For 5 days Rocco become the 2008 version of Rocky Balboa who stood toe to toe in the ring with the champ and more than held his own.
A bit on the dramatic side? Maybe, maybe not. As the underdog on this fight card, Rocco Mediate did play golf on the grandest stage in the United States and not only handled the pressure and microscopic attention but found himself going up against the worlds number one player head to head for the right to be named, US Open Champion.
Aside from the surgery, the layoff and the tale of the tape leaning heavily in Tigers favor (having the advantage in every category), it still boiled down to an overtime clash between the will of a champion against a 45 year old fresh faced challenger and Rocco stayed the course.
Roccos honesty and clear enjoyment of the moment was refreshing. He showed us that you can be in awe of someone but not awed by them. Rocco had no problem telling us he was amazed at Tigers overall excellence but at the same time he did not allow it to cause his own game to be affected. He still played his best under circumstances hed never experienced before and the simple truth remains: there is no substitute for being there and experiencing the moment. First, you have to get to those moments and champions learn to use these kinds of moments in their favor. Challengers learn to do that through time and repetition which is why it is so important to cherish and embrace those moments when you arrive there. Rocco Mediate had that opportunity this week and in doing so pushed the number one golfer in the world to the limit while having opportunities to win but coming up just short. Yes, Rocco Mediate finished second in the 2008 US Open but at the same time he won on so many other levels. He shined a bright light on himself and the sport. Even so, there may always be those critics who focus on ways to diminish the accomplishment by highlighting certain aspects but none of that is important. There are great lessons to take away from the 2008 US Open if you choose to focus on them. Tiger showed us what the heart of a champion looks like once again and Rocco provided golf fans with a look at a man who knows how to embrace the moment, enjoy it and remain true to his game and humble. He also showed us that he can accept the results because with the knowledge that he gave everything he had and never backed off while embracing his highs and lows along the way.
Great lessons for all of us.
To Your Best Golf!