Rocco Mediate left Torrey Pines with his head held high after his valiant US Open play-off defeat to Tiger Woods at Torrey Pines.
Mediate, 45, was bidding to become the oldest first-time winner of a major championship and twice had victory within his grasp, only for Woods to birdie the 72nd hole in regulation yesterday to force an 18-hole play-off and then repeat the feat today at 18 to send their duel into sudden death.
It was there, on the 91st hole, that Woods finally shook off his fellow American with Mediate missing his putt to end his hopes of an improbable victory against the world number one.
“I’m sure that I scared him,” Mediate said. “I did good today.
“I’ve never had more fun, it’s just amazing. He’s hard to beat.
“I threw everything I had, the kitchen sink, everything right at him. I was three down through 10 and it could have been over pretty quick.
“All of a sudden ’bang, bang, bang’, I pick up three, four shots and in a few holes and I’m one up.”
However, with the first sudden death hole at the seventh he hit his tee shot left into the fairway bunker on the dogleg right.
“I had trouble with that seventh hole tee shot all week and I hooked it again in that bunker and caught it in a horrible place,” he added.
With five PGA Tour victories in 535 starts and three top-10 major finishes, Mediate relished upsetting the odds to emerge as Woods’ number one challenger at Torrey Pines.
“I can handle this heat. I’ve won golf tournaments, but not this stuff. And especially against him, with everybody in the world all looking in and expecting me to get my ass handed to me, I almost got it done.”