Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

NOTEBOOK; Mediate 'Dead Money' at Poker Championship

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

NOTEBOOK; Mediate 'Dead Money' at Poker Championship

Article excerpt

Byline: GARRY SMITS

PINEHURST, N.C. -- Count U.S. Open co-leader Rocco Mediate among those to embrace the poker fad. But he isn't just watching on TV -- Mediate will be a celebrity contestant July 7-15 at Harrah's Casino in Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker's No Limit Texas Hold 'Em.

"I watch poker all the time," said the former Ponte Vedra Beach resident who now lives in Naples. "I love it. It's so much fun."

Mediate has been playing poker online and with friends, and is now ready to compete with the likes of defending champion Greg Raymer, his personal poker idol. His $10,000 entry fee for the tournament is being picked up by PokerStars.com, an online gaming site.

Mediate knows he may be out of his element until he gains more experience. He will be one of 6,000 contestants going after $6 million.

"You know what Raymer and those guys call celebrity players?" he asked. "They call us 'dead money.' Hopefully I'll last more than a half-hour. Whatever chance I have here [at Pinehurst] I'll have way less there."

PAVIN'S TREK

Corey Pavin, the 1995 U.S. Open champion, didn't hang around long after his first-round 73 at Pinehurst. He left for the airport and a chartered plane to his home in San Diego, where he will attend his 19-year-old son Ryan's high school graduation tonight.

Pavin will then fly back to Pinehurst for his 12:37 p.m. starting time in today's second round. Ryan is the oldest of his two sons.

"It was an easy decision on what I was going to do," Pavin said. "I was going to make sure I was at my boy's graduation. Fortunately, it worked out that I played early [Thursday] and could get there. The U.S. Open was second in line there."

PUTTING FAILS THE GOOSE

When Retief Goosen was last seen at a U.S. Open, he needed only 24 putts, and one-putted 11 greens, on his way to a final-round 71 and his second Open title last year at Shinnecock Hills.

Goosen needed eight more putts Thursday in the opening round of his title defense, but he was three shots better than that Sunday on Long Island. Goosen's 2-under-par 68 left him only one shot off the lead and well in the hunt. …

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