Brandt Snedeker’s stock is soaring.
He won $10 million for capturing last season’s FedExCup and nearly $15 mil in all. This season he’s won over $2.8 million, and his early season resume includes a third, two seconds, and a W at last weekend’s Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. In short, in the last five months Snedeker has secured his finances for life.
That done, he can now play for history, just like Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, and others who have made a fortune are able to. And make no mistake about it, Snedeker hungers for major titles. After winning at Pebble Beach, he said, “Until you win majors, you are in the second tier.” So, even though he has ascended to fourth in the World Golf Rankings, he is well aware of the barrier between him and Rory McIlroy (#1) and Tiger Woods (#2), who have won multiple majors.
Snedeker has the game to win majors. His ball striking is much improved this season as he ranks 6th in GIR, and he has long been known as one of the game’s best putters. Snedeker has contended in a couple of majors, but was undone by poor closing rounds. The first, a 77 at the 2008 Masters, literally brought him to tears. The second came at last year’s British Open in which he lead after 36 holes before closing with rounds of 73-74 to finish four back of Ernie Els.
Snedeker’s Top 10s in the Majors
2008 Masters – 3t – 4 back of Trevor Immelman after closing with a 77
2008 U.S. Open – 9t – 5 back of Woods
2010 U.S. Open – 8t – 5 back of Graeme McDowell
2012 British Open – 3t – 4 back of Ernie Els after closing with a 74
At Pebble Beach, Snedeker breezed home with a 65 which included a bogey free 33 on the difficult back nine to win by two shots over Chris Kirk. His rapid and casual appearing approach to the game would seem well suited to winning regular tour events, the kind that are now within his comfort zone. But will his hit-them-fast style work in the majors, or will he succumb to the pressure and remain one those excellent PGA Tour winner type players who cannot make that final step to the top?
We have so many compelling story lines unfolding in 2013 – Can Rory adapt to his new equipment in time to win more majors? Will Tiger finally bag #15? Is Phil’s driving for real? And, can Brandt Snedeker bust through to the game’s highest level.
I have never been a Snedeker fan, but lately I have discovered that there is much to like about him. He is an advocate for fast play, he hates anchoring (he wants to see if a golfer’s nerves will twitch on pressure putts), he seems likeable enough, he recognizes the historical significance of the majors (he is not all about the money), and best of all, he is a solid family guy who lives in Nashville, his hometown, with his wife and two children.
Snedeker, 32, has the game, the experience, and the momentum. So, it will be no surprise if his name appears on the leaderboard this season on those four Sunday’s when history is made.