of us can say it. It is not just me. I am not saying I'm the only one who doesn't make any.
The way we are, I'm thinking the last three holes I hit really good putts and missed them and I'm thinking, "Dang it." I am not thinking of the other ones I made out there. That's just silly. I made a lot of putts today. I had a lot of good shots close to the hole.

Q. Talk about the shot of the day for you.
ROCCO MEDIATE: Yeah, that was cool. That was my second in, like -- since I made one at John Deere.

Q. Oh, that's right.
ROCCO MEDIATE: I made one at John Deere. It was 190, I think, and it carried. Yeah, it carried six, seven -- six steps short of the flag and rolled just barely. It looked like -- it wasn't was those clangers and it just fell in. It was cool. It makes it easier.

Q. (Indiscernible).
ROCCO MEDIATE: (Laughter). Actually enjoying it. As soon as I'm done here, I'm going right to the greens for 20 minutes -- I will be there for four days -- and work on my line and I'm out of here. Eventually, it will bleed in like everything else.
If I keep doing it, it has got to get better. I can see. I can read greens. I have some feel. I have more feeling than I have ever had. It is not like I have the yipps. I am not out there doing it. I was bad.

Q. That was 190 6-iron?

Q. You mentioned when you sat down about we noticed --

Q. I'm just sort of curious, beyond the mechanics of playing, what it's been like public profile-wise?
ROCCO MEDIATE: It hasn't changed.

Q. (Indiscernible).
ROCCO MEDIATE: Believe it or not, they don't care. It is unbelievable the people that I still talk to every single day. It is the coolest thing ever because I don't know how to explain it. Any restaurant, anywhere I go, it is that way. I don't mind that at all. I don't -- that's the job I signed up for. And I have always liked people anyway, for the most part. (Chuckles).
But I definitely enjoy that aspect. They just remember that.

Q. What do they say?
ROCCO MEDIATE: I can't believe -- 47 million times, maybe I'm exaggerating maybe by just a little, "You can't believe how much we were pulling for you. We were going crazy." I mean, everybody. So it is cool.
And I want to get back there again. I want to get back to that situation because I enjoy that. I just haven't been there for so damn long.
Even playing today, it was fun playing with the elite. Even though it is Thursday, I don't care what day it is. It was fun going out there. Everything I did was right.
I think I missed two -- did I miss any greens? I hit one through the green on 11 and that's it. I mean, I putted 18 times. I actually bumped that with a (indiscernible).
I'm getting -- my golf swing is -- you wait your whole life to have this feeling. Whether it lasts forever or not, we all (indiscernible) occasionally, unfortunately.
But it's been like months of this same thing, fairways and greens, clangers, especially since June, since the U.S. Open.

Q. Years ago I read some of these books, Arnold said "Show me a guy who is down in the mouth in golf, he's either having trouble with his driver or his putter."
ROCCO MEDIATE: Absolutely.

Q. I mean, if you get to agree and you keep three-putting, it just sort of like ruins everything you have done?
ROCCO MEDIATE: It does. And what I kept doing is I kept hitting shot after shot. That's hard to do because you know if you miss, the way you feel -- at least this is how I feel, whatever. Maybe no one else feels this way. I would say they do -- is if I miss, even if I hit a good pitch, I'm probably going to miss the putt. Great thinking. Fantastic thinking. Like you have a chance.
Like I always say about golf, I always say it is the hardest game in the world because if you think you can do it -- wait. If you think you can do it, you probably can't. And if you think you can do it, you still might not. It is a hard game. So with that, it was just attitude really.
And mostly -- but I'd say it was 80% technique and the rest crappy attitude because I had no chance to put the ball in line. It would never go in line.

Q. The troubles in the past basically it was injury?
ROCCO MEDIATE: My back, yeah.

Q. You kept getting hurt, your back.
ROCCO MEDIATE: Oh, God, yeah.

Q. Every time you played well, then you'd be off. So this is the first time you had any trouble that was not injury caused?
ROCCO MEDIATE: This was not anything to do with -- I have no one to blame but me. You know what I mean? I like that situation because the worse thing is when you can't move or you can't swing or my back is killing me, I hate that because you can't do anything.
My game is built around motion. I have to have motion. That's what I do, I move. If I can't move, I'm done.

Q. You were actually working for the Golf Channel, weren't you, beginning two, three years ago?
ROCCO MEDIATE: Beginning of '07.

Q. Basically, you couldn't play.
ROCCO MEDIATE: I was kind of on the edge of not being able to play. Yeah, I did three weeks then. It was fun. I enjoyed it. I did the British Open this year. It was fun too.
I am not even close to done. I'm not. I keep seeing this stuff pop up. Because I still love it, that's the thing. I don't dislike it at all. Even through the hard times which, you know, being out here 25 years, there has got to be some bad years, I guess, or some hard times, I'll say. I have run into a couple years of it. Maybe that's the end of that. Maybe it is coming back. You never know.
I play prepared. I can assure you that. I'm definitely prepared to do well. It is just a matter of whether I do or not is the question.

Q. Playing well this week, is it even more important because of the money situation?
ROCCO MEDIATE: Believe it or not, I do want to get in the top 150 or the top whatever, whatever it would take, however I play. If I win the tournament, great. If I play well enough to get into one of those categories, I'm fine with it.
I will go to school. If I have to go to school -- I'm not one of those guys. If I don't have enough money to be in the 150 or 125, I don't belong here. I have to go get my job back. That's not a problem with me.
I missed the -- I could have went last year, but I wasn't doing too well physically. I never would have made it actually. So I didn't go because I wouldn't go to school just because, oh, "I can't go there, I'm here 25 years."
It is like I always tell people, you belong where you are, if that makes any sense. But -- but I know I still can compete. I know I can still compete and I keep showing myself that I'm capable, especially the last couple months. But the last three weeks of the putting, I shot some -- a few good scores. I haven't shot for a while.
And today was -- I mean, if there is such a thing as easy, today was easy. You are still up there on every tee. You got to put the ball on the fairway, which I did every time but once. You got to put the ball in the right place, and I kept doing that. So easy but you are just trusting, trust, trust, trust. I know it is there. I know my club is right on me. It will go crooked occasionally.
But, hopefully, I can keep three more days of this up and have even more fun.

Q. You say you hear it in restaurants. Did you hear it on the course?
ROCCO MEDIATE: Oh, yeah, they are screaming. My name is a bit odd so, I mean --

Q. Anything particular today?
ROCCO MEDIATE: No, just screaming. Here's the thing that makes me laugh. I could be walking right beside you and somebody will say "Rocco!" And I scream back at them, "What!" It is hilarious. You guys, keep it down a little bit. It is so funny. It is mostly about the Open. It is always about that.
And before the Open, it was kind of the same but not as many. It wasn't quite as crazy. But, you know, whatever. I don't mind it at all. I want that to get more. I want more of that."

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