Golf Digest editors picks

Rocco's Modern Life

Continued (page 4 of 4)

Rocco Mediate

Mediate and Hilfman share a moment at the British Open. He calls the 42-year-old physical therapist his "best friend." Photo: Peter Mulhy/AFP/Getty Images

At the British Open, Mediate was one of three co-leaders after the opening round but drifted off on the weekend and finished T-19. Sunday, he got a horrible lie just left of the second green, took a big swipe at the ball and missed, making double bogey. On the third tee Mediate saw Elliott and told him, "Just so you know I made 6 on that hole. That first one was not a practice swing." And he laughed all the way down the fairway, which didn't surprise Elliott, who has seen Rocco laugh at himself for almost 30 years.

Hilfman had to give him adjustments on the course during the practice rounds and throughout the week. Asked to describe his relationship with Hilfman, Mediate says, "She has become literally my best friend in the entire world. That's neat to have that. I don't know how else to say it." (Mediate and his wife are separated.)

The British Open was Mediate's 21st event in 2008, a ton for a middle-aged man with a bad back. His back is better but remains an issue. He needs constant stretching and was "on the table at 4:15 a.m." for his 7:03 tee time Friday at the British Open.

Yet, he and Zinger may be sharing team dinners at Valhalla after all. Currently 11th in the standings—with Woods out, players who finish second through ninth on the points list make the team—Mediate has no doubts his back would hold up for the possible 36-hole days. He also knows it will take more than a runner-up finish at the U.S. Open to make him a captain's pick. "I know exactly where I am," Mediate said. "That's my whole business the rest of the year." He hasn't won, but after years of turmoil, he's finally at ease with himself.

"The peace sign thing goes deeper than you would ever know," Mediate says. "This is the biggest awakening period in my life."

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