Rocco I Think I Had Him a Little Scared Once

By Associated PressJune 16, 2008, 4:00 pm
2008 U.S. OpenSAN DIEGO -- Powerless to put Tiger Woods away and exhausted from this U.S. Open that would not end, Rocco Mediate plopped down above bunker on the 18th green, crisscrossed his legs and scribbled down his score.
The 91st hole would have to wait.
Woods, who had just birdied No. 18 to force a playoff for the second straight day, chuckled as the 45-year-old Mediate caught his breath.
Mediates quest to become the oldest golfer to win a major came to a crashing end on the first hole of sudden death Monday when Woods secured his 14th major.
An appreciative crowd that cheered Woods victory burst into one more chant of Rocco! Rocco! Rocco! for the underdog with the peace sign belt buckle and gift of gab who plays the crowd, if not always the course, like Lee Trevino.
It was unbelievable, Mediate said. Yeah, this is huge for me.
Not only because he vaulted from 158th in the world ranking into the top 50 or because he wont have to go through a qualifier next year like he had to just to get into this years Open.
But because he proved something to himself just a year removed from commentating on the GOLF CHANNEL and contemplating retirement from competitive golf because of a bad back.
It just showed me that I still can compete and I want to keep competing, Mediate said. I never quit. I never quit, and Ive been beaten down a few times.
So, hes not going to lament this loss very long.
I got what I wanted, Mediate said. I got a chance to beat the best man in the world, and I came up just a touch short. But I think I had him a little scared once, which was great. He just said Great fight! to me and that makes it a little better, I think.
Woods blew an early three-stroke lead before he carbon-copied his Sunday birdie on 18 that forced Mondays 18-hole playoff. Mediate, who missed his long shot birdie putt on 18'I was nervous as a cat'sank his three-footer for par to force sudden death.
On the first hole, the par-4 seventh, the oceanside course that bested every other golfer here save for Woods finally got to Mediate.
I almost, I just about got him, Mediate said. But I had trouble with that seventh hole tee shot all week and I hooked it again in that bunker and I caught it in a horrible place.
But no regrets, he insisted.
My heart is all over the golf course. I have nothing left, Mediate said.
Mediate put himself in a position to win when he birdied the 13th through 15th holes, capping his run with a 25-foot putt that put him a stroke ahead of Woods.
Oh, my God, that was ridiculous, Mediate said. Yeah, Ive never had more fun. Ive never its just amazing. Hes hard to beat. I threw everything I had, the kitchen sink, everything, right at him. I was three down through 10. It could have been over pretty quick and he hit that ball in the bunker, not that I felt he was going to, like, bogey but its not the easiest shot and I hit a good shot, and all of a sudden bang, bang, bang, I pick up three, four shots and in a few holes and Im one up.
But this is Tiger Woods.
In a playoff.
At a major.
And this was Rocco Mediate.
In a playoff.
At a major.
Going up against Woods with so much on the line was the one thing Mediate said would be a career-capper.
But I want to do it again now, he acknowledged.
Hes so remarkable. We had a great time and its just I like the way I handled it 1-up with three to play, Mediate said. I hit pretty good shots.
And he had a 20-foot putt for birdie on 18 that would have won it, too.
But he couldnt pull it off.
And so Woods, after stepping back when a seagulls shadow interrupted his focus, sank his birdie putt.
Its like a prize fight, Mediate said. No one even expected me to be (here) that long or survive and he had to birdie the last again to tie me. Again. And he did it. Its amazing.
Woods insisted he isnt one of those who only now can appreciate Mediates grit.
I already knew that about Rocco. Hes not only one of the nicest guys, but people dont realize how much of a competitor he is, Woods said.
They should now.
He reminds me a lot of Trevino how he plays: just talking and enjoying it and smiling and having a great time with it, Woods said. But when it comes down to it, when its time to hit the shot, he goes into his own little world. People dont realize that. After he does hit the shot he comes out and goes, Blah, blah, blah, having a good time. But right before each shot he gets into his own little zone.
And its pretty cool to see.
Aside from his $810,000 consolation, Mediate is left with the knowledge that he made the limping Woods work 19 extra holes to win his 14th major.
It was an honor being out there, Mediate said. And Im sure I scared him. I did good today.

Related Links:
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    Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

    By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

    The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

    They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

    Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

    Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

    Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

    ''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

    The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

    In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

    Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.

    Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

    By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

    Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

    Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

    Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

    Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

    It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

    The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.

    Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

    By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

    Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

    ''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

    They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

    ''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

    Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

    ''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

    Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

    Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

    Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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    Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

    Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

    Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

    Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

    Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

    The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.