Posts Tagged ‘Rocco Mediate’

The Open with an asterisk?

July 18, 2008

There was a bunch of babble on the Golf Channel about whether the Open, playing this week, has been diminished by the absence of Tiger Woods. I’m amazed that garbage like this get any kind of serious discussion. The question was even being asked of competitors pre-game at Royal Birkdale to the point of asking if this years winner should have an asterisk beside his name because of Tiger’s absence.

If Tiger were playing and missed the cut would the feel the need to stop the tournament then and there?

This is the 137th playing of the Open and someone thinks Woods has redefined its history? Sergio Garcia summed it up nicely when he said that the Open is bigger than any individual player.

I guess if you desperately need to fill in television time you are driven to find controversy somewhere. Even in the strangest of places.

A better story is Rocco Mediate in a tie for the lead after the first day of competition. Now there would be one hell of a story: Rocco, fresh from his epic battle with Woods at the US Open winning the Open at Royal Birkdale. Unfortunately it’s only day one with a lot of golf under tough conditions to go. Still it’s nice to see him there.


Beware the wounded Tiger (Woods)

June 18, 2008

It was an amazing U.S. Open this past weekend, with Tiger Woods making a putt on the final hole on Sunday to put himself into an 18 hole playoff on Monday with Rocco Mediate.

But it was the story that made the tournament.

Mediate, a 45 year old veteran who hasn’t won on the PGA tour since 2002 took Woods to the wire on the Monday playoff where the world’s number one again came back from a one stoke deficit to take the game into sudden death. Woods then won his 14th major on the 19th hole.

If Mediate had won he would have been the oldest player to ever win the U.S. Open and the person to break Tiger’s streak of never losing a tournament when he enjoyed a 54 hole lead.

The other side of the equation was that Woods was in obvious discomfort playing with a post-surgery knee that was giving him considerable pain.

Wood’s performance showed that his winning ways come as much or more from the muscles in his mind. Fighting an errant driver, he simply toughed it out, making his patented brilliant recovery shots from the wild country and making the clutch putts when he needed them to survive.

Mediate had his opportunities to win but wasn’t able to take advantage of his opportunities and you can only give Woods so many second chances before he closes the gate.

I found it tough to root for either player against the other.

A win for Mediate would have been an amazing cap to a 23 years career, especially one that has seen him battle serious back problems to the detriment of his game. He would have made a great champion – outgoing and friendly. One of my favourite pictures was Mediate walking down the fairway chatting with one of the officials with his arm around the guy’s shoulder. The total opposite of the intense and focused Woods.

On the other hand, watching Tiger play through injury and pain was truly inspirational. He is an amazing athlete. He literally willed himself to win the U.S. Open on a very tough course. You can never count him out. There was nothing ho-hum in his reaction when he dropped the winning putt either. The win was emotionally important to him and to his caddy Steve Williams.

It was a great tournament and put the lie to the statement that golf is a boring game to watch.

The only unfortunate part of the outcome is that it is rarely remembered who came in second and Mediate’s performance deserves better than that.