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.”