Mediate enjoying 'second career' on Champions Tour
TribLIVE Sports Videos
The drive to dinner had Rocco Mediate wondering aloud why there were so many cars out on a Thursday night.
“Roc,” Jessica Somers said to her fiance, “it's Friday.”
Bouts of discombobulation, such as the one that happened two weeks ago, appear to be the extent of the culture shock that Mediate has experienced since joining the Champions Tour.
The Greensburg native has won and finished fifth in his first two starts on the Champions Tour, flashing the kind of game and personality that could make him a star on the 50-and-over circuit.
“It's been a blast,” Mediate said. “Everything is really good.”
That may be an understatement.
Mediate shot 61 the day after Somers corrected him on the way to dinner, and that round propelled him to a two-stroke victory at the Allianz Championship in Boca Raton, Fla. Mediate followed the victory over Bernhard Langer and Tom Pernice Jr. with a top-5 finish Sunday at the ACE Group Classic in Naples, Fla.
His start suggests that the biggest adjustment for Mediate in transitioning from the PGA Tour is getting used to tournaments starting Fridays and not Thursdays, as is standard on the tour where he won six times and played regularly for more than two decades.
It shouldn't take Mediate long to acclimate to a new routine; he will play a full schedule on the Champions Tour. Mediate has not ruled out playing on the PGA Tour again, but he opted for the continuity that comes with full playing privileges on the Champions Tour.
“I want to have a place where I know where I am going for a year and get settled again,” said Mediate, who has been in southern California while the tour is on a three-week hiatus. “I still feel really good, and I don't have any problems. I don't feel 50 at all.”
It is hard to blame Mediate, who turned 50 a week before Christmas, for wanting to stay in the moment.
He said he is hitting the ball farther than ever — he attributes the distance to improved technique and better understanding of the golf swing — and he ranks among the tour leaders in putting.
Mediate regularly practices putting from 6 feet and in, using a chalk line to keep his stroke steady. Scott Piercey, who is among the top 20 money earners on the PGA Tour this season, talked to him in 2010 about the drill in which a straight line is marked from the cup and putts are practiced from different spots on the line.
A couple of weeks later, Mediate, who had hit the ball well but struggled on the greens, won the Frys.com Open.
“Without that,” he said, “I don't win.”
The chalk drill has remained a part of his practice regimen and helped Mediate enter what he calls a “second career” at the top of his game.
“He put in the time this winter getting ready for this tour,” said Frank Zoracki, Mediate's business manager and friend. “He wanted to make a mark right away, and, obviously, he's done that.”
Mediate has had to play well to compete with the top senior players.
“My motto is, ‘These guys are still good,' ” Mediate said, playing off a PGA Tour marketing slogan. “This isn't an exhibition. This is raw, nasty competition I've seen so far. You want to kill everybody and then hang out.”
That makes it an ideal circuit for Mediate, who thrives in that kind of environment since he is as engaging as he is competitive.
“He knows he belongs now,” said Langer, who has almost 90 career victories. “And he's going to love this tour because his personality suits this tour just perfectly.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Woman dies after bleeding on sidewalk outside Carrick pizzeria
- Unsung backups provide boost for Steelers defensive line
- Penguins lose hard-fought game to Blue Jackets in overtime
- Run game needed for balance vs. Seahawks
- Starkey: Flashback Friday for Pitt
- Body found in Allegheny River in Harrison
- Former Pirates pitcher Happ agrees to $36 million, 3-year deal with Blue Jays
- Unabashed church pastors put politics front and center
- Puppy, pals come to rescue of Lower Burrell firefighters
- Gilbert, son of ex-Pitt football standout, commits to Panthers
- Pitt falls flat in finale loss to Miami