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January 27, 2010

Daily Flogging: Rocco Mediate talks about Tiger Woods - and everything else

Posted at 8:35 AM by Gary Van Sickle | Categories: Rocco Mediate

The obligatory story of this week is Rocco Mediate returning to play Torrey Pines after his memorable duel there with Tiger Woods in the 2008 U.S. Open. It's also an easy story because Mediate earns frequent chatter miles. Put a nickel in him and he's off and running as a quote machine.

Here's what Golfweek's Jeff Rude got from Mediate:

On Mediate's appearance on "CSI": "I played myself so now I'm typecast. I can't get another acting job."

On whether he thinks Woods will surpass Jack Nicklaus with 18 major victories: "This may not go over well, but if he fixes his golf swing, yes, I do. If he doesn’t, he still probably will, but it’s going to be harder. But if he makes a few little changes in his swing where that club is more up and down instead of sideways, then it’s over. . . . Give me 15 minutes with him and it’s over. (Ben) Hogan wanted the elbows down, not sideways."

On Tiger's return:  "Whatever the problem he has is . . . he’ll fix it.  He’s still the No. 1 guy; it’s not available. As long as he’s breathing, it’s not available."

On signing autographs: "As long as they have ink, I'll sign."

Todd Leonard wrote an in-depth profile of Mediate for the San Diego Union-Tribune, and he got into the seldom-written saga of Mediate's breakup with his wife and three kids. (Mediate said his drinking and video gambling were factors.) He also talked to Mediate about his subsequent romance with a physical therapist, Cindi Hilfman, who is now battling a rare auto-immune kidney disease that causes blockages and kidney stones. She is waiting for a kidney transplant.

Mediate told Leonard: "I think she's going to be OK. She's scared. I'm scared, and it's not me going through it."

On Woods, Mediate said: "I hope he gets through this because we need him out here. We need him bad. He brings the level of play way up, believe me."

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