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Mediate withdraws from Buick

Mediate withdraws from Buick
By Tod Leonard
February 2, 2009, 2:34 p.m.

Rocco Mediate, the popular playoff loser to Tiger Woods in last year's U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, has withdrawn from this week's Buick Invitational.

His agent, Frank Zoracki, said Mediate underwent minor artroscopic surgery today in Los Angeles. Zoracki said that at Mediate's request, he would not reveal the location of the surgery. Zoracki could not say when Mediate would return to action, but expects him to miss at least this week, next week at Pebble Beach and likely the Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club Feb. 19-22.

"This is a blow to him. This is completely unexpected," Zoracki said. "He won't be playing for a little while. It all depends on the rehab."

Mediate played in the FBR Open in Scottsdale, Ariz., last week. He shot a 67 in the third round to get into contention, but scored 75 in the last round and tied for 35th. In one television shot Sunday, Mediate appeared to limp as he walked to the 16th green.

This week was to be a celebratory return to Torrey Pines for Mediate, who forced Woods into an 18-hole Monday playoff in the U.S. Open, and then took him to the 19th hole before Mediate lost on a bogey. Mediate's affable nature and underdog status made him an international media star.

Mediate's withdrawal is a significant blow to the Buick Invitational. With Woods still rehabbing his knee and out for the tournament, Mediate was to be arguably the most popular player on the course, possibly surpassing hometown favorite Phil Mickelson, who won the last of his three titles at Torrey Pines in 2001. The field also is without FedEx Cup winner Vijay Singh.

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