GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Veterans Justin Leonard and Rocco Mediate are showing the young guns how it's done on Saturday at Sedgefield Country Club.
Leonard, who started the week ranked 157th in the FedExCup, has just made a 17-footer for birdie at the 10th hole to move to 9 under for the tournament. He started the round with four straight birdies, made the turn in 31 and is 5 under for the day.
Leonard likely needs to finish fourth or better to avoid missing the FedExCup Playoffs for the second straight hole. A year ago at Sedgefield, Leonard missed a par putt on the 72nd hole and ended up No. 126 in the standings.
Mediate is a two-time winner at Greensboro, although both of his wins came at Forest Oaks, not Sedgefield. Like Leonard, he made the turn in a bogey-free 31 and stands 9 under and three strokes off the pace set by Jimmy Walker through two rounds.
Mediate, who turns 50 in December, came in ranked 178th in the FedExCup and likely needs to finish second or better to make the Playoffs.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Rocco Mediate has withdrawn from the Waste Management Phoenix Open, a tournament he won in 1999.
Mediate was replaced by PGA TOUR rookie Danny Lee. Lee, who was born in South Korea, grew up in New Zealand and now has a home in Texas, will be playing in his fourth PGA TOUR event.
The first alternate is now Jarrod Lyle.
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
In a wide-ranging pre-tournament interview Tuesday at the Frys.com Open more notable for his comments on Tiger Woods, Rocco Mediate also had some perspective on the long putter.
Some 20 years before today’s PGA TOUR long putter craze, there was a young Mediate, not with the yips exactly but just not putting as well as he wanted to.
“I remember Jim Ferree, who was one of my first teachers actually. I was at Long Cove in Hilton Head in 1990 … he goes, you gotta try this thing. I said all right, and I tried it. And I came out in '91 with it, and I know (Bruce) Lietzke used it then, but then I won and I had like six straight Top 10s or five straight Top 10s [actually, four in five weeks] and I won Doral.
“And I was the antichrist then in the putting world. And now look at it now. Yeah, I was the antichrist. People, I mean trust me, I had a lot of interesting comments about the putter, as you probably remember. So now, look at it now.”
Now, Mediate is going for what he calls a “triple crown” of putting mastery. He has won with a conventional-length putter (including last year’s Frys.com Open) and a long putter, and now he’s going to try to win with a belly putter. “Unprecedented,” he said.
BYRD’S DRIVER: Jonathan Byrd’s TaylorMade SuperFast 2.0 driver was a casualty of the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup – it broke at the BMW Championship. He experimented to find a new one, and ended up putting an R11 in play at the JT Shriners.
NEW STUFF: Cleveland Golf debuted its 588 forged clubs in Las Vegas, with Jeff Overton becoming the first Cleveland staffer to use the 588 MB model. Seventeen new 588 forged wedges were in play (Woody Austin had four) and three new fairway wood “Mashies” were also used.
CALI CAMERONS: Scotty Cameron is releasing a refined look to its California putter line, featuring improved “visual flow.”
“My main objective for the new California designs was to take the visual flow to a new level,” Cameron said.
More than 30 refinements were made, including deeper milling in the putter’s face. That yields a softer sound at impact, said to be preferred by many good putters.
The model line is slightly changed, with the Monterey 1.5 model replacing the Coronado. The others – Del Mar, Fastback, Monterey and Sonoma – are mainstays in the California line.
BECK’S AID: Chip Beck, the second man to shoot 59 in a PGA TOUR event, has developed a grip training aid with his wife, Karen. Called “Grip Guides,” it features a heat-activated surface that gives feedback to whether or not you’re gripping the club correctly.
ROUGH TRIP: In case you missed it last week, Lee Janzen’s clubs took a beating on the way to Las Vegas. Wished we could have seen the two-time U.S. Open champion’s face when an airline representative suggested that he could get a rental set.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
SAN MARTIN, Calif. -- The last time we heard from Rocco Mediate regarding Tiger Woods, he told the San Francisco Chronicle that he was “disgusted” with Woods’ decline, largely blaming his last two swing coaches, among other things.
Tuesday at the Frys.com Open, Mediate said that as much attention as the game’s young players have received this year -- players in their 20s have won more than players in their 30s this year -- that he believes Woods will be back and could be as good as he was prior to his recent decline.
“If he gets to where he knows his ball's going, it won't matter,” Mediate said. “This is a complete killer. We've seen it. Once he gets the bit in his mouth, as they say, he doesn't fit it. Never has.
“If he can find his ball again, if he gets that club up where it belongs, trust me, he is not done yet.”
Of course that’s been the big if for Woods as he rebuilds his health and rebuilds his swing. The former is no longer an issue according to those close to Woods and the latter is a work in progress.
“These kids are phenomenal,” Mediate said. “But to hold that bar like he did, it's not going to happen. I don't care what anybody says. And I'm not like some authority on this thing, but I watch everything very closely, especially with Tiger.”
Mediate had the best seat in the house for arguably the greatest of Woods’ performances when Woods, playing on a broken leg, beat Mediate in a playoff to capture the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. That day and that week Woods hit shots Mediate said he never even dreamed of hitting.
And Mediate thinks Woods, even as he undergoes a swing change he was recently critical of, can get back to that.
“He owns the mental side of it. But on the physical side, here's what I would say. You can mentally think certain things, but if you physically can't do it, I don't care what you think,” Mediate said. “So if physics isn't working -- and a golf swing is physics -- and the club is in the wrong place, the ball won't go where you're looking. I don't care who you are. And that's the problem.
“Once that gets back with him, he's going to go back to where, I think he can be better than he was.”
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
SAN MARTIN, Calif. --When Rocco Mediate won last year’s Frys.com Open, memorably holing out a couple of shots from the fairway for eagle along the way, it changed his life -- or at least the immediate future of it.
Here’s why: Prior to playing at CordeValle, Mediate had torn tendons in his left arm trying to pull his bag off the carousel at the airport. Had he not gone on to win there, he most likely would have been bound for q-school. But the injury wouldn’t have allowed Mediate, whose MRI had revealed about 6,000 to 7,000 torn strands in the arm, to play in q-school.
“If I miss [the final putt], I’m not sitting here,” Mediate said Tuesday. “Huge week.”
While Mediate is back to defend his title, his tendons still aren’t healed and they’ve bothered Mediate, who has withdrawn five times and missed the cut another nine times in 20 starts this season, all year.
Still, the victory bought the 48-year-old two more years on TOUR. And this week he’s using a new putter, going with a belly putter after being the first player on TOUR to use a long putter.
”Last week was my first week, and I putted really nicely with it,” Mediate said. “I just hope I have a putt that matters. And why am I saying it has to matter. I had to have the 5-footer that matters (last year). It's interesting how that all happened.”
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup will be missing five major champions as well as one former PLAYERS champion when The Barclays begins on Thursday.
Angel Cabrera, who has two majors on his resume, as well as former British Open champs Ben Curtis and Todd Hamilton and PGA winners Rich Beem and Shaun Micheel, won't be participating after missing the cut at the Wyndham Championship.
All came into the week ranked outside the top 125 in the FedExCup standings and didn’t earn any points as a result. Other notables on the sidelines are Henrik Stenson, who won the 2009 PLAYERS Championship; Rocco Mediate and Boo Weekley.
DUBLIN, Ohio -- Rocco Mediate is in his 26th year on the PGA TOUR. Despite winning six tournaments and finishing second numerous other times -- most notably the 2008 U.S. Open after losing to Tiger Woods in a playoff -- he has never believed in his ability to read greens. He’s always relied on his caddie for help.
In Thursday's first round at Muirfield Village, Mediate changed all that. He read his own greens -- and it worked. He shot a 4-under 68, his lowest round relative to par this year.
Old dogs evidently can learn new tricks.
"I made everything," Mediate said. "I putted as good as I've ever putted today. ... 26 years -- you'd figure I'd know that by now."
Mediate needed just 25 putts Thursday, as he one-putted 11 greens. He was a perfect 15 of 15 of putts inside 10 feet, and not all of those were gimmes. In fact, he made seven putts between 6 and 21 feet.
Martin Courtois, who caddied for Mediate a few years ago and is back on the bag for this week, convinced his man to take the new approach on the greens.
Recalled Mediate: "Martin said to me, 'You've always been a good greens reader -- you just didn't trust it,' I'm like, 'All right, I'll do it today.'
"It’s stupid. It sounds so stupid from someone that's been out here a quarter-century."
Mediate told playing partner Brendan Steele that he was reading his own putts for the first time. Steele's response? "Maybe you ought to keep doing it."
Mediate said once he decided on the line Thursday, he never backed off. He just stepped up and made his stroke, and the putts just kept rolling in.
"I couldn't believe it," he said. "I was in shock half the time ...
"It was stupid how good I putted today."
DUBLIN, Ohio – Chris Riley played in the first group off the tee on Thursday at the Memorial Tournament. That 66 he shot held up as the lead after the morning wave, too.
Riley is one stroke ahead of Chris DiMarco and Josh Teater as the second wave begins in earnest. Rickie Fowler, who finished second here a year ago, heads a group of four shooting 68s that includes Matt Bettencourt and the veterans Steve Stricker and Rocco Mediate.
Another four players shot 68s in the morning, including Matt Kuchar, who finished second in the FedExCup last year. Meanwhile, the top two players in this year’s FedExCup had very different days -- No. 1 Bubba Watson shot 75 while Luke Donald turned things around with a string of four straight birdies on the way to a 70.
“The greens are soft and if you drive it in the fairway, the course is in such great shape you can make cuts,” Riley said. “I imagine there’s going to be a 6 or 7 under, another one. Par 5s are reachable.”
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Rocco Mediate withdrew prior to the resumption of the second round, citing an injury.
Mediate was playing with the overnight leader, Mark Wilson, and had completed 14 holes when play was suspended due to darkness on Friday night. He was 1 under through that segment and 2 over for the tournament after opening with a 74.
At least now Mediate, who is a big Pittsburgh Steelers fan, won’t have to endure any trash-talking by Wilson, who is wearing his Green Bay Packers visor.
“He said something in his arm hurt but I think he was just a little bit worried about the Steelers,” Wilson said with a grin. “… I think he got a little tired of hearing "go, Pack, go" out there from all the fans. He didn't want to hear it anymore today.” – Helen Ross