AS SOMEONE PUT IT, Tiger won the trophy, but Rocco won the hearts. Cliché? Yep. Sappy? Yep. But hey, it’s right on the mark.
Ever since Rocco Mediate went toe-to-toe with golf’s Goliath, Tiger Woods, and nearly brought down the giant in the U.S. Open, golf fans have been sharing the love as if Rocco was that other western PA native son, Arnold Palmer.
Rocco is a PGA Tour rock star, and he’s been soaking it up like solar panels on a sunny day. In fact, the 45-year-old was “toast” after his reception and opening-round 71 at the Buick Open.
Here are some of Rocco's comments (edited) from yesterday’s media conference:
Q. Did you see the banner up there?
ROCCO: I did. I can't believe they did that. It was nice.
Q. Did you find that the banner with the fans was different, were there more fans?
ROCCO: That was this morning, only probably 200, 300,000 fans following me (laughter). It was great. It was obviously louder.
Q. The whole thing is starting to catch up in terms of energy.
ROCCO: Yes, I have noticed.
Q. How does it feel to be a fan favorite?
ROCCO: I think it's cool.
Q. You mentioned yesterday you were tired?
ROCCO: I'm toast. It took a lot out of me. I loved it. But I need to get some rest the rest of the day and tomorrow morning.
−The Armchair Golfer