Category: Rocco Mediate


May 16, 2013

Rocco Mediate says he dumped Tiger Woods' autograph in the garbage

Posted at 2:50 PM by Josh Sens

Maybe Sergio was right. Maybe Tiger Woods really “isn’t one of the nicest guys on Tour.”?

The latest evidence comes from well-established Tour nice-guy Rocco Mediate, who, during a recent appearance on Golf Channel’s “Feherty,” recalled a Tiger memory from the 2009 Players Championship. At the time, Mediate was roughly a year removed from his playoff loss to Woods at the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, so he thought he’d ask Tiger for a memento.

According to Mediate, he left in Woods’ locker a photo of the two of them from the playoff, along with a pin sheet from their fifth-round match. He also left a note, requesting an autograph and an inscription.

“Look, sign these for me, write something on there, and personalize it and then sign the pin sheet,” Mediate told David Feherty, summing up his note to Tiger. “Because I’m going to put them on my wall somewhere.”

Well, Mediate got the autograph, but that was it. As Rocco tells it, Woods returned the materials later that day, having signed the photo but without writing an inscription. The pin sheet came back to Rocco untouched.

Mediate says he threw everything in the trash.

“That tells the story,” Mediate said. “Why wouldn’t he ... just mess with me, and the sign my pin sheet, so I could put the damn thing on my wall and say, ‘I almost got the guy that day.’”

Mediate emphasized that he’s still a Tiger fan.

“I’ve been a big fan of Tiger since I met him,” he said. “I love the way he does his job. I don’t care what anybody thinks or anybody says; we ain’t gonna see this kid come about again.”

You get the feeling that Sergio Garcia -- among many others -- would be just fine with that.

April 26, 2013

Rocco Mediate rides golf cart into media center for interview

Posted at 2:15 PM by Josh Sens

Cart paths only?


Not for Rocco Mediate.

Not when he’s rushing to a date with a microphone in the run-up to an event on the Champions Tour.

As Garry Smits reported in the Florida-Times-Union this week
, the affable Mediate turned heads Thursday as he hurried to a press conference in Savannah in advance of the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf.

Put it this way: he didn’t go by foot.

Riding shotgun in a cart driven by his caddie, Martin Courtois, Mediate rolled straight from the course and down a ramp into the cart barn, breezing by reporters and Champions Tour staff, deep into the bowels of the building and stopping at the doorway of the interview room.

“Well, they say we can take the golf carts anywhere,” Mediate said.

Which is kinda, sorta true.

On the Champions Tour, carts aren’t just permitted in competition. Players can take them onto the practice range.

You could see this as a gesture of respect for our elders. Or as a patronizing insult to the over-50 set, most of whom can walk just fine.

Anyway, it’s hard to hold anything against Rocco, a famously amiable and outgoing player who has always understood how good he’s got it.

“We get to play this game and most of the time they pay you,” he said, explaining his perpetually sunny manner. “I don’t see the problem. I really don’t. It’s still a game. If most guys (on the PGA Tour) would treat it that way, it would be a lot more fun for everyone to watch. If they would have more fun, they’d be better for it.”

With an attitude like that, what say we let him take his cart up on the green?

February 10, 2013

They Said It! Left and Right spar over Phil's taxes in Top Quotes of Week

Posted at 10:42 AM by Mike Walker

Keithellison_quote1. “I think it’s fair to ask Phil Mickelson to put in a little bit more money to make sure that we can continue to invest in infrastructure in this country.”

--Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) on tax hikes on the wealthy

 

 

Rush_quote2. “He's almost stuck in California, 'cause now if he does move, they're gonna tar and feather him as an ingrate who's somebody shirking their responsibilities, somebody who's failing to meet their patriotic duty.”

--Rush Limbaugh on why Phil Mickelson retreated from his criticism of tax hikes on the wealthy

Hunter_quote

 

3. “If you start popping shots for guys, they are going to start moving.”

--Hunter Mahan on why the PGA Tour should give stroke penalties to slow players instead of fines

 

 

Westwood_quote4. “We both started playing together. I turned pro at 19 and came on tour and he was still at 12 handicap, so I can't understand the reasons for that.”

--Lee Westwood on playing with his father John in the Pebble pro-am

 

Goosen_quote5. “The long putter does make it easier on the shorter putts to keep the putter better in line a bit easier.”

--Former anchored putter Retief Goosen on why anchoring is an advantage

 

 

Sandylyle_quote

6. "It might just be that he goes through a bit of a hiccup for a few months before he gets back into full flow but the Duval story is not something you should just wipe away and not pay attention to."

--Sandy Lyle on Rory McIlory’s adjustment to new clubs

 

 

Condi_quote7. “I know how to do diplomacy, I'm not so sure about the golf course."'

--Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on playing with pro-am partner Jason Bohn

 

 

Hahn_quote8. “You look over to the right, see the ocean and you think about how cool it would be to be a surfer. And I think the waves are perfect for surfing, and I just want to jump in there...once you just start thinking about that, everything is bound to fall in.”

--James Hahn on keeping his cool atop the leaderboard at Pebble Beach

 

Rocco_quote

 

9. “Most of these guys kicked my butt on the regular tour, and I'm ready to change that.”

--Rocco Mediate on playing in his first Champions Tour event at the Allianz Championship

 

 

Romo_quote

10. He’s got a real bright future. It’s a marathon not a sprint, and he’s going to be one of the good ones.”

--Tony Romo on Pebble Beach pro-am partner Jordan Spieth

 

[Photos: Getty Images]

January 27, 2013

They Said It! Top 10 Quotes of the Week for Jan. 25

Posted at 12:47 PM by Mike Walker

Phil_quote1. "This reminds me a lot of Winged Foot in 2006, where I hit a drive way left off the tents. So this happened to be way right, but off the tents. You know, I've made some dumb, dumb mistakes, and, obviously, talking about this stuff was one of them."

--Phil Mickelson apologizing for complaining publicly about his taxes


Rush_quote

2. “All he did was publicly say, ‘I may not be able to afford to live in California.’ And the sports media descended on this guy. The sports media is every bit as left-wing as their news media counterparts are.”

 --Rush Limbaugh on Phil Mickelson’s apology

 

Ty_quote3. “We will revoke the on-site credentials of all journalists affiliated with outlets that post play-by-play coverage, whether those posts are originating from tournament site or otherwise."

--PGA Tour executive Ty Votaw on the Tour’s new policy on real-time reporting of tournaments


Justin_quote

 

4. “It's on my radar for the first time ever, the thought of being World Number One.”

--Justin Rose, currently ranked No. 4 in the world

 

 

 

Tiger_quote5. “Here I am just talking about it and my hands are sweating just thinking about the feeling I had to get through each and every day.”

--Tiger Woods on winning the 2008 U.S. Open with a broken leg

 

 

Rocco_quote6. “Nothing he did ever surprised me. He's that good. But he can't do it anymore because his golf swing is different. It doesn't produce the shots he used to hit.”

--Rocco Mediate on Tiger Woods, via USA Today


 

Tim_quote

7. “We believe in the notion that one body of rules is important, and that's always our intent. We just reserve the option not to, if we have overriding reasons not to do so.”

--PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem on the anchored-putter ban

 

Horschel_quote8. “I've played the Walker Cup in 2007 over in Northern Ireland at Royal County Down and there was a guy I competed against three times called Rory McIlroy.”

--Billy Horschel on being prepared for the crowds following Tiger Woods


Stacy_quote

 

9. “People always want to know why golfers from Asia are so good. Well, now we can see how all the countries stack up."

--Stacy Lewis on the LPGA’s new International Crown event

 

Trevino_quote

 

10. “The hardest thing for me to do is fall asleep because I can't wait to wake up and hear what I'm going to say next.”

--Lee Trevino on the "Feherty Live" television show

 

(Photos from Getty Images)

August 31, 2011

Truth & Rumors: Rocco "disgusted" with state of Tiger's game

Posted at 10:04 AM by Steve Beslow

If anyone has seen the best of Tiger Woods, it's Rocco Mediate. Their showdown at the 2008 U.S. Open was one of the most memorable in the history of the Tour, and, as of right now, stands as the last great moment for Woods. Even though he was on the losing end of that story, Rocco has always been a huge Tiger fan, and according to Ron Kroichick of the San Francisco Chronicle, Mediate sympathizes for the former world No. 1. Oh, and of course he has some thoughts on what Woods is doing wrong.

"I love the way he plays, but I'm disgusted with what's going on with him because it's sad for our game," Mediate said Tuesday from Pittsburgh, where he will play in this week's Nationwide Tour event. "A lot of guys are happy Tiger isn't playing well. I'm not.

Rocco also has some advice for Tiger, and it doesn't reflect well on his former swing coach.

"The physical motion is wrong," Mediate said. "To get that stress off his body is a piece of cake - the guys working with him just don't know. Sean knows some stuff, but what's going on with Tiger is not correct. That's why he keeps breaking and that's why the ball keeps going sideways."

Mediate also took a none-too-subtle swipe at Woods's current and former swing coaches.

"Starting with Haney until now, it was a complete and absolute destruction," he said. "If it was me (as Woods' instructor), I would say to Tiger, 'Look, dude, I'm not helping you. You're getting worse. You've broken down three times and you've had 57 knee surgeries. It's not happening.'"

When trying to get some insight on Tiger, it's always good to hear from guys like Rocco who actually know him (and his game) pretty well, but I think Sean Foley and Hank Haney may take a bit of exception with having their coaching methods questioned by the No. 339 player in the world.

Bradley Sweats First Pitch

Keegan Bradley may have displayed nerves of steel while winning the PGA Championship in a pressure-packed playoff, but he has been very open about another knee-buckling athletic performance: Throwing out the first pitch at Fenway Park last night, before his beloved Red Sox took on the Yankees.

According to Waggle Room's Emily Kay, Bradley has been sweating his day on the mound all week.

Indeed, Bradley grew increasing anxious about his turn on the Fenway Park mound to throw out the first pitch before a three-game series between the BoSox and their arch rivals, the New York Yankees. After all, he said in a Twitter blast on Monday, he had no desire to become a member of the first-pitch Hall of Shame.

"Every time I think of the first pitch tomorrow I get butterflies and sweaty palms," Bradley tweeted. "Needless to say I'm nervous. #nobababooey"

Howard Stern fans, among whom Bradley counts himself, are well aware that the radio talk show host’s long-time producer threw a ceremonial first pitch before a 2009 New York Mets game that all who saw it believe was "the worst in the history of modern Major League Baseball," according to MLB.com.

So how did Bradley do? You be the judge:

Juuuuust a bit outside.

Tweet of the Day

Does Stewart Cink seem different to you this morning?

Stewart_Cink

October 27, 2010

Truth & Rumors: Byrd says Phil's shot was better than ace

Posted at 12:47 PM by Mike Walker

What’s better than winning a PGA Tour event playoff with a walk-off hole-in-one? Winning the Masters, according to Jonathan Byrd.

Byrd, whose hole-in-one in the Las Vegas dusk to win the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospital for Children's Open was the stuff of Disney movies, said that the shot of the year is still Phil Mickelson’s 6-iron from 209 yards off the pine needles and through a narrow gap in trees to the 13th green on Sunday at the Masters.

Q. Your ace is getting a lot of talk. If you had a choice on your shot of the year, what would your choice be? That or what Rocco Mediate did [hole out for eagle on 17 on the way to winning the Frys.com Open] or the shot of Phil Mickelson out of the pine trees at Augusta, your unbiased vote?

JONATHAN BYRD: Out of those three shots?

Q. Unless you can think of another one.

JONATHAN BYRD: I can't. I don't watch enough golf to know. I would say mine was the most dramatic to actually win a golf tournament with a hole in one. It's something that's never been done. I would think it's probably a different deal trying to win a major. I would say in the whole scheme of golf, that's more important or more meaningful to hit a shot like he did through the trees. That's obviously very dramatic. But to win a major championship, I don't think that's any more important. When it involves me, that's the most important thing that can happen to me, so it's obviously very meaningful to me. But golf as a whole, I would say probably a great shot to win a major championship is probably a bigger deal.

Q. But he missed the putt.

JONATHAN BYRD: Well, I mean, you could say it changed the momentum for him to be able to win the tournament. Obviously, that is the main goal. Not necessarily to make eagle, but to win the green jacket, and he was able to do that. I don't know. I'm kind of struggling emotionally with this whole thing because people are leaving me voice mails like the greatest shot to ever win a golf tournament and all this stuff. And I'm like, really? Are you kidding me? I'm just trying to get on the tee.

Course superintendents who stare at goats

Julie Williams of Golfweek reports on the unusual course-maintenance equipment at Pasatiempo Golf Club in Santa Cruz, Calif.: a herd of goats. It appears that goats are more effective than people at clearing brush from hard-to-reach ravines. Plus, they don’t ask for health insurance.

With 150 large-bodied meat goats wandering the canyons, the landscape is rapidly changing at Pasatiempo. The first herd arrived at the end of September, and already the goats have exposed peaks and ravines that were in hiding since the 1920s and ’30s. [Course superintendent Paul ]Chojnacky expects the goats to clear about 12 acres total, digesting their way through the canyons – without disrupting play – at a cost of a little more than $1,000 per acre. The requisite manpower and machinery would cost roughly 10 times that, Chojnacky said.

Not only are goats cost-effective, but they’re also erosion friendly. Unlike sheep, goats won’t tear the entire root from the ground, experts say, and the animals’ hooves help compact the soil, unlike a team of groundskeepers. The goats are corralled by electric fencing and guarded by Anatolian shepherd dogs.

Stray Shots: Stories we saw while LeBron and Dwyane Wade were reminding us of when Tiger teamed up with Phil.

You don’t mess with The Donald. That’s a lesson an elderly Scottish woman who opposed Donald Trump’s golf course development in Scotland is learning the hard way. (Via BBC News)

Cristie Kerr is the No. 1 player in women’s golf, the eighth time the top spot has changed hands since Lorena Ochoa retired in April. Where have you gone, Annika Sorenstam? (Via The Orlando Sentinel)

Golf is dark in the United States this weekend, but the CIMB Asia Pacific Classic in Malaysia, a PGA Tour- and Asian Tour-sanctioned event, has attracted some big names to its 40-man field, including Ernie Els, Adam Scott and Rickie Fowler. (Via Yahoo! Sport UK)

October 18, 2010

Truth & Rumors: Norman says Tiger won’t be as dominating

Posted at 2:10 PM by Mike Walker

Greg Norman said that he expects Tiger Woods to recover his golf skills completely, but he wonders whether Woods will ever have the same confidence again. The former No. 1 talked about the current No. 1 at a media conference for his December Shark Shootout tournament in Florida.

“I don't think it's going to be as easy for him as what it was in the past,” Norman said. “I think his confidence level has been completely dented a little bit. Not on his private life side of things but more in his golf game. I'm sure when he walks to the tee now, he doesn't have the same adulation that he had before.”

Despite Woods’s legendary focus, Norman said that heckling from the gallery can get in a player’s head, even Woods’s.

“You get things thrown in your ear that you cannot block out, no matter how strong your mind is,” Norman said. “So Tiger has probably experienced a little bit of that, and it's going to be tough because he's gone through 10, 15 years of his career where everybody was just yelling great things to him.

“So he's got to make that adjustment, too,” Norman said. “He's a great player. Technically he'll get his game back to where he'll be able to hit the ball the way he likes to hit the ball, and he'll get his confidence back that way, but he has to deal with the other issues, as well, and they just compound a little bit and make life just a little bit more difficult.”

Life under the microscope doesn’t help either, Norman said from personal experience.

“And the sustainability for a player to be at the top level for a long period of time is tough, because he's under the microscope more now than he's ever been, outside of his playability, so you get put on this pedestal so everybody wants to know what you're doing, and the more you keep yourself out there, the harder it is to keep all that stuff away,” Norman said. “So eventually it gets through. So when it gets through, the concentration level and the application level and the commitment and dedication are probably the same, but it's not -- probably is not the way it used to be within himself. He'll come back. He'll come back and win golf tournaments, but he won't be as dominating as he used to be.”

Norman also said that while Woods still has a chance to surpass Jack Nicklaus’ record 18 majors, that window is closing.

“As [Woods] goes into Augusta next year, if he hasn't won a golf tournament, that's going to be nearly a year and a half maybe,” Norman said. “That's going to be really tough on him because now you start doubting yourself and you think, ‘OK, when will I ever win again?” and then you've got to think about winning majors to break Jack's record. He's a good enough player to do it, there's no question about it. It's just that as more time goes on, those chances start to dwindle more and more.”

More Shark: Norman tying knot for third time

Samuel Johnson said that a second marriage is the triumph of hope over experience, so we wonder what Dr. Johnson would say about Greg Norman, who’s about to get married for the third time.

Norman, 55, has been previously married to Laura Andrassy and tennis star Chris Evert. The Sydney Morning News has the details on the next Mrs. Norman:

But while Greg Norman remains a towering figure on the Australian sporting landscape, who is Kirsten Kutner, his new wife-to-be?

Unlike Norman's most recent ex-wife, Chris Evert, Kutner has never won Wimbledon or been described as one of the three greatest female tennis players in history.

The Sydney-raised 41-year-old is better known as the wife of Zurich-based financier Neal Kutner, a senior executive at BNY Mellon Asset management. The pair were married in the early 1990s and have two children, aged two and five, but are now divorced.

According to reports, Ms. Kutner has previously worked as an interior designer and has been helping the Shark renovate his $60 million Florida property.

An article in Britain's Daily Mail said the pair had known each other for a long time but their romance was kindled last year when they crossed paths in Egypt while Norman was working on a golf course development.

LPGA winner Recari calls Sergio Garcia’s dad ‘Papa’

Beatriz_recardi_jpg Beatriz Recari, winner of the CVS Pharmacy LPGA Challenge on Sunday, said afterward that she is very close to Sergio Garcia’s father. Recari, a native of Pamplona, said that Sergio’s father, Victor, helped her when she started playing professionally.

“I'm very good friends with his dad, and I actually call him Papa Garcia,” Recari said. “They're a great family, and my second year on Tour I didn't have any sponsor or club sponsor or nothing, so I had to pay for everything. And Victor, his dad, he helped me a lot. He gave me gloves. He supported me with balls, gloves. And he really looked after me very well, so I have only positive comments towards them.

“And Sergio, I haven't met him that many times because obviously he travels a lot, and he's very busy, but he's very nice as well,” Recari said.

But if you’re trying to impress Recari -- and who wouldn’t want to do that? -- don’t bother running with the bulls in her hometown.

“A male friend of mine [did]. But he was so proud because he actually got hit by a bull, and he carries the picture everywhere. He is as proud as anyone can be,” Recari said. “But no, all my girl friends, no, we stay away, and it's just kind of a male thing, stupid thing.”

Harrington credits ‘luck of Irish” for Malaysian tournament win

Padraig Harrington nabbed his first win in two years at the Iskandar Johor Open in Malaysia despite a sore neck that almost caused him to withdraw in the third round, according to The Malaysian Star.

“There’s no doubt that it was my week to win. If you had followed me for the four days, I don’t think anyone would have questioned that my name was written on the trophy before the tournament started,” said Harrington. “I got the breaks all the way through. I hit some good shots and had a few breaks. Luck of the Irish? I’ll accept that.”

Stray Shots: Some things we saw while wondering when Corey Pavin is going to let us tweet again...

Bo Van Pelt said he knows he has to work on his putting during the off-season because The Golf Channel gave him a C in putting this year.

Want to hole out from the fairway four times in four days? Eat at the Westwide Grill in Gilroy, Calif. It worked for Rocco Medaite.

IMG boss Ted Forstmann fires back after lawsuit alleges he bet against clients, including Tiger Woods. (Via Forbes.com)

Beatriz Recardi photo by Associated Press

October 12, 2010

Truth & Rumors: Tiger Woods speaks at D.C. charter school

Posted at 1:30 PM by Michael Chwasky

We all now know about Tiger's less-than-squeaky-clean personal life. And while he's about to lose his World No. 1 ranking and probably another chunk of endorsement money, you can't say he's all bad. According to The Washington Post, Tiger Woods was in Washington, D.C., on Friday for the opening of the new Tiger Woods Learning Center at the Cesar Chavez Public Charter School's Capitol Hill location. Tiger gave a 30-minute presentation at the event and answered questions from several ninth-grade students. 

"It's a perfect fit," Woods said. "If we can do this correctly, like we did in L.A., I think it'll be more impactful here than it is in L.A. Look at the people who come here. If they visit what we do, and we can offer it to their country -- not just here domestically, but internationally as well -- I think it'd be a great vehicle for us to expand and help more kids around the world."

The Capitol Hill campus is the second location for Woods' foundation in D.C. and will focus on communications and video production. 

PLAYERS ON THE BUBBLE 

If you need a reason to pay attention to the Fall Series, or wonder why players continue to play at this time of the year, the answer is simple: money. Yup, it's the time of the year when struggling rookies, out-of-sorts veterans and everyone in between start worrying about their jobs. There's always an interesting mix of guys who might lose their Tour card as the year winds down, and 2010 isn't any different. Check out some big names who might be looking at Q-School next year if they don't finish in the top 125 on the money list: 

David Duval: Currently 109th. It's still hard to believe the former World's No. 1 player has fallen so far. Did you know he finished second at the Masters twice? 

Robert Garrigus: Currently 119th. If he hadn't blown it at the St. Jude's he wouldn't have to worry now. 

Aaron Baddeley: Currently 121st. The whole stack-and-tilt thing was a mistake. 

Woody Austin: Currently 124th. Missing 12 cuts doesn't help. 

Mike Weir: Currently 142nd. Remember when he used to be good? 

Rocco Mediate: Currently 182nd. Might be time to get a job in the booth. Full-time. 

John Daly: Currently 195th. The lap band needs to go. 

Todd Hamilton: Currently 213th. He's still got his Claret Jug replica to ease the pain.  

January 27, 2010

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

Posted at 8:35 AM by Gary Van Sickle

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."

January 15, 2010

The Daily Flogging: Federer talks about Tiger, Ernie on Phil, and Clarke goes low in South Africa

Posted at 1:04 PM by Gary Van Sickle

The Daily Flogging is a smorgasbord of news, opinion and occasional grass clippings from the wide world of golf. Here's what you missed…

Hey, Roger, it's, uh, it's Tiger

Welcome to the Tiger Woods Forum. We still don't know where Waldo is. But he has been heard from, having made contact by phone with tennis buddy Roger Federer.

So even though the real PGA Tour season started Thursday (the Sony Hawaiian Open features a full field, not the 28-man vacation outing held last week at Kapalaua), it was Talk About Tiger Day.

Over to you, Roger. Roger that.

"Instructive" was the word Federer used to describe what has befallen Woods in an interview with French sports daily L'Equipe. "The tabloids are going crazy, sponsor contracts are falling apart. ... I've always been aware that the image you patiently construct for an entire career can be ruined in a minute. It scares you a bit, but that's the way things are. ... Tiger needs calm. And soon he'll become the wonderful golfer that we know again."

No real insight there but it was a notable First Contact. Meanwhile, People magazine, the home of no real insight, asked President Barack Obama if Woods could be rehabilitated.

Said the Prez: "Absolutely. I don't want to comment on his personal relationship with his wife, but I'm a strong believer that anybody can look within themselves, find their flaws and fix them. I'm sure he feels terrible about what happened, and I suspect that he will try to put his life back together again."

Rocco Mediate, who lost to Woods in the famous 2008 U.S. Open playoff at Torrey Pines, told The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that "all will be forgotten" if Woods returns to golf and resumes his domination. "He wanted to be the best. He is the best," Mediate said. "That comes with a price. Back in the old days, that price wasn't as much because there was no Internet. Bottom line: It's sad for golf. I'm sad for him."

At the Sony Open, golfer Paul Goydos offered this warning about Tiger's return: "He is going to be heckled without question. That's going to be part of the security issues for the PGA Tour to deal with over the next x number of months or years. I don't think there's any question that's going to be the case."

Goydos reiterated what several have already said. In the Tiger forum, the only real development other than Federer's contact was a comment by Ernie Els. You know how Tiger has a knack for turning his game around when he appears to in a lull, kind of a like a contrarian in the stock market? The one way to practically guarantee Tiger will turn it on is to claim that he is in a slump. Well, on Thursday Els passed the torch to Tiger's rival, Phil Mickelson.

Said Ernie: "[Phil] has really been working hard, and now his putting is coming around. I think Phil is probably the man to beat now. Even if you asked Tiger [at the end of last year], I think Phil got right to his level throughout his game. I think there's a new guy we gotta chase."

The Daily Flogging hereby officially notes the date and time.


A good wedgie never gets old

Sharp-eyed Golfweek writer Jim McCabe noticed that two Sony Open players found a loophole in the new grooves rule. John Daly used pre-1990 Ping Eye 2 wedges, which have square grooves but were grandfathered into use after a court settlement between Ping and the USGA . Dean Wilson also used Ping wedges, circa 1986.

The Ice Man Scoreth

One of the surprise co-leaders Thursday at Waialae Country Club was Robert Allenby, who sprained his ankle while walking with his wife on Monday yet managed to hobble to an opening 65.

"Now I've got a sore back because it's all top half," Allenby told The Honolulu Star-Bulletin. "Now I've got a sore right side because obviously you've got to compensate for certain things. I'm going to the ice machine and the steam with the physio guy. It's been very, very romantic for my wife and myself. I'm laying there in bed with ice on my foot, elevated."

Don't forget to mention the Hawaiian sunsets, man.


Merritt badge

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin reported on what life's like as a rookie. Troy Merritt, who won the Tour's Q-School last winter after an under-appreciated college career at Boise State, was on the third hole when playing companion Rickie Fowler noticed the name on the standard bearer's sign wasn't Merritt, it was Merrick, as in John Merrick (who, coincidentally, also shot 65).

After Fowler pointed the gaffe out to him, Merritt said, "I thought it was funny."

Life begins at 63

Consider this a gratuitous Ryder Cup mention in January or consider it a potentially significant sign of life on the European Tour. It's your choice. But the local hero of the 2006 Ryder Cup at Ireland's K Club, Darren Clarke, shot 63 in the first round of the Joburg Open on the West Course at Royal Johannesburg to sit one shot off the lead.

The immensely popular Clarke was famously passed over by European captain Nick Faldo as a pick on the '08 team. If he's going to add to his Ryder Cup legend, he's got a way to go. Clarke is ranked 115th in the world and the 63 was the lowest score he's posted on tour since a 60 in the 1999 European Open at—wait for it—Ireland's K Club.

Reality check: The West Course at Royal Johannesburg, softened by heavy rain earlier in the week, is the cupcake of the two courses used for the event.





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