Rocco Mediate burst onto the Champions Tour scene this season with a flurry. He shot a second-round 61 and won the first event he entered.
The comfort level hasn’t wavered since.
Mediate held court with reporters for more than 20 minutes at TPC Twin Cities on Wednesday, discussing topics with a silver tongue ranging from physics to marriage to golf history to Minnesota’s lakes.
Minnesota has become Mediate’s second home since becoming engaged to St. Louis Park native Jessica Somers. He lives part-time in the west metro and calls the area “Pittsburghy” — an endearing nod to his hometown.
And wouldn’t you know it, Mediate on Wednesday played with former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura in the 3M Championship pro-am.
“We had a ball,” Mediate said. “I had no idea I was playing with him, so when he came up and introduced himself, I thought, ‘This is going to be a good day already.’ ”
Mediate happily posed for photos with the pro-am group, his arms over the shoulders of his wide-smiling partners. When their round finished Mediate excitedly talked of plans to give the former governor some golf advice in the weeks to come at Golden Valley Country Club or back at the TPC.
“If you’re taught the right thing, you’re going to get better fast,” said Mediate, who vowed to lower Ventura’s handicap from 15 to single digits. “As far as the Gov is concerned, I told him, ‘Dude, you’ve been an athlete your whole life. You can do this stuff. Easily.’
“He’s a psycho golfer, plays all the time. If I give him the right things to work on, he’s going to get better by accident.”
Mediate also raved about two of his adopted state’s golfing icons: Tom Lehman and Tim Herron.
“Forget about the golf — Tommy is just a great guy who has done a lot for a lot of people and he hasn’t changed,” Mediate said.
Of Herron, Mediate said: “Want to know one bad thing about Tim Herron? He still doesn’t know how good he is.”
While Mediate’s time Wednesday was mostly fun and games, he’s a student of the game ready to get down to business in Friday’s first round.
“A lot of people will be out to watch,” he said. “A lot of our friends — my new friends.”
Like many players coming to the 3M Championship from the Senior British Open, Colin Montgomerie flew from London to Chicago on Tuesday. But unlike many — any? — he rented a car to complete the journey.