Notes: Mediate thinks Tiger will return to top
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
SAN MARTIN, Calif. — Rocco Mediate caused a stir in golf circles when he said he was “disgusted” with what’s going on with Tiger Woods’ swing, saying his physical motion is strong criticism of Woods’ most recent coaches, Sean Foley and Hank Haney.
Mediate didn’t back away from his opinion Tuesday, although he made it clear that few others are rooting harder for Woods to return to dominance. And he believes Woods will again get back to No. 1.
“If he gets his golf swing back, that game’s over,” Mediate said. “Because he knows that once he figures out where his ball is going, it’s over. He’s already proved it a million — how many times? — 71 times, and 14 majors.
“If he can find his ball again, if he gets that club up where it belongs, trust me. He’s not done yet.”
Mediate said he has not spoken to Woods and didn’t expect to.
They are linked by their playoff at Torrey Pines in the 2008 U.S. Open, where Woods made a birdie putt on the last hole in regulation to force extra holes, then beat Mediate in a 19-hole playoff despite playing with a shattered left leg.
Mediate appeared to contradict himself at one point.
He said Woods’ problems are 100 percent physical, and that his sole problem is the swing.
“He owns the mental side of it,” Mediate said. “But on the physical side, here’s what I would say. You can mentally think certain things in golf, but if you physically can’t do it ... if the club is in the wrong place, the ball won’t go where you’re looking.”
Later, however, someone asked about Woods beating him at Torrey Pines on essentially one leg. Woods made double bogey on the first hole three times during that U.S. Open.
“And if you think about it, how did he win that event? Did he win it physically or mentally?” Mediate said. “Think about what he did. I saw shots from that man at Torrey Pines that I couldn’t even imagine hitting. But he just kept walking, whatever. That’s greatness.”
• • •
BOO’S BACK: Boo Weekley is at No. 173 on the money list and in jeopardy of losing his PGA Tour card for the first time in five years. So why was he smiling when he registered for the Frys.com Open.
At least he feels good.
Weekley has been troubled by a sore left shoulder, courtesy of a cyst that was pressing into the bone.
He finally decided to have his dermatologist cut it out during a routine skin cancer check in July. He was supposed to be out for five weeks, but he played twice — the Wyndham Championship and on the Nationwide Tour — just to check it out, knowing he would get five weeks off during the FedEx Cup playoffs.
He tied for 29th last week in Las Vegas and feels his swing is coming around.
“It feels good,” he said. “First time since ‘09 that I haven’t felt any pain. And I’ve lost 15 pounds.”
But he hasn’t lost that Southern charm.
As he registered, the woman behind the desk asked Weekley if he wanted access to the spa facilities at CordeValle.
No, ma’am, but thank you,” Weekley replied. “Ain’t nothing in that spa that’s gonna make me no prettier.”
Then, she offered him a tour of the facilities.
“Locker room over there? Food over there?” Weekley said, pointing in two directions. “That’s really all I need. But thank you.”
• • •
TIGER AND THE AMATEUR: One guy has 71 wins and more than $90 million on the PGA Tour. The other is a UCLA sophomore with no wins and no official earnings. Tiger Woods and Patrick Cantlay have hardly anything in common — except for their tee time the opening two days of the Frys.com Open.
Woods and Cantlay will play together with former British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen.
What is an amateur doing in the same group as major champions?
The PGA Tour has been tweaking a few groupings this year to help make it more appealing for TV viewers. It starts with eight groups of three players — four groups in the morning draw, four in the afternoon draw. Twenty players are taken alternately from the world ranking and the FedEx Cup standings. The other four come from the winner’s category.
However, the tour now can have one “wild card” to swap out from the four players in the winner’s category. This week, Cantlay was chosen, and then put in the same group as Woods.
• • •
EA COVER: The campaign is under way, only this one has nothing to do with President Barack Obama and GOP challengers.
EA Sports is giving fans a vote to determine who will join Tiger Woods on the cover of the “Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13” video game. The contest began Monday and runs through Oct. 23. The game will have two covers — one distributed in North America, the other in Europe.
The voting will be counted through a bracket, similar to match play.
The American side features Ben Crane, Rickie Fowler, Jim Furyk, Dustin Johnson, Zach Johnson, Hunter Mahan, Rocco Mediate and Bubba Watson. The European bracket has Paul Casey, Luke Donald, Ross Fisher, Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy, Edoardo Molinari, Ian Poulter and Justin Rose.
Some of the players have already taken to Twitter to drum up support.
“I have been playing @EASPORTS_Tiger all day!! Help vote me on cover!!” tweeted Bubba Watson.
Zach Johnson also is on the campaign trail. He only has 55,000 followers, but he cleverly asked for a retweet from Stewart Cink, who has nearly 1.2 million followers. Cink obliged.
Ian Poulter, whose 1.2 million followers rank second to Woods among golfers, asked for votes by saying that if he wins, he’ll hold a separate contest for a round of golf with him. He also offered to give away 10 signed copies of the game if he’s on the cover.
Fans can vote by going to www.facebook.com/tigerwoodspgatour. The winner will be announced Oct. 24.
• • •
CLARKE’S CLARET JUG: Darren Clarke has had the claret jug for nearly three months, and he’s happy to report that the British Open trophy is still in one piece. That’s not to say it hasn’t had a few dings.
“I have not managed to drop it yet — myself,” he said last week at the Dunhill Links Championship. “But a few other people have. It can bend quite easily, believe it or not. I won’t tell you where it was, but it’s happened a few times. And it’s not my fault.”
Clarke has ordered the maximum three replicas of the claret jug. He has to return the real one next July, and it might not be in exactly the same shape as when he first held it at Royal St. George’s. But that’s probably true of past Open champions.
“Other people have obviously had a bit of fun with it before I got my hands on it, so I’m not the only one, I’m sure,” he said. “I did give it a bit of a twist to straighten it out a little bit.”
• • •
DIVOTS: With three tournaments left on the PGA Tour schedule, a record 21 players already have earned more than $3 million this year. ... Adam Scott has signed an endorsement deal with Mercedes-Benz, which will start in 2012. ... Luke Donald leads the worldwide money list at just more than $8 million. Next on the list is Webb Simpson, who has played two more tournaments, at $5.76 million. ... Kevin Na drew attention to himself last week by purposely missing the ball so he could start over. The move is allowed in the Decisions on the Rules of Golf. It’s different from Tiger Woods, known for suddenly stopping his swing before impact if he doesn’t like it. “If Tiger is strong enough to do that, good for him,” Na said. “I’m not, so I’m going over it. But I definitely think he looks cooler stopping halfway down.”
• • •
STAT OF THE WEEK: There have been 28 first-time winners in the two years since Tiger Woods last won on the PGA Tour.
• • •
FINAL WORD: “If you look at the No. 1 ranking, the guys that are in there, I’m just trying to think if they won more majors than me. And I don’t think they did. That bothers me a little bit.” — Rocco Mediate, who has never won a major.