Rocco Mediate is known for his good-natured candor and speaking his mind — even when it comes to somewhat controversial topics, like the state of Tiger Woods’ game.
Mediate, whom Woods beat in an 19-hole playoff at his last major win, the ’08 US Open, is the defending champion of the Frys.com Open, the Fall Series event that Tiger committed to playing earlier this week.
“I love the way he plays, but I’m disgusted with what’s going on with him because it’s sad for our game,” Mediate said Tuesday from Pittsburgh, where he will play in this week’s Nationwide Tour event. “A lot of guys are happy Tiger isn’t playing well. I’m not. …
“We need to have Tiger back at the top, because he’s the draw. It’s fantastic all these other kids are winning, but they’re not Tiger Woods.”
Mediate’s “disgust” stems from Woods’ physical breakdowns the past three-plus years. His essential premise: Woods’ new swing, retooled under coach Sean Foley, is putting too much stress on his body.
“The physical motion is wrong,” Mediate said. “To get that stress off his body is a piece of cake – the guys working with him just don’t know. Sean knows some stuff, but what’s going on with Tiger is not correct. That’s why he keeps breaking and that’s why the ball keeps going sideways.”
Mediate also took a none-too-subtle swipe at Hank Haney, Woods’ previous coach.
“Starting with Haney until now, it was a complete and absolute destruction,” he said. “If it was me (as Woods’ instructor), I would say to Tiger, ‘Look, dude, I’m not helping you. You’re getting worse. You’ve broken down three times and you’ve had 57 knee surgeries. It’s not happening.’ “
Mediate added he had no role in convincing Tiger to play at the Frys.com Open, but he’s looking forward to the circus.
“It just shows another side of him,” Mediate said of Woods’ decision to play. “He’s trying to get better, trying to figure out his swing problem. When he gets his stuff together, he’ll be No. 1 again and everything will be back to normal.”
Time will tell, but it’ll be a long climb back up from No. 38 — a good showing next month would be a nice start.