Are You Kidding Me? Book Review

Are You Kidding Me?: The Story of Rocco Mediate’s Extraordinary Battle with Tiger Woods at the US Open

by Rocco Mediate and Feinstein

Grade: A
Teacher’s Comments: An enjoyable look “inside the ropes” at Rocco Mediate’s improbable 2008 US Open battle with Tiger Woods

Casual golf fans who tuned in to the final round of the 2008 US Open no doubt were surprised to find that—rather than taking a victory lap—Tiger Woods was locked in a shot-for-shot battle for first place. And they had to be amazed when they discovered that the challenger was not named Phil, or Sergio, or Vijay. Indeed, the man who was giving The Great One was none of the big names in the field. Instead, it was a 45 year old journeyman with a bad back and an unlikely golf name: Rocco Mediate.

But the real shock came when Rocco not only battled Tiger to a standstill on Sunday, but then took him to nineteen more holes in a playoff the following day.

In Are You Kidding Me?, Rocco Mediate and sports writer extraordinaire John Feinstein revisit the epic battle that was the 2008 US Open. It unfolds like a made-for-tv movie, with the unlikely underdog facing down the biggest kid on his—or any other—block.

It’s exciting stuff, even if we know the outcome (is there ANYONE who doesn’t know the outcome?).

But given that everyone knows how it all turns out, the real value of the book is in the perspective. This is Rocco’s story. He’s the co-author and his voice (and those of his friends and associates) is heard throughout. Through the book, we learn about Rocco’s childhood, his start in golf, his college, and early professional career. He speaks frankly about his personal difficulties, and his physical ailments.

Feinstein made an interesting choice in writing this book in the third person. While it sometimes creates confusion about whether the words are Rocco’s or someone else’s, the format allows many others to add their own input to Rocco’s story. In the course of the book, we hear from Rocco’s friends, relatives, ex wife, coaches and fellow players. Each adds a different angle to the Rocco story.

As you would expect from Feinstein, Are You Kidding Me is well written, and an easy read. If you’ve read A Good Walk Spoiled: Days and Nights on the PGA Tour, Open: Inside the Ropes at Bethpage Black, or Tales from Q School: Inside Golf’s Fifth Major, you’ll find it comfortably familiar.

This would make a good Father’s Day present for the golf-minded Dad.

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6 thoughts on “Are You Kidding Me? Book Review”

  1. I enjoyed the book especially having been there Friday, Sunday, and Monday with my son.  I found just one error – on page 252 it says that Tiger’s drive had gone straight right on the first hole on Sunday.  He actually hooked it well left into the trees!

  2. Read this book last year. It was truly inspirational to see how Rocco had gone from a dis-interested youth to a PGA Tour Pro, and then, after overcoming a very balky back, had taken one of the greatest golfers of all time to the very limit. And he smiled through it all. While Rocco doesn’t have quite the resume of his fellow Western Pennsylvania neighbor, Arnold Palmer, he certainly has the personality. And no one could have captured it like John Feinstein! I whole-heartedly second this book as a terrific Father’s Day present for any golf fan.

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