Rich Lerner: Q+A

People Person: Rocco Mediate

Continued (page 3 of 3)

Can he be the same Tiger after all he's been through?
I don't know if he'll be as dominant as he was in 2000, but I know he won't quit trying. He'll figure it out. He's become a little more human, feeling what we feel.

Do you like what he's done with Sean Foley?
No, sorry. The club's not where it used to be. It's around him, not up and down, and then he becomes too reliant on timing. No one in history ever swung the club as perfectly as he did back in 2000. Since he started tinkering, his striking ability has suffered. His ball goes sideways more than it used to. Of course, with that power and speed it's going to go crooked occasionally, and sometimes it looks worse than it is. It's technique, period. If he figures out how to get the club back where he needs to, he'll be back.

Will he break Jack's record for major wins?
If he gets the club more up and down and not around his body, he'll beat Jack's record, guaranteed. At big events you've got to drive the ball where you can find it.

You joined Bel-Air in Los Angeles a few years ago. That must be a nice hang.
It's truly one of the coolest places. It's a George Thomas gem, really quaint. I was on the range recently with Jerry West and Pete Sampras. They're great guys. And they love their golf.

Fans don't just like Rocco, they seem to love him. Why?
That's nice of you to say. Look, when you're on television, that means you're playing well. And whenever I'm on, which isn't a lot, I'm a pretty happy guy, a little more animated than the average pro. People always say that I look like I'm having a good time. Well, why wouldn't I? One, I'm going to make lots of money, and two, I might get a nice trophy. I always talk to people. Hogan couldn't do it. Tiger doesn't do it. But if I tried to play like them I'd be lousy. I'd have loved to have hung out with Walter Hagen. We would've had some fun.

Rich Lerner is a commentator and essayist for the Golf Channel.

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