Tiger Woods and Rocco Mediate
Fred Vuich/SI
Monday, June 16, 2008

The Final Post, Part IV: Asked about the knee, Tiger said he was glad he was done, the Open kept him going, etc. Wow, now I really have to sign off. This was great. Maybe we'll do it again for the British.

\nThe Final Post, Part III: With the baby back safely in Elin's arms, Tiger takes the trophy. The kiss, and then on to the interview with Bob Costas. He says it was "unreal" and praises the crowd.

\nThe Final Post, Part II: The trophy ceremony began with Tiger being greeted by his baby girl, Sam Alexis. He's carrying her on the green now. He gave Sam back to Elin, and Sam reached out, so Tiger took her back briefly before going for the trophy. Very emotional scene.

\nThe Final Post: Thanks for reading everyone. Please stay tuned to Golf.com for the rest of our coverage.
Playoff photos from Sports Illustrated shooters.\n

No. 7, par 4, 461 yards
At the green

Woods will go first. He's surveying. Putt was dead-center, but a couple turns short. Tap-in par. Rocco must make his to stay alive.\n

Second (and third) shots
Rocco gets a break. Gets a free drop for relief from the grandstand. Pretty good chip, but it kept on running. Probably 20 feet left for par.\n

Woods is on the front of the green, maybe 25 feet from the pin. Pretty easy two-putt distance. \n

Rocco has a tough lie in the bunker. Pulls it way left. May have hit the cart path. Right up against the grandstand. Big trouble.\n

On the tee
Woods drives to the right side of the fairway. It's almost touching the first cut of rough, but it's a great lie. Rocco finds a fairway bunker. Will this be the end of his heroic effort?\n

Rocco ties his shoes. Our broadcasters say we have 24,000 fans, at least.

Woods and Mediate both shoot even-par 71s. We have a sudden-death playoff to the playoff. We'll go to No. 7, then No. 8, then No. 18. They'll repeat that loop, I think, until we have a winner.

Woods E, Mediate E
No. 18, par 5, 573 yards
At the green
WOODS MAKES BIRDIE. Rocco must make his to tie. Rocco makes it. Extra innings here people. \n

Tiger and Stevie are sizing up the putt. Lots of green-reading going on here. Woods sets up and backs off when a bird flies overhead.\n

He misses, and he has some work left. I'm too nervous to type.

No miracle eagle for Tiger. Has five feet left for birdie. Rocco has a putt to win the Open at age 45. \n

Crowd is electric. Lots of yelling, commotion, players are sizing up their putts.\n

Second shots
We hear Rocco and his caddie talking -- 120 to the pin. Rocco says he "loves it." He pulls it a bit, not bad, pin high with 20 feet left for birdie. If Tiger two putts and Rocco misses, we're tied again and headed to No. 7 for sudden death.\n

Ok, back from weather alert. Tiger sets up and backs off. Grandstands are totally packed. Looks like a Sunday. Woods finds the center of the green. Safely on, but a long eagle putt -- 50 feet or so.

Rocco puts his in the fairway, well situated for that third-shot approach. (Here in New York City, the local NBC affiliate just broke in with a weather alert. You have got to be kidding. Take cover Northern Sullivan county!)\n

Back to the crowd -- we've heard from TV 20,000 plus, but the crowds were still coming. I think we're pretty far beyond that number now. \n

On the tee
Oh my. Oh my. Mediate dumps his drive in the rough. But it's a lay-up hole for him anyway. He can still get to the green in three. Tiger's drive hurt him -- grimace -- but he hits the fairway. Big advantage for Woods. On the way out, announcer said "You're watching one of the greatest U.S. Opens in history," or words to that effect. Have to say I'd agree.\n

Mediate E, Woods +1
No. 17, par 4, 441 yards
At the green
Rocco hits it past about five feet. That's a nervous par putt he has left. Woods two putts for par. Rocco knocks it in. ONE HOLE LEFT AND MEDIATE IS PRIMED FOR AN UPSET. (Or, maybe, another miracle from Woods?)\n

Sun is shining, crowd is making noise, I think I'm hearing more "Roccos" than "Tigers." \n

Second shots
Woods plays first, eventually ... taking his time. Stevie calls Tiger off his shot, he switches clubs. I think he hit 8-iron, about 20 feet past the hole. Rocco wastes no time on his second, just clears the rough and lands on the front of the green. Has to go up and over a ridge on a long first putt.\n

Fact from Anne Szeker, producer at Golf.com: According to the USGA, the greens are rolling the same speed as yesterday, 13.5 on the Stimpmeter.\n

On the tee
Rocco is still looking loose, swinging easy. This drive is just barely off line, a foot into the first cut of rough on the right side. Woods sets up and steps away for another practice swing. Sets up again and stripes it down the right side of the fairway. Both are in good position. \n

Mediate E, Woods +1
No. 16, par 3, 225 yards
At the green
Rocco swings what appeared to be his putter from off the green and darn near makes it. Tap-in par. Woods has a long one, 50 feet or so, puts it right on line, and it stops centimeters short. Two pars, Rocco still leads by one. Two holes left. I think this is getting good?\n

On the tee
Rocco hits one straight at it, but short of the green. Leaves himself an easy chip. Woods puts one just on the front of the green.\n

Reader mail: Not changing my byline to "Cliff." You know, no one in my family has ever heard that joke before ...\n

Reader mail: Thanks for a few catches on my mistakes, people. You're my safety net, and I love you for it!\n

Mediate E, Woods +1
No. 15, par 4, 478 yards
At the green
Great replay of Rocco after Tiger hit that shot. Shaking his head, in disbelief, but not the happy-go-lucky disbelief we've seen so far. More of a you-have-got-to-be-kidding me kind of a head shake. BUT HOLY COW, ROCCO DRAINS IT! BIRDIE! Will I need more all caps for Tiger's putt ... No. I will not. Woods missed and had a tough putt left to save par, which he made. Rocco leads by a shot.\n

Tiger's sand shot, special edition post

Second shots
Turns out Woods found a bunker. The gallery parts and he may have a shot at the green. Rocco is right in the middle of the fairway with 191 to the hole. Rocco hits a beauty, 20 feet from the pin. Tiger takes forever sizing up this shot, makes a big swing, shapes it right to left and oh my goodness ...\n

On the tee
Rocco lands just barely in the right rough and it pops back out onto the fairway. Tiger swings hard, comes up limping, and he is way right. Outside the ropes, past the deep rough, may get lucky and land in the grass that's been trampeled by the crowds.\n

Woods +1, Mediate +1
No. 14, par 4, 269 yards
Second shots
Mediate makes the up and down for birdie after a stellar chip. Woods hits a bad chip, has 10 feet or so for birdie. Tiger misses, lips out on the left side! He's human! MATCH IS ALL TIED UP!\n

Reader mail: If they're tied after 18, we'll have sudden death, starting on the seventh hole and then going to 8, then to 18.\n

On the tee
Torrey's drivable par 4. Rocco hits a nice one, in the neck of the green. Woods doesn't quite get his, and he lands in the right rough, even with Rocco's ball. Both will have chip shots. Up and down will mean birdie.\n

Reader mail: We're getting some questions about the weather. It looks perfect on TV.\n

Woods +1, Mediate +2
No. 13, par 5, 539 yards
At the green
Rocco's bunker shot lands about 8 feet left of the hole. Woods had the line but was just short with the eagle putt. Rocco makes the birdie putt, so does Woods, margin is still one shot.\nSecond shots
Rocco comes up short in a greenside bunker. Woods has a perfect lie in the rough. Woods puts one way high, lands soft on the green, facing a 30- or 40-footer for eagle.\n

On the tee
Rocco is in the fairway, and Woods is in the rough. Seems like Tiger's leaking oil a bit. He's bogeyed three of his last five. \n

Reader mail: Tiger's knee seems fine. The earlier grimace has not been repeated. (And to the reader who wrote in, I was not gleeful in the face of Tiger's pain, despite the exclamation point. I was merely noting the possible importance of said grimace.)\n

Woods +2, Mediate +3
No. 12, par 4, 505 yards
At the green
Woods makes a below-average chip. Not close. Rocco hits a lousy putt, runs it way past. Now he has a knee-knocker coming back for par but makes it. Bogey for Woods, par for Rocco, and the lead is down to one shot.\n

Reader mail: Question coming about who the crowd is rooting for. Announcers on TV say it's tilted toward Rocco, more shouts for him, crowd is pulling for the underdog. Of course, Tiger gets cheers, but maybe slightly in Rocco's favor. \n

Second shots
Rocco has 243 for his second, on a par 4! Hits it to 20 feet. Amazing shot. Woods, from a clean lie in the fairway bunker, pops it up short and right into the rough. We heard some potty mouth on the air. Woods is hot under the collar. \n

Reader mail: More questions about the players' demeanors. Both players are looking serious. Rocco looked like he was getting tight for a while, but now he's swinging easy. Not much chatter or palling around at this point. \n

Reader mail: Lots of readers are asking, what happens if they're still tied after 18 today? Answer, sudden-death playoff. Wouldn't that be ironic?\n

On the tee
Rocco is getting his rhythm down, pipes one down the fairway on this super-long par 4. Woods is right, in a fairway bunker. \n

Woods +1, Mediate +3
No. 11, par 3, 192 yards
At the green
Woods was buried, couldn't stop the bunker shot, 10 feet left for par, leaves it short, bogey. Rocco two putts for a routine par to get a stroke back. \n

Reader mail: Is Rocco wearing the peace-sign belt buckle again? Can't tell. His pullover is covering up the belt. \n

On the tee
Woods was a couple feet short of hitting a great tee shot. Found the bunker, could be buried, won't know for a sec. Mediate hits 4-iron right at it, about 25 feet past the pin. Rocco, down three, really needs something to go his way here.\n

Woods E, Mediate +3
No. 10, par 4, 414 yards
At the green
WOODS SLAMS HOME THE PAR! If that would have missed, he would have had work left. Rocco had a perfect lie, took a lofted iron and half-chunked it. Short of the hole, missed the par putt, bogey. Mediate drops another shot. (Note: TV just said the crowd is more than 20,000, and people are still pouring in.)\n

Tiger's third
Right at the pin, lands just past it, but too much juice. Spins back off the front of the green.

Second shots
Woods had a terrible lie, hacks it down the fairway, short of the green. (Note: While Tiger and Rocco were smiling and seemed to be having fun earlier, both are looking much more serious now.) Mediate, from the fairway, hits it short, in the neck of the green, and does some growling to himself.\n

On the tee
Back nine starts, and we're over to NBC. Ah, the soothing sounds of Bob Costas. Woods hits his tee shot left, finds the rough. May have nestled down into the rough. Rocco shakes off the nerves that cost him the short putt at 9 and hits his drive right down the fairway.\n

Woods E, Mediate +2
No. 9, par 5, 612 yards
At the green
Mistake by Woods, flubbed his bunker shot, short of the green and in the rough. Next shot rolls up close, saves par. But Mediate three-jacks it for bogey! Devastating error. \n

Tee to green
We have grimace people! Tiger clearly felt pain on his tee shot on this par 5, but his drive still found the fairway. With 280 to the front, Woods hit a fairway wood into a greenside bunker. Rocco also found the fairway off the tee. No way to get home in two, so he lays up ... but into the rough. Ugly. That's what you get for playing it safe. Still, got his third on and within birdie range.\n

Getting to some reader questions. Keep them coming people. Gregory Hartman from Philadelphia asks if pin placements are different today from Sunday? They are, and they were planned ahead of time in the event of a playoff. For instance, the pin on 14 has moved back to the front of the green. \n

Note: The crowds are giant and still growing as fans continue to show up at Torrey Pines.\n

Woods E, Mediate +1
No. 8, par 3, 177 yards
At the green
Woods has a brutal bunker shot, with the green sloping away from him. Almost impossible to hold the green, and he doesn't. His ball rolls into the neck of the green next to Rocco's. Rocco chips close, as does Woods. Tiger makes bogey putt. Rocco makes par.\n

On the tee
Woods misclubs and finds the bunker over the back. Rocco is way short but in the fairway.\n

Woods -1, Mediate +1
No. 7, par 4, 461 yards
At the green
Woods is in perfect position, about 15 feet below the hole. Nails the putt. Birdie. Rocco two putts. Par. (Note: In case you were wondering about Tiger's knee, he's shown no signs of discomfort or pain yet.)

On the tee
Woods hits a beauty, right down the middle of the fairway. Perfect position. Mediate is in the first cut of rough on the right side. He finds the green with his second but has 40 feet or so left. Woods stiffs it.\n

Woods E, Mediate +1
No. 6, par 4, 515 yards
At the green
Mediate hits a delicate chip and has a medium-length putt to save par. Woods cans the birdie putt, and Mediate saves his par. Woods takes the lead.\n

Both players find the fairway, but Mediate is 23 yards short of Woods. Mediate's second is long, over the back, leaving himself a tough downhill chip over a ridge. Johnny Miller says he had the wrong club. Woods hits a high draw to about 8 feet. Very makable birdie try coming up. \n

Sorry for all the technical problems. Should go smoothly from here on out. (Man, I shouldn't have typed that.) Before the blog crashed, we had a reader asking about the crowds. Seems from TV like a ton of people in San Diego took the day off. Big galleries. Not as large as the weekend, but big for a Monday.\n

Woods +1, Mediate +1
No. 5, par 4, 453 yards
Mediate misses a 10-footer for par. Falls to +1. Woods makes a short par putt. The match is tied.\n

Woods +1, Mediate E
No. 4, par 4, 488 yards
Totally missed this one while dealing with technical difficulties. Sorry people. Both made pars.\n

\nWoods +1, Mediate E
No. 3, par 3, 195 yards

At the green
Woods hits a great bunker shot from that lie, but it came out hot. Has work left, probably eight feet. Both men make their putts, birdie for Mediate and bogey for Woods. A two-shot swing.

On the tee
Woods puts a 7-iron short and left, and his ball buries in the bunker. Fried egg. Trouble. HOLY COW ROCCO! He burned the edge and nearly made a hole in one. Short putt left for birdie.

Woods E, Mediate +1
No. 2, par 4, 389 yards
At the green
Mediate catches a good lie, but has an awkward stance. Feet way below the ball. Beautiful chip to about five fee. A knee-knocker. Woods hits a bad chip. Way short. Tiger putts first and drains it for par; Mediate is also safely in for par.

Second Shots
Woods is a little short and right, not good but not too bad. Mediate is way short and right, not good at all.

Tee Shots
Woods is way left with his drive, in the rough. Rocco is in first cut of rough, right side, with a much better angle for his approach shot. BROADCAST NOTE: As the players walked to the their balls, ESPN cut to a pre-recorded interview with Mediate. But instead of the interview, all viewers could hear were birds chirping. A very pleasant soundtrack, but not all that compelling.

This from David Dusek in San Diego: "In case you were wondering, if this playoff goes 18 holes and is still tied, Tiger Woods and Rocco Mediate will simply keep playing without a break until a winner."

Woods E, Mediate +1
No. 1, par 4, 448 yards
At the green
Rocco's bunker shot is close, in good position to save par, but he missed the putt. Bogey. Woods misses the birdie putt, makes the short one for a routine par.

Second Shots
From 176, Rocco is short and right, in a bunker, but with a good lie. Woods puts his shot just left of the hole in great position -- 15 or 20 feet for birdie. Advantage, Woods.

Tee shots
Rocco's drive is in the fairway, great position. Woods, trying to reverse his lousy record at the first during this Open, starts it right but catches a break. His ball lands in short rough, just right of the fairway and just left of a bunker, and kicks left into the fairway. Both players are sitting pretty for their Second Shots.

The players are on the first tee and ready to play.

11:55 am
Here's Cameron Morfit's take on Rocco's red-shirt move: "Rocco Mediate's decision to wear a red shirt, matching Tiger's typical crunch-time color, is hardly coincidental. It's a classic poker move by a guy who played in the 2005 World Series of Poker. Woods appeared to get a kick out of Mediate's color choice when the two shook hands, laughing before starting his warm-up."

11:50 am
We have this report from Paul Mahoney in San Diego: "Rocco Mediate is wearing red. Doesn't he know that no one but Tiger wears red in the final round of a major, even if it is on a Monday? The last player who attempted to steal Tiger's power color was England's Luke Donald in the final round of the 2006 PGA Championship at Medinah. Three holes in and Donald was five shots back. Watch out Rocco."

11:45 am
No TV in the office? Wondering how to follow today's U.S. Open playoff between Tiger Woods and Rocco Mediate? Tune in to the Press Tent blog for live play-by-play and analysis, starting at noon EST.

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