Rocco Mediate finding his form at the right time ahead of TimberTech Championship
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Written by Bob McClellan
When he speaks, Rocco Mediate shoots straight.
The problem for the Pennsylvania native in 2023 was that he couldn’t say the same about his golf game.
“My swing was bad – bad all year,” Mediate said as he prepared for the second event of the PGA TOUR Champions Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs, the TimberTech Championship at the Old Course at Broken Sound Club in Boca Raton, Florida, that begins on Friday. It’s an event that nearly didn’t include Mediate until his T23 at the Dominion Energy Charity Classic at the Golf Club of Virginia got him just inside the top 54.
Rocco Mediate interview after Round 1 of Dominion
Mediate, 60, can break down all that was going wrong with his swing. He just couldn’t figure out how to get it right.
“I was kind of sliding, sliding too much,” Mediate said. “Not a lot of hip … the right hip wasn't going behind me like usual. The stance was way too wide. It was like, I couldn't really … I was kind of stuck at address, basically.
“It got to a point where I didn’t know where the ball was going. I draw it about 99% of the time. When that goes away, we’ve got issues.”
Mediate played in fewer events (20) than he had since 2017, but that was by design so he could spend more time at home with his wife and their 8-year-old daughter. He has no regrets about that.
“I should be able to play good enough for 20 events to get into the top 36, for chrissakes,” Mediate said. “But I haven’t done that. To get into the top 54 was amazing.”
As late as September, he was 61st in the Charles Schwab Cup standings after five consecutive finishes of 32nd or worse, including a missed cut at the U.S. Senior Open.
“The putting has gotten better,” Mediate said. “Everything is fine. It’s mostly been the irons; actually, it’s really all irons. I’ve driven it nicely, had my moments. Driving accuracy, I was No. 1 in North Carolina (the SAS Championship), top 10 or 15 in Virginia (the DECC), which is cool.
“But you can get away with the way I’ve been swinging off the tee, because you have more time. You can’t with the irons. I hit behind a lot of shots. The club dropped under me. It was a nightmare.”
Mediate, who won six times on the PGA TOUR and four on PGA TOUR Champions, said he was playing with an old high school friend recently who pointed out some of the problems he could see. Then Mediate and longtime teacher Rick Smith worked on the issues for a couple of hours on Tuesday morning.
“Rick was like, ‘Dude, you’re on the right path.’ He said we had to get back to where it was when it was best. And for the past few days I’ve been practicing great. Rick said you can’t make it do any better than that. The sound (of flushing the ball) is back.”
Mediate has posted four of his eight top-25s this season in his past five events. He ranks 32nd in putting average and 18th in driving accuracy. He’s in at least as good of physical shape as he has ever been, and more importantly the recent changes have given him back a shag bag full of confidence.
“I think I’m gonna be better next year than I have been in a long time,” Mediate said.