13 to watch for 2013: No. 12 Rocco Mediate

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Rocco Mediate's timing couldn't have been better -- the six-time PGA TOUR winner turned 50 in December ahead of a first full year on the Champions Tour.
January 02, 2013
Vartan Kupelian,

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It is a question that every 50-year-old on the PGA TOUR must address, and the answer always depends on personal expectations.

In December, Rocco Mediate celebrated the birthday that makes him eligible for the Champions Tour. It’s clear that Mediate, like all the players in position to make the transition, has done his homework. He knows all about the Champions Tour. He has asked the right question of his peers, and those who came before him. He has studied the facts and figures.

Mediate knows all the essentials. The Champions Tour is fun, it’s relaxing, there are no cuts so there’s plenty of guaranteed money. He also knows the quality of play is exceptionally high, that guys like Fred Couples, Tom Lehman, Michael Allen and Bernhard Langer ask no quarter and give none when they tee it up. It’s hard to win on the Champions Tour and Mediate’s goals in that regard have not changed. For him, it’s still all about winning, not coming close, and he thinks he’s got the game to win again on the PGA TOUR.

Mediate has won six times on the PGA TOUR. In 1991, he became the first player to win on TOUR using a long putter at the Doral-Ryder Open. Always an exceptional ballstriker, the putter and chronic back troubles have held him back through large parts of his career. His most recent victory came at the 2010 Frys.com Open, which supports his belief that he could win again at 50 and beyond.

The signature moment for Mediate came at the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines where he tied Tiger Woods through 72 holes. They were tied again after 18 holes of the playoff. On to sudden death after 90 holes of being level, Woods won in the first extra hole.

Mediate brings more than golf to the course. He brings a big personality and the ability to always put the people around him at ease with his comfortable demeanor. In that regard, he would fit nicely into the Champions Tour philosophy of good fun in a highly competitive environment.