Rocco Mediate, the last area player to contend at the U.S. Open

Posted June 9, 2016 - Western Pennsylvania Golf Association - Contact

Rocco Mediate competing in the U.S. Open. Photo courtesy of the USGA.

Most golfers remember the birdie putt Tiger Woods made on the 72nd hole of the 2008 U.S. Open on the South Course at Torrey Pines. The putt vaulted Woods into a playoff with Greensburg native Rocco Mediate the following day. Woods ultimately won the championship on the 91st hole.

At 46 years old, Mediate would have been the oldest U.S. Open champion in history. Hale Irwin holds this record with his win in 1990 at Medinah Country Club at 45.

Finishing runner-up in the 2008 U.S. Open was Mediate’s major championship highlight until he won the Senior PGA Championship last month at Harbor Shores.

Mediate recorded top-tens in the 2001, 2005, and 2008 U.S. Open. His best finishes in the other three majors was t-15 in the 2001 Masters Tournament, t-6 in the 2002 PGA Championship, and t-19 in the 2008 British Open.

Mediate’s six wins on the PGA Tour are the third highest for an area golfer. He won in 1991 at the Doral-Ryder Open, the first win by a player using a long putter, the 1993 and 2002 Greater Greensboro Open, the Phoenix Open in 1993, the 2000 Buick Open, and the 2010 Open, where he holed out in each round from 100 yards or longer.

His best years on tour were 2002 and 2003, when he won nearly $4 million. In addition to his win win at Greensboro in 2002, he finished in the top-25 21 times.

When Mediate started playing the Champions Tour in 2013, he won his first event at the Allianz Championship and also won later that season at the Shaw Charity Classic. He finished ninth on the Senior PGA Tour money list that year.

A late starter to golf, Mediate developed quickly at Florida Southern College after transferring from California University, PA. Florida Southern won the 1985 NCAA Division II championship with Mediate and 1993 and 1998 U.S. Open champion, Lee Janzen.

Mediate’s top WPGA finishes were a win in the 1982 Four-Ball and runner-up in the 1983 West Penn Amateur.

Mediate began his professional career following his graduation from Florida Southern in 1985. In the second stage of PGA Tour qualifying, he holed a chip shot on the final hole for birdie when he needed a par to qualify. He advanced through the finals and began his tour career in 1986, a run that lasted more than 25 years. He presently has nine combined wins on the PGA and Senior PGA tours and has won nearly $20 million in earnings.