Mediate inflicts some self-hazing at Senior Open
OMAHA, Neb. – Hey, rookie. Hey, first-timer. Hey, new guy.
Hey, Rocco Mediate: You are 50 years old and playing in your first U.S. Senior Open.
If we were talking about the National Football League, you would be required to endure a certain amount of hazing and good-natured teasing. You would be warbling the Florida Southern fight song. You would be carrying bags for the veteran players.
But this is golf, and a Champions Tour rookie can make jokes and impersonate a standup comedian at the U.S. Senior Open. Let it be known that Mediate chooses exactly that.
Moderator Mike Trostel tried to introduce him (“ ... won his Champions Tour debut in February at the Allianz Championship”) but was interrupted by Mediate, who chanted, “Yeah, yeah, yeah.”
Trostel continued: “Oldest wire-to-wire winner (on the PGA Tour).” Mediate intercepted that one, too. “I would much rather have been the oldest U.S. Open champion in ’08,” he said. “You can have the wire-to-wire thing.”
The 2008 U.S. Open comes up frequently regarding Mediate. He lost that championship, of course, in a 19-hole playoff with Tiger Woods.
“It’s been a while since I’ve been here,” Mediate said, referring to the media center at Omaha Country Club. “I need to come back Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. No playoffs. This isn’t 18 holes, is it?" he said, alluding to his playoff against Woods at Torrey Pines.
Asked about his U.S. Open strategy, Mediate played it coyly. “Do they have any rough in the U.S. Opens?” he said. “Is that how it’s supposed to be? So you've got to drive it straight?”
Mediate, a six-time champion on the PGA Tour, on winning the U.S. Open or U.S. Senior Open: “It's a special thing. It's our National Open. There's nothing better than that. And the other U.S. Open (for seniors) is the same. I don't care what anybody says, it's our National Open. I don't know what else you would want in golf. Maybe somebody (would), but not me. You can have the other ones.”
In the course of the interview, Mediate impersonated a weatherman: “It rained like 12 feet here the last couple of weeks.”
Then he was a psychologist: “I’m good. I’ve got no issues. It’s all my fault now. Can’t blame it on my back anymore.”
Finally, he was a golf watcher, speaking of ageless contender Hale Irwin and other rivals: “At 68 years old, it's ridiculous how good he plays. If you look at these guys, I would watch them every single day of the week if I had my choice. I actually do sometimes. They're the best that ever walked on grass that played golf still.”
Sometimes rookies say the most interesting things.