Rocco Hugs Greensboro
Its a golfing town in need of some affection, too. The top players, winded after the sprint to The Masters, stayed away. So the fans, considerably fewer than in years past, have embraced the affable Mediate. His easy smile and working mans name stamp him as the regular guy to whom anyone can easily relate. Plus, while many were questioning the strength of the field, Roccos always had nothing but nice things to say about a tournament he first won in 1993.
Rocco believes that Greensboros move to a fall date next year, combined with a major purse increase, will strengthen the field as players look to make the top 30 on the money list, thereby earning a spot in the Tour Championship. He also thinks that if a few changes can be made to the greens that Fuzzy Zoeller reworked in the 1990s, then Forest Oaks would be a gem.
In the meantime, Rocco shouldnt be discounted for the upcoming U.S. Open at Bethpage. The principal reason is his ability to drive the ball in the fairway, a must at any U.S. Open. And while hed certainly like to put a major on his expanding resume, Rocco doesnt need it to validate his existence. Hes content to leave his legacy on his three boys, who flew in from Ponte Vedra on Saturday night with Roccos wife, Linda.
As for his place in the game, Roccos now got five victories and a spot inside the top 20 in the world. Not too bad for the son of a Western Pennsylvania barber. Interestingly, hes had almost two distinct phases of his career ' the one before the 1994 back injury that yielded two wins and the one after, which has now produced three victories. To his credit, Rocco shed nearly 60 pounds since the early '90s. In the last year, he eschewed weightlifting because he always felt sore. Now, he maintains his solid build with rigorous aerobic work and plenty of stretching.
Is Rocco in the same category as Woods and Mickelson and the other glamour names? Hes quick to point out that hes not. But hes damn good, and appreciative of all that hes achieved without being arrogant. Going forward, Greensboro would no doubt be thrilled if some of those bigger names showed up. Even if they do, the truth is that theyll be no one in the field more loved than Rocco Mediate.
Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational
Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.
The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.
Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.
Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.
The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.
Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump
Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.
Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.
None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.
Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.
An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.
In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.
Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.
Playing with the pros
Tiger, DJ and Faxon
President at the Presidents Cup
Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham
Cart on the green
Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open
Trump golf properties
Reportedly fake TIME covers
Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story
Pros comment on the president
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates. And click here for the full collection of articles.
No. 1: Dec. 18