by Rocco Mediate and Feinstein
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.