A famous rookie in the Boeing Classic field this year gets to Seattle several times a year and is familiar with the TPC Snoqualmie Ridge course.
Rocco Mediate, best known for the epic 2008 U.S. Open in which he lost to Tiger Woods on the 19th hole of the Monday playoff, turned 50 last December and became a Champions Tour member.
Mediate visits the Seattle area often to see his three sons, ages 22, 20 and 17, who moved here years ago when their mother remarried.
Mediate recently made news when he disclosed on David Feherty’s program on The Golf Channel that Woods in 2009 declined to autograph the pin-placement sheet from their playoff at Torrey Pines. Mediate wanted Tiger to say something personal on the pin sheet to make it an even more meaningful keepsake.
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Mediate left the pin sheet and his request in Woods’ locker at the 2009 Players Championship. Mediate said all he got back was a standard, autographed photo of Woods. The pin sheet was returned with nothing written on it. Mediate said he threw the autographed photo in the trash.
Mediate’s disclosure of the incident got wide publicity. He said Woods never has contacted him about it and “probably laughed about it.” Despite his frustration with Woods, Mediate said he still considers him to be “one of my favorite guys.”
Mediate said he gets asked about the 2008 U.S. Open almost every day. He said the heartbreaking loss “did affect me, but it never destroyed me.” He said what resurrected his confidence was his victory at the 2010 Frys.com Open.
“Beating guys made everything better,” he said.
Mediate won his debut Champions Tour event, the Allianz Championship in Boca Raton, Fla., in February. He shot a course-record 61 in the second round.
Mediate had top 10s in his next three tournaments but then the putts stopped dropping. He is presently No. 9 on the money list.
Mediate said golfers on the Champions Tour have told him how much they enjoy the Boeing Classic because of the big crowds and the Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, which Mediate described as “one of Jack’s best.” The Boeing Classic is scheduled for Aug. 23-25.
Mediate said one adaptation to the Champions Tour is realizing the importance of the opening round because most tournaments are 54-hole events.
“You better have it on Friday or you’re not going to win,” he said.
• The 2014 Seattle Golf and Travel Show will be Feb. 28-March 2 at the CenturyLink Field Event Center. The show was held about three weeks earlier this year.
• PGATour.com followed the Washington Huskies men’s golf team in its unsuccessful quest for the NCAA championship. The four roughly five-minute segments in the “Everyday, Washington Huskies” series with behind-the-scenes footage can be found on Youtube.com.