Mediate opts for no club deals in 2011

Rocco Mediate chips the ball to the second green during the first round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions golf tournament in Kapalua, Hawaii Thursday, Jan. 6, 2011.

Rocco Mediate chips the ball to the second green during the first round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions golf tournament in Kapalua, Hawaii Thursday, Jan. 6, 2011.

KAPALUA, Hawaii – Several players have arrived on the island of Maui this week sporting new equipment deals. Jim Furyk and Camilo Villegas have joined TaylorMade; Tim Clark has become a full-line Titleist ambassador; U.S. Open winner Graeme McDowell is now a Srixon man. Others have made changes, too.

So which equipment company did Rocco Mediate sign with in the offseason?

“No club deals,” he announced outside the clubhouse at Kapalua. “Not looking for one. I turned them all down.”

In early October, Mediate was resigned to returning to Q-School to earn his 2011 PGA Tour card. Then lightning struck with a victory at the Frys.com Open and its accompanying two-year exemption, and Mediate, who turned 48 in December, now will be exempt all the way into his Champions Tour days.

“It got me a job for life,” he said.

He previously had a club deal with Callaway, but the two parties went different ways in the middle of last season. So why, like most, wouldn’t he pursue a club deal that would pay him six figures simply for playing a certain brand? He says he wants the freedom to play what’s best for him; he figures on any given Sunday, one or two shots could make up for the financial security he’s given up.

“I proved it last fall,” he said, referring to his victory at CordeValle in San Martin, Calif.

What’s in Mediate’s bag for the season opener? As has been the case since June, a little bit of everything. He’s carrying an Adams Speed Line Fast driver; a Fourteen SF 206 fairway wood; two Adams hybrids (one a 17-degree A7 Idea, one a 20-degree Pro Black); Titleist AP2 irons (4-iron through pitching wedge); Titleist Vokey Design Spin Milled wedges (one a 52 degree, the other 58); and a Scotty Cameron for Titleist Newport 009 putter (35 inches). Mediate plays the Titleist ProV1x golf ball, which he was playing when he won last fall.

That’s not to say Mediate won’t be deriving at least some endorsement income this season. He did sign a ball/glove agreement with Titleist and has two new corporate sponsors added to his repertoire, both with connections to his native Pittsburgh. He’s wearing a Dick’s Sporting Goods hat (and appearing in commercials for the sporting goods retailer) and also is sporting the logo of Taggart, a Pennsylvania coal company, on his sleeve.

“Good buddies of mine,” he says.

Thursday, in his opening round of the season, Mediate’s mixed set didn’t treat him so well. He opened by shooting 6-over 79 and ranked 33rd in the 33-man field.

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