October 18, 2010
On the list of guys who deserve more fans in this game, Rocco Mediate would have to be No. 1. The Pool Boy is almost universally liked -- I say "almost" because there has to be someone out there who doesn't like a guy who's upbeat, thankful for what he's gotten, and has a refreshing lack of ego -- and the fact that he almost took down the mighty Tiger Woods at Torrey Pines in 2008 only endeared him to more fans, Woods himself included.
And at long last, Rocco, one of golf's all-around good cats, has won again. He won the Frys.Com Open on Sunday with one of the more heartstopping two-hole finishes in recent memory. It was Rocco's first win since 2002, and it was memorable indeed.
Mediate was coming off three days in which he carded an eagle each day, and he entered Sunday with a three-shot lead. It didn't take him long to give that away, though, as he recorded five bogeys in the first 12 holes. He briefly gave up the lead on the 15th hole, and then played a game of anything you can do, I can do better with Alex Prugh and Bo Van Pelt.
On the 295-yard 17th, Van Pelt drove the green off the tee. Mediate laid up, and Prugh followed by sticking the ball to within a few feet of the cup. Yep, he nearly aced a par-4.
Mediate followed up with the shot of his career -- a 111-yard eagle, his fourth of the week, that gave him a two-shot lead over Van Pelt and Prugh.
And it wasn't over. Both Van Pelt and Prugh birdied the 18th, and Mediate again played slightly safe. That left him with a four-foot par putt for the win, and sure enough, Mediate drained it.
"Do you believe what just happened out there?" Mediate said after the round. "I have a job again."
Had this happened at Augusta or Pebble Beach, it would have been hailed as a win for the ages; since it was "just" at the Frys.com, it's a win for, well, mid-October. Still, it'll suit Rocco and his fans just fine.