Rocco Mediate, Tiger Woods — Getty ImagesTiger Woods will never be able to play Torrey Pines without the memory of 2008 coming up for golf fans. It might not overwhelm him when he's walking the grounds of northern San Diego, but for fans, the limping Woods overcoming adversity to win that major championship will forever stick in our minds.
And with Tiger comes Rocco Mediate. The everyday golfer set to take down Woods nearly did, giving him all he could handle for 72 holes, and then 18 more before the playoff went to sudden death. Tiger won the tournament on the 91st hole at Torrey Pines basically playing on one leg, and while it was a heroic effort, it is the last time Woods has walked away from a major championship victorious.
Steve DiMeglio of USA Today caught up with Mediate to chat about Woods, and Rocco had some candid things to say about the 2013 Tiger that is different from that man he faced in '08.
"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," Mediate says. "Do I think he's finished winning majors? No. Does he have as much desire? Yes. But you could ask him to hit any shot blindfolded back in the day and he could. Now he can't. I know what I'm seeing. I know what I saw before. And it's not the same."
Any random golf fan that watches the game understands what Rocco is saying. It isn't a knock on Woods, it's just fact; the man isn't the same guy he used to be, and his ability to win the big events has taken a hit because it seems the fear of the game has caught up to him.
Analysts can say things all the time about Tiger, but it is interesting to hear a guy that had battled Tiger in this type capacity say such a thing. Sure, Woods might win another major, but it's the fact that we're questioning if that'll happen that makes it so interesting moving forward.