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Rocco Mediate centre of attention at Buick

Rocco Mediate took centre stage at the Buick Open on Wednesday on his first day back at work since losing a bruising 91 hole battle with Tiger Woods at the U.S. Open.

With world number one Woods out of action for the rest of the year following reconstructive surgery on his left knee on Tuesday, the chatty Mediate had the limelight to himself as he relived the Torrey Pines duel.

That epic performance captured the imagination of fans around the world, with Mediate still basking in the glory of the runner-up finish that transformed him from PGA Tour journeyman to golfing celebrity.

“The impossible almost happened,” Mediate told reporters. “Can somebody remind me what actually did happen?

“It’s been unbelievable. Never seen anything like it in my entire lifetime.

“Busy, just busy. I just take my hat off to Tiger and a lot of the other guys that have won these things.

“I didn’t even win and it’s like this.”

Without a PGA Tour win since the 2002 Greater Greensboro Open, a victory would be a welcome encore for the man who has seen his world ranking and popularity soar.

Mediate’s performance at the U.S. Open has allowed him to step into the role of Buick headliner in Woods’ absence.

The player has been bombarded with interview requests and television appearances, leaving him uncertain of what to expect this week at Warwick Hills Golf and Country Club.

“I’m fairly wiped out,” said Mediate, one of 11 former-Buick champions in the field. “I just want to keep doing the same thing I was doing, and obviously you’re not going to ever have that all the time. At least, I’m not.

“But I know that physically I’m ready to go, and we’ll see, mentally.

“I’ll tell you Thursday. We’ll find out in the morning when I tee off how I’m doing.

“I know the golf course like the back of my hand, so that’s not a problem. But it is a challenge because I haven’t had much time to work.

“I played yesterday and the day before and that’s about it since Monday, since the Monday of the playoff. I don’t know what to expect truthfully.”


June 26, 2008

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