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In Like Flint
Gary Van Sickle
August 21, 2000
Tiger Woods may have had the keys to the city, but Rocco Mediate wound up the toast of the town
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August 21, 2000

In Like Flint

Tiger Woods may have had the keys to the city, but Rocco Mediate wound up the toast of the town

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Woods is the model of confidence and a positive thinker. Woody, to borrow from Spiro Agnew, is a nattering nabob of negativism. Austin constantly talks to himself and to his ball during a round, and usually it's not a friendly conversation. On Sunday he could be heard chiding himself, saying, "When are you going to hit it like a man and not a mouse?" On Saturday, as he was losing his two-shot lead while shooting a nervous 73, he called himself a choking dog, which prompted Mork, who tries to get Austin to lighten up, to go to CB mode. "Choking Dog, Choking Dog, this is Positive Attitude," he squawked into a cupped hand. "Can you read me, over?"

The ploy was a temporary success, but after the round Austin, who had fallen two strokes behind Perry, gave this self-analysis: "What I did was, I choked. I absolutely choked. I know who I am. I'm a chump."

While Woods confidently looked ahead to Valhalla, Woody looked forward to next year with relief. The $118,800 he won for his tie for fifth at the Buick assured him that he'll be exempt for 2001. "I'm ecstatic that my job is secure, but I'm still very disappointed with the way I played on the weekend," Austin said. "People can say, 'Geez, you haven't played a good tournament in four years. You should be happy' To me, shooting only one under par on the weekend stinks." Still, Austin did finish two shots ahead of Woods, which cheered him not at all. "Somebody will just say he had his F game or something," he said.

About that time Austin heard the roar coming from the 18th green after Mediate's clutch putt put him in a tie for the lead. It was followed a few moments later by a groan—Perry had failed in his try to force a playoff. It was quarter to six. Woods's jet was already en route to Orlando. On Tuesday he was to fly to Louisville.

Woody didn't qualify for the PGA, but having played eight of the last 10 weeks, he was happy to be heading home to Lee's Summit, Md. "I'm going to go home and not worry," he said, working up a smile. "I'm free for the rest of the year."

Then he turned and walked toward the clubhouse. Not that anyone noticed.

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