OF THE 34 WINNERS set to tee off Thursday at the season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions, Rocco Mediate may be the most grateful. The Roc Man’s PGA Tour status was in serious doubt until he pulled off a surprising Fall Series win at the Frys.com Open, his sixth career victory and first title in eight long years.
Now he’s in Kapalua with a new attitude and new tattoo, his first, an “R,” “N” and “M” on his right bicep. The letters are the initials of his three sons, Rocco, Nikko and Marco. A photograph of his tattoo will appear in the March issue of Golf Digest.
“I’m 48 and got cooler,” Mediate told the magazine’s Dave Shedloski.
It wasn’t impulsive. Rocco had been thinking about it for a while. He wanted the tattoo to mean something. So now he has his boys on his arm.
Being able to play in a winners-only event means something, too. Mediate is the oldest player in the field. During the slump and injuries that followed his epic playoff duel with Tiger Woods at the 2008 U.S. Open, Rocco must have wondered if he would have any more big moments on the PGA Tour. Then along came that special week in San Jose.
“Everything is getting better,” he said, including his troublesome back. “… And it’s pretty cool. I still think I can compete out here.”
−The Armchair Golfer
Visor tip to Dave Shedloski at Local Knowledge
(Photo credit: Keith Allison, Flickr, Creative Commons license)