June 2 2011
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."