Rock Solid Mediate Gets Another Chance

By Associated PressJune 15, 2008, 4:00 pm
2008 U.S. OpenSAN DIEGO -- Rocco Mediate knows hell be the answer to a trivia question someday.
Which trivia question? Thats still up for grabs.
Hell either go down as the first player to beat Tiger Woods one on one in a major, or the first one to lose to Woods in an 18-hole playoff at the U.S. Open.
The way Mediate sees it, anything is possible'a reality proven by the fact that he was somehow still standing Sunday, preparing for 18 holes against the worlds best player after the fourth, but not final, round at Torrey Pines.
You better watch yourself tomorrow, pal, Mediate said to Woods' jokingly, of course'as the two crossed paths in the interview room. See. Look. Hes nervous.
A 45-year-old walking definition of a PGA TOUR journeyman, Mediate will, as always, take the opportunity, but not himself, seriously when they tee off Monday.
Trying to become the oldest player to win a U.S. Open, he will be a heavy underdog, but thats nothing new. Nobody is ever favored against Woods, and a 23-year veteran with five career wins isnt going to break that trend.
Nevertheless, Mediate doesnt shirk from the challenge. Before the tournament started, he told his friends that his dream was to be playing in the final group with Woods.
Better late than never.
To go up against the best player in the world and have a chance to beat him, theres nothing more you would ask for as a professional golfer, period, said Mediate, who shot even-par 71.
Well, if he were feeling greedy, he may have asked to win this thing without having to go through four hours, man-on-man against Woods. Mediate had his chances. He missed a four-foot putt on 13 and a five-footer on 15 that could have made the difference between the tie at 1-under 283 and the victory. He also had a 30-footer on 18 that barely missed. Make any of those, and he wouldve been holding the trophy Sunday night.
But this was no time, he said, to look back at missed opportunities.
I have nothing to lose, going against Tiger Woods, Mediate said. I want to see what Ive got against the man. I know what hes got.
Its hard to imagine Mediate wont have a few fans out there in what figures to be a small gallery, thinned by the realities of a playoff contested on Monday morning.
Woods is Superman. Mediate is Everyman. Hes the kind of guy who pays attention to the fans when they shout his name, who plays to the cameras on those rare times when theyre following him, who speaks his mind, acts a little crazy.
Just a normal dude, he calls himself. I talk more, whatever, and Ill give them crap if they give me crap. Thats what they want.
This dream'playing against Tiger for a chance at the national championship ' basically came out of nowhere for Mediate, who now has a chance to be remembered for much more than that peace-sign belt buckle he wore Sunday.
He has had back problems on and off through his career, and could blame that back for a meltdown in the final round of the Masters two years ago. He shared the lead there on Sunday, but his back was toast and the most memorable thing from that round was the 10 he made on No. 12 after dumping three balls into Raes Creek.
I still have some things to settle there, he said, acknowledging that this finish gets him invited back for 2009.
He has plenty to play for in 2008, too, and can set aside thoughts of retirement for now. Just last year, he was dabbling on the TV side, gearing up for what should be a successful career as an ex-jock analyst someday.
He found a physical therapist who worked on the back. It got better and so did his game.
Now, he insists, he really is living the dream. He gets a day of golf with Tiger Woods.
Sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for, I guess, Mediate said. But its great. How much better can this get?
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    Fleetwood rallies to defend Abu Dhabi title

    By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 pm

    The 2018 European Tour season has begun just as the 2017 one ended: with Tommy Fleetwood's name atop the standings.

    Facing the most difficult conditions of the week, Fleetwood charged down the stretch to shoot a 7-under 65 in the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, good enough for a two-shot win and a successful title defense.

    Abu Dhabi was the start of Fleetwood's resurgence a year ago, the first of two European Tour victories en route to the season-long Race to Dubai title. This time around the Englishman started the final round two shots off the lead but rallied with six birdies over his final nine holes to reclaim the trophy.

    Fleetwood was five shots behind countryman Ross Fisher when he made the turn, but he birdied the par-5 10th and then added four birdies in a five-hole stretch from Nos. 12-16. The decisive shot came on the final hole, when his pitch from the left rough nestled within a few feet of the hole for a closing birdie.

    Fleetwood's 22-under total left him two shots ahead of Fisher and four shots clear of Rory McIlroy and Matthew Fitzpatrick. After entering the week ranked No. 18, Fleetwood is expected to move to at least No. 12 in the world when the new rankings are published.

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    Garcia cruises to five-shot win in Singapore

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:10 pm

    SINGAPORE - Sergio Garcia played 27 holes on the last day without dropping a shot to win the Singapore Open by five strokes Sunday in an ominous display of his newfound self-belief as he prepares to defend his Masters title.

    Still brimming with confidence after claiming his first major title at Augusta National last year, Garcia started his new season with a runaway victory at the Sentosa Golf Club, finishing at 14-under 270.

    Returning to the course just after dawn to complete his third round after play was suspended on Saturday because of lightning strikes, Garcia finished his last nine holes in 4 under for a round of 66 to take a one-shot lead into the final round.

    With organizers desperate to avert the constant threat of more bad weather and finish the tournament on time, Garcia promptly returned to the first tee shortly after and fired a flawless 3-under 68, cruising to victory with 10 straight pars as his rivals floundered in the stifling humidity.

    ''It may have looked easy, but it wasn't easy. You still have to hit a lot of good shots out there,'' Garcia said. ''It's always great to start with a win, to do it here at this golf course against a good field in Asia on conditions that weren't easy. Hopefully I can ride on this momentum.''

    Garcia's closest rivals at the end were Japan's Satoshi Kodaira (71) and South African Shaun Norris (70). Both birdied the last hole to share second spot but neither was ever close enough on the last day to challenge the leader.

    Full-field scores from the Singapore Open

    ''I could not reach Sergio. I was thinking, 12 or 13 under for the win, but he went beyond that,'' Kodaira said.

    Jazz Janewattananond (71) and his fellow Thai Danthai Bonnma (73) finished equal fourth at 8 under, earning themselves a spot in this year's British Open, while American Sean Crocker, who was given an invitation to the event after turning pro late last year, also won a place at Carnoustie by finishing in a tie for sixth.

    Garcia made just three bogeys in 72 holes and his victory provided the 38-year-old with the 33rd title of his professional career and his sixth on the Asian Tour.

    He has also won three titles in the last 12 months, including the Masters, and his game looks to be in better shape now than it was a year ago.

    He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for Augusta National because of the steamy conditions and the testing stop-start nature of the tournament, which is regularly stopped because of inclement weather.

    Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore a year ago, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

    "I'm extremely happy with how the week went. It was a tough day and a tough week, with the stopping and going. Fortunately, the weather held on. Still, it was hard to play 27 holes under this heat and I can't wait to get a cold shower,'' Garcia said. ''I came with some good confidence and wishing that I will play well. I hit the ball solid the whole week and didn't miss many shots.''

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    Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.

    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

    It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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    Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

    Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

    Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

    “I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

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    The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

    “The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

    Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.