2001 US Open - Rocco Mediate News Conference Transcript
Q. Two questions: Outside you said that you almost decided not to play this week, but you said it wasn't a back problem. Can you tell us what that was about? And the long putt you made for birdie, the approach you hit really was, without doubt, you don't have a shot. Can you talk about that hole?
ROCCO MEDIATE: First thing is I just had something weird in my hip, my left hip. And on Thursday morning I really almost couldn't play. And I'm so sick of this happening, because it's happened since I've been hurt. My caddy kind of convinced me, he said -- because I was almost going to withdraw. I really didn't want to make a fool of myself, because this golf course will do that quickly. And I got it around unbelievably. I was shocked. I couldn't believe I shot 1-over par. He said, 'If you get it around today, maybe the next couple of days, who knows.' So now he looks real smart. That's what happened. But it's not a serious thing, it was just a weird little thing came up. And it's pretty much gone now. 16, I hit a pretty good drive, really. The left bunker is not bad. I can't drive it far enough to get it up in the left bunker as far as chipping out and stuff. I hit a pretty good drive, just kicked left. And it was just a regular old 6-iron and I hit a pretty good shot there. And then I was just trying to lag up there close, and it fell in. It happens every once in a while. But it was kind of cool.
Q. Rocco, you said out there that you've never been under the kind of pressure that you know you're going to be under tomorrow. What's the closest you've come to what you imagine tomorrow will be like, and what do you remember about how you handled it?
ROCCO MEDIATE: You know, I don't know that I've been in anything like tomorrow. I was close -- I was like in 7th or 8th place going into the final round at Augusta. But that wasn't like this. We weren't going to beat Tiger, so it didn't matter where you were, really, or at least I wasn't. There's nothing that could prepare me, except for myself. Like I said, I was talking outside, I felt -- I knew I was close to the lead coming in the back 9 and I felt really good, even though I hit a few bad shots, I got it up-and-down. I think those shots are the most nerve-wracking, the shot on 17 -- the bunker shot on 14 was silly. I didn't think I could get it within 20 feet and I hit it 10. That's where I'm most -- I felt like I was going to be most nervy, and it was pretty fun. I just took myself out of what was going on and just played. I've got to do that all day tomorrow. So it will be tough. It will be fun.
Q. Rocco, of the players within three or four strokes of the lead I believe you're the only one whose caddy has won a major, is that just trivia or is there value there?
ROCCO MEDIATE: There's definitely value. One thing Pete does for me, and I think all good caddies do, and it's not just Pete, but one thing he does the best for me is makes the most intensive shots seem normal. His demeanor never changes. Very rarely gets excited. A couple of times I got him a little excited out there today. But it takes some kind of weird thing happening, like the putt on 16 or shot on 17 for him to get excited whatsoever. He doesn't let that happen. That bleeds into me. I'm not calm most of the time, I'm up-and-down all the time. But I've gotten better over the 16 years I've been out here. And today I showed myself and Pete that. He's taught me very well the last three years to keep it where I'm going -- like on 18 Phil kind of said, 'Who's away?' I said, 'I am', and I felt like I was holding him up. And Pete goes, 'Slow down, relax, it's not a big deal.' And I hit a really good 3-iron. Stuff like that, little things like that, immeasurable things, who knows what they mean. I don't know.
Q. Two things, Rocco. First, how long was the putt on 16, exactly?
ROCCO MEDIATE: Well, the pin was 16 yards on, and I was about five, six paces into the green. So 30 feet, something like that. Somebody said it was 75 feet, I said, 'No, it wasn't'.
Q. Talk about Stewart Cink, and how you think he's going to hold up.
ROCCO MEDIATE: Stewart's game was built for this kind of golf tournament. I don't know him well, I don't know him that well, but his golf swing and game seem to be built for the U.S. Open, because he's steady, steady, steady, steady, boring, down the middle. He's very good. I'm not surprised he's up there at all. I think he's been a good player since he came out on Tour. And I'm not surprised at how he's playing. I don't know how he played today. I know he shot good, but I'm sure there wasn't many mistakes tee-to-green for him, because he's really good tee-to-green.
Q. Did you spank one into the gallery on the par-5?
ROCCO MEDIATE: Yeah, on 13 I was trying to go completely insane vertical with a 4-iron and I pulled it a tad. And I was going over that bunker, there. And I hit a guy right in the, whatever, shin. And it stopped in the rough. And it would have probably been much worse if it didn't hit him, but it was in a pretty nasty spot. I said, 'Did anybody get hurt?' And it was a big welt. I felt terrible. I hit this silly up-and-down thing over the bunker. I went over and said, 'Do you even want this? I wouldn't want it if he hit me.' And he said, 'Oh, thanks.' I said 'I'm very sorry.' How can I stop it? They're all so crowded there, and they couldn't hear us, anyway. I think he saved me at least a shot. Who knows.
Q. What are you most happy about over these first three rounds, the way you've hit the ball or the way your short game has been?
ROCCO MEDIATE: I'm happy about how I've handled the entire situation. I've hit it good in spots and I've hit it in crazy spots, and that's just me. But my short game, my putting has kept me alive. And that's what I've done better this year than I've ever done. As far as the way I've handled it, I haven't gotten too excited or down or up, I'm just trying to -- I'm not trying to get -- I've got one more hard day tomorrow, and I'm going to try to do my best to win this thing. It's going to be tough. I've never had a shot at it, and I'm never going to have much more. I'll only play another 10 or 15 years. I probably won't have six more chances to win the Open, who knows.
RAND JERRIS: Could you take a couple of moments and walk us through your birdies and bogeys for the round.
ROCCO MEDIATE: What did I birdie? I birdied 6. I had an 8-iron about ten feet, maybe. Real nice 8-iron. And then I bogeyed 10. I hit it in the left rough, this far in the left rough, dead. And I almost made par. I missed about a 10-footer for par, I hit a pretty good chip. Hit it close on 11 to about six feet. And I pushed it up over the bunker on 13, and made about a 4-footer, right over a big spike mark, just huge. 16, I made the silly 30-footer over the hump, broke six or seven feet.
Q. What did you hit on that?
ROCCO MEDIATE: 8-iron.
Q. Does Tiger's struggles on this course this week give the rest of the players a different feeling about their chances in any way?
ROCCO MEDIATE: I don't know what they think, but it doesn't make any difference to me. If Tiger is up there leading by whatever, then we don't have any chance to win. But if he's close, there is a chance to win. I mean, maybe some guys don't think that, but I do. I enjoy that situation playing with him. Not that I play with him that many times in the hunt in any major. But in other tournaments I have, and I've enjoyed it. And I played my best golf that day. The fact that he's not, I never noticed. He's just showing that you that every blue moon he becomes human. And this is one of those weeks. I don't know what he shot today. 69. So who knows, he might have a 62 in his bag, I don't know. If anybody can -- but that's here nor there, it's just a matter of going out tomorrow and getting the job done somehow.
Q. How much of your ability to handle the situation is because you've been out here a while?
ROCCO MEDIATE: I'm sorry, I was in a daze. Say that one more time?
Q. How much of your ability to handle the situation is the fact that you've 38 and you've been out here a while and been doing it a while?
ROCCO MEDIATE: Yeah, I've been there enough times and I've been in enough tournaments to know what makes me work. I've just got to take my -- I don't know how to explain it. When I get a little excited out there I'll tend to swing harder. Probably most of us do, not just me. And if I can catch that and try to slow things down as far as not slow, but slow everything else, my tempo and everything down, I perform pretty good. And I'm learning that. The 18th tee shot was a prime example. I mean, I was just trying to put it up that left side with a low draw. And I just went through it and I did exactly what I wanted to do. I felt like if I hit it high it would go through the fairway, because I hit it almost through the fairway this morning. And then the 3-iron was the same way. I'm learning now more. Yeah, I'm 38, and I've been out here a while, and I've been semi-successful, I'm way more successful than I thought I'd ever be. I should be able to do that by now. And tomorrow, yeah, if anybody tells you it's just another tournament, they're lying, it's not another tournament, it's the Open. And I'll treat it as such.
Third-round tee times for the 147th Open
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.
Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.
Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.
Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.
Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.
4:15AM ET: Gavin Green
4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed
4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose
4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton
4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley
5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner
5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson
5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)
5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood
5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello
6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford
6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma
6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele
6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood
6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na
6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin
7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim
7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira
7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters
7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li
7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker
7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink
8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook
8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris
8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim
8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari
8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson
8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell
9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka
9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott
9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren
9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone
9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett
10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler
10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell
10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau
10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen
10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele
10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood
11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson
Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.
He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.
“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.
At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.
Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.
“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”
Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?
Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.
Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.
“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”
Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.
Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.
“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.
More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.
“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”
After 36, new Open favorite is ... Fleetwood
With a handful of the pre-championship favorites exiting early, there is a new odds-on leader entering the third round of The Open at Carnoustie.
While Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner share the 36-hole lead, it's England's Tommy Fleetwood who leads the betting pack at 11/2. Fleetwood begins the third round one shot off the lead.
Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at golfodds.com.
Tommy Fleetwood: 11/2
Zach Johnson: 13/2
Rory McIlroy: 7/1
Jordan Spieth: 8/1
Rickie Fowler: 9/1
Kevin Kisner: 12/1
Xander Schauffele: 16/1
Tony Finau: 16/1
Matt Kuchar: 18/1
Pat Perez: 25/1
Brooks Koepka: 25/1
Erik van Rooyen: 50/1
Alex Noren: 50/1
Tiger Woods: 50/1
Thorbjorn Olesen: 60/1
Danny Willett: 60/1
Francesco Molinari: 60/1