It’s been a long two days at the 2021 Senior PGA Championship at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Thursday’s opening round was suspended at 3:48 p.m. local time due to dangerous weather. At 6 p.m. local time, it was officially called for the day. That meant players whose rounds were still in progress had to arrive bright and early on Friday to finish what remained of their opening rounds, and then complete their second rounds too.
Fifty-eight-year-old Rocco Mediate was one of those players. Mediate ended up playing 27 holes on Friday, and is in contention yet again at the tournament’s halfway mark after firing rounds of 68-69. He was three-under overall after 36 holes, and four shots behind leader Mike Weir.
While Phil Mickelson made headlines by crediting his healthy lifestyle with helping him to become the oldest player to win a major at the PGA Championship, Mediate shared that he’s also made positive lifestyle changes over the past few years — and pointed to one regimen in particular that helped him succeed during Friday’s marathon day of play.
“Got myself in better shape over the last four, five years,” Mediate said after his round. “Dropped a whole bunch of weight and I spent a lot of time on the VersaClimber. And that’s what made the 27 holes not a big deal.”
The VersaClimber is a piece of gym equipment that engages both the arms and the legs in a climbing motion.
“I wasn’t very tired,” Mediate continued. “And I kept telling [caddie] Murph, ‘That’s why I climb.’ You have days like this, it’s wet, windy, brutal golf course. If you get tired it’s going to be even worse.”
Though he has six career victories on the PGA Tour, Mediate is perhaps most famous for going toe-to-toe with Tiger Woods at the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. Mediate eventually lost to Woods in a playoff. He’s since gone on to a successful Champions Tour career, with four victories, including a major: the 2016 Senior PGA Championship.
Will Mediate add another major to that tally this week? That remains to be seen, but one thing seems sure: energy won’t be a problem.