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Snedeker & Love Ready to Go at Greg Norman's Franklin Templeton Shootout
Brandt Snedeker and Davis Love III are paired together for the Franklin Templeton Shootout. Also called the Shark Shootout after tournament host Greg Norman, the $3 million, 54-hole best-ball event starts Friday at Tiburon Golf Club in Naples, Fla.
Brendan Steele and Keegan Bradley won the 2011 tournament with a total of 32-under 184, taking home $375,000 each. Bradley and Steele are back to defend their title. Other groups include Norman and Fredrik Jacobson; Dustin Johnson and Ian Poulter; Jerry Kelly and Steve Stricker; Jason Dufner and Vijay Singh; Stewart Cink and Carl Pettersson; Bud Cauley and Rickie Fowler; Justin Leonard and Scott Verplank; Charles Howell III and Rory Sabbatini; Mark Calcavecchia and Mike Weir; and Sean O'Hair and Kenny Perry.
Love has played in the tournament several times with different partners - winning it in 1992 with Tom Kite, while this will be the first go-round for Snedeker.
Both players have had a busy year. Snedeker, a 31-year-old from Nashville, won twice, including the Farmers Insurance Open in January and the season-ending Tour Championship, which led him to the FedEx Cup title and its $10 million annuity.
For the first time in his career, Snedeker earned a spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team, which this year was captained by the 48-year-old Love. Unfortunately for these two and the other Yanks on the squad, at Medinah Country Club the European team mustered a strong final day in the singles matches to retain the Cup.
On Thursday, Snedeker and Love sat down with reporters and discussed their seasons as well as their chances to go low in the Shark Shootout. Among their topics was slow play (Snedeker's one of pro golf's fastest players) and the proposed ban on anchored putters (Snedeker has come out in support of it). Here's what they had to say.
MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Brandt Snedeker, who is making his first appearance here at The Shark Shootout, and Davis Love, III. We'll start with you, Brandt. Kind of give us your impressions of making your first start here and being paired with your captain from the Ryder Cup.
BRANDT SNEDEKER: Yeah, it's exciting. First time being here. Honored to be here. Obviously with Greg's name on this it's pretty special, and to be playing with this guy next to me is pretty unbelievable. He came to me earlier this year and talked to me about it a little bit and I said I would love to do it and play for Davis Love's drives for a week. So I would love to do it. And we're going to have a lot fun. It's going to be great pairing and I'm looking forward to it. Hopefully get a W. That's what we came down here for.
MODERATOR: Davis, obviously you probably know his game well; you studied it a lot over the last year getting ready for the Ryder Cup. Talk about your thoughts playing with Brandt and coming back here to play, and then we'll have some questions.
DAVIS LOVE, III: Yeah, he wants to play for my drives and I want him to putt for me, so it works out well. I've watched Brandt play a lot of golf over the last four or five years. Obviously I got the hottest player on Tour as a partner, so that's pretty good. I won this tournament with Tom Kite and have been pretty good at picking partners. So just continue that tradition. I'm excited and ready to go. I got Brandt this week and got my son next week. Can't do much better than that.
MODERATOR: We'll take a few questions. Use the mic for the transcript, please.
Q. Brandt, I can't remember, who were you going to play with last year and take me through your surgery.
BRANDT SNEDEKER: Yeah, I think was I playing with you last year, too? Were we paired together? Were you playing?
DAVIS LOVE, III: I didn't play last year, so -
BRANDT SNEDEKER: No. I can't remember who I was supposed to play with. I had surgery and flew straight from Malaysia was my last tournament last year; flew straight to Vail, Colorado to have the surgery done. So I had it November 1st, I think, last year. Obviously couldn't be here. You're on crutches for six weeks with that kind of surgery. So it was a bit layoff, but it obviously worked out for the best and feel healthy now.
Q. Talk about how you ended your season. Could you see yourself reaching that point?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: Yeah, you know, beginning of the year I probably could tell you I wasn't seeing that far in the future. I could see it happening midway through the year. Really started to turn the corner with my confidence level, with my game, and really felt like everything was a possibility at that point. When you start believing in yourself and give your self some chances, some good things happen. Last tournament I thought I had a chance of doing it. I really believed in the process of what I had going on that week early in the week. Sort of special week that came at the right time.
Q. Just wondering, when you win $10 million, first of all, did you look at the check? The other thing is, how long did it take you before that sunk in that you had won that amount?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: Yeah, you know, it's a crazy thing to deal with. It's not something you really think about in your career. You're trying to win golf tournaments and you win a couple, that's great. To have that to deal with has been something very unique, you know, very different. Definitely leaned on some guys that had won in the past and sort of asked them how they kind of navigated the landscape now that they had this amount of things to deal with off the golf course and try to steer clear of what they said were their biggest downfalls and make sure that it's used the right way. It's been a great problem to have and I've enjoyed it. But got to get back next year and start trying to do it all over again. It's funny. Golf doesn't wait for anything. Next year you tee it up and you're starting all over again.
Q. Was there one or two things that they said to you that kind of resonated that helped you? What have you put the money towards?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: Yeah, I talked to Bill Haas a lot about it. Played with Jim at the Ryder Cup and talked to Jim quite a little bit about it. Few of the things that they told me was going to come out was just dealing with different things, people coming out asking for things or opportunities and how you're going to handle that. That's stuff you don't really know what to expect. Being me, the same kid who went to school at Vanderbilt and not anybody special by any means and having to deal with the new stuff has been different. The money has been great. My wife and I started our first foundation to help kids in the Nashville area through poverty programs. My wife is very involved. It's children, so we're starting a foundation focusing on that, which has been a great thing. Been an eye opening experience, needless to say. But it's a great way to use that money. Really helps people around town.
Q. Before I let this go, Davis, just wanted to ask you, any particular things that you saw that led you to choosing him for the Ryder Cup team?
DAVIS LOVE, III: Yeah, he was putting great and he won a tournament. (Laughter.) Obviously we wanted guys that would pair up well and guys that would fit into the team that we already had. We couldn't pick a guy that - Brandt was a guy we could pair with anybody. Brandt was a guy that anybody would want to play with. Like I said, what do I want here? I want a guy who is going to have fun, have a positive attitude, and is going to putt well. Same thing at the Ryder Cup. That's what we wanted, was guys that were hot with the putter and would fit in well with the other guys we had on the team.
Brandt is one of the most well liked players out there, one of the most positive attitudes, and one of the most enthusiastic players. You are saw it with our team. I mean, it was fun. They were fired up and having fun. Brandt was a big part of that. We needed him to fit in with some of our veteran guys that they would play with anybody as well. So it just was an easy pick, especially we knew how he was playing. We couldn't have predicted that he was going to win the FedEx Cup, but we knew he had a damn good chance. That's why we picked him, because he was one the hottest players going into that time of year.
Q. Just a quick question about the Ryder Cup experience and what you learned from something like that.
DAVIS LOVE, III: I don't know. I don't know if I learned anything. (Laughter.)
DAVIS LOVE, III: I've been through every scenario, and I was hoping they wouldn't repeat themselves. Obviously we had to come from behind in Brookline, where we thought we had it won in '95 at Oakland Hills and it fell apart on Sunday. I'll never forget walking I finished my match on I think it was 16, and I was walking back to the clubhouse. Lanny was in the middle of the 18th fairway watching somebody on 18 green. I went up there and patted him on the shoulder and said, Going good, huh? He goes, No, not going good. I said, What are you talking about? I thought it was over. He goes, No, it's not over. It's not looking good.
As player just playing and watching the board, I'm sure these guys did the same thing. I just had the feeling all day Sunday that we were going to win. I'm sure they felt the same way as well. All of a sudden we didn't win. I've been through all that before. I was not really surprised by a whole lot. If I went back to do it over again would I do some things differently? Maybe. But golf is a fickle game. Talk about his partner, if his partner hits a fairway at the U.S. Open on 16, hits the green at Akron on 18, and hits the green at 17 at the Ryder Cup, he's probably the player of the year and he's a hero. He was three swings away from changing the whole year of golf.
I just learned that you can't control. Put them out there and let them play. You just can't - I learned that in my career and watching these guys, you just sometimes do your best and sometimes things don't your way. Again, I wouldn't change anything. We had an unbelievably great week and these guys did a great job. They did everything - we got a line stolen from us. Jose Maria says everybody in America should be proud of this team, and I wish I had said that rather than him saying that. But they should have been. It was a great team. They did everything just right.
Q. The sense I got is that outside of winning, you thoroughly enjoyed and I think you wrote something about how much you enjoyed the whole...
DAVIS LOVE, III: Oh, yeah, I enjoyed the process. It was a lot work and enjoy doing stuff like that. I had rather been behind the scenes doing it. I would have enjoyed being Corey's assistant a little bit more because I didn't have to make any speeches and I didn't have to be the guy out in front. But, no, being a part of a team, doesn't matter if you're assistant captain or playing or caddying, just being a part of Ryder Cup is an incredible experience. I hope whoever is the captain next will let me come out there and wash towels and drive golf carts or something, because it was a lot fun.
BRANDT SNEDEKER: I think the one thing that the people don't understand about that whole team atmosphere and everything that went on was how much the guys on the team respected Davis and how much we had a great team atmosphere. I think me being personally close to Davis, but you know, you look at where (indiscernible) make a big difference in pairings and teaming guys up together, and we were great this year.
We were dominating the Ryder Cup, and then we go to singles where just one on one, nothing the captain can do. You got to get out there and play on your own, and we ran into a hot team and didn't perform. Being my first experience, having nothing to compare it to, it was something even though we lost, I would never trade it for anything. It was a great experience. To be on his Ryder Cup captain team was pretty special. Obviously everyone on the team is still pretty torn up about it. We talked about it last week in Sherwood. We were talking about it in the clubhouse. Not because we lost, but because we felt like we wanted to let Davis - to win a Ryder Cup for the captain. I think that was the big one overall thing throughout the week.
DAVIS LOVE, III: Maybe that's what I've learned, is it's not all about winning and losing. It's about being a part of having these guys for a team. I wouldn't go get a different team just so I could win. It was great experience all the way around. We could have done a lot of things differently on Sunday. Like Brandt said, those guys played that way, the Europeans, on Friday and Saturday as well. We just played way better than them - and they were playing great.
We were playing unbelievable golf Friday, Saturday, and we just played kind of average on Sunday. Not bad, just kind of average for us, and they continued to play well. That's how they beat us. It wasn't like a miracle. They played that way on Friday and Saturday; we just played unbelievably great Friday and Saturday. They just got a little bit of momentum. I think they has five eagles and three chip ins and we didn't have any on Sunday. Little things add up, and it's unfortunate. They did a great job, and it was exciting week.
Q. One issue I also wanted to talk to you both about was I had seen you a couple weeks ago on one of the golf shows talking about slow play. You were adamant and animated about it. Can you elaborate on some of the things you said there, and Davis, you, too?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: I just think as the people look to how the game of golf should be played, they look at PGA Tour players. For us to play five hour rounds I think is unacceptable. Granted there are a lot of tough golf courses and we've got big fields and we need to get around. I understand that, and the Tour staff does a great job of trying to make the golf course play as fast as possible. But we have a lot of guys on tour, and the way our policy is set up, is there is no real penalty for playing slow. You might get fined a little bit of money, but guys put aside that money at the beginning of the year knowing it's going to happen and go ahead and do it.
I think that's a flawed policy if guys are okay with that. I think we need to have a policy where, like anything else, if you break a rule there is a penalty attached to it. And I think slow play, we're penalized more readily. Used to have that (indiscernible) used one time ever on Tour. I mean, I can guarantee I played with some guys you can penalize them three, four times in a day. For them to be penalized one time is just not the way the game golf should be played in my opinion. I think our policy should be stroke penalty. I think if you have two bad times in a round, then you get the shot penalty. I think guys speed up really quickly when somebody gets that done, because that will affect a lot more than whatever the fine is now for slow play throughout the year.
I just feel like the game golf should be played in under five hours. Could be played in four and a half hours without a problem. Under four hours in twosomes. We should have guys that skate under radar and think just because they tell people they're working on it and they are still slow that it's okay. I don't think it's okay. If you're really working on it, you should be a lot faster. I played with Webb lat week, and Webb has been constantly saying he is working on it. I saw it. Last week he was extremely fast. I was shocked at how fast he played. So if you do work on it it does happen quickly.
DAVIS LOVE, III: He's picked it up.
BRANDT SNEDEKER: He's picked it up a ton. There is a guy who is really concerned about it and made a big change. We played last week, and I was shocked at how fast he was playing. So there are a bunch of guys that claim they are but they don't. Webb said he wanted to work on it and he did, and he is way faster. But there is a bunch of guys that don't. So I think the Tour needs to make sure there is a more stiff penalty for slow play.
DAVIS LOVE, III: I agree with all of that except it ought to be two shots like the old days. We used to be scared of rules officials. Now their our friends. There is nothing wrong with that. But I know all their names and they're my buddies and they work for they do have a union, but they work for the PGA Tour. I've got no controversy with those guys. I'm not scared of 'em. They aren't going to hurt me. They're never going to catch me because I don't play slow and I'm never going to get a penalty. But if Brandt plays slow and it might cause me to get a two shot penalty, I'm going to tell him to hurry up. But if it's going to cost him money and not cost me anything, I'm not going to tell him to hurry up. I'm going to leave him alone.
I think that is the problem, is there is no peer poor pressure. Because if Webb is playing slow and slowing our group down and I see that we lost track of the group ahead of me but it's not going to cost me a stroke because the rules official might ride up and go, Hey, you guys are playing slow. Hurry up. Then he might watch and he might say, Hey, Davis is playing slow. That's a penalty. Well, I'm not - I don't have that hanging over my head so I don't tell Webb to hurry up. And that's the problem. Like you said and I've been on the board four times and been through this a million times until you go back to a rules official that has the nerve to ride up and give a guy a stroke penalty or two stroke penalty for playing slow, they're not going to change.
BRANDT SNEDEKER: It will just take one and then everybody will speed up.
DAVIS LOVE, III: The best thing I heard - and field size on Thursday, Friday is an issue. If we play this many people it's not going to speed up. But that 15 minutes or 20 minutes and that appearance that the Tour players are playing as fast as they can on TV would be, I think, a better product and send a better message to the kids that are playing that we're responsible, we have to play fast. You know, Brandt and I play fast. We want everybody to play a little bit faster. But in general, that's one thing we talk about meeting after meeting after meeting as a Tour, is how do we get guys to speed up? Well, it's simple. You hang two shots on them. That could cost him $10 Million. (Laughter.) That makes a difference. Everybody that plays with him is going to speed up if he's playing for a million dollars, first place every week.
Q. In baseball they always talk about when a pitcher is working fast his infielders and outfielders tend to be sharper. When you're playing with a guy that's playing slow, does it affect your rhythm?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: Yeah, it's a fact of life on the PGA Tour. I've had to become a slow player on the PGA Tour for me to be comfortable, otherwise I'm sitting around waiting on somebody else and I get frustrated. I intentionally don't get my number until it's my turn. I intentionally do stuff to slow down, because otherwise I play in 15 seconds, I'm done, and I'm sitting there waiting on somebody else and I get frustrated. There is stuff I've learned to do to help me slow down. It's not rocker science. I wish the guys would do the opposite when it's their turn. Be ready to play. That's another big issue. Guys just aren't ready to play when it's their turn. It's very simple.
DAVIS LOVE, III: You know when you get your pairing whether you're supposed to walk slow or walk fast. Playing football you have to adjust your game to the other team, but in golf you shouldn't have to adjust to your pairing. Shouldn't have to slow down because guys, you're playing with a slow player. We need more Webb Simpsons.
Q. Both of your thoughts on the anchoring ban and what do you think the player meetings are going to be like?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: I think the player meetings will be pretty funny. I'm all for the ban. I think it's something that needs to happen. I think what's going to have to happen, in my opinion, is the timetable is gonna be moved up. I don't think it's a wise move to have three years of people calling Keegan a cheater and Webb a cheater or whoever is doing it, even though they're not cheating. I just don't think it's good for the Tour or for those guys. I don't think it's fair for those guys. I think the best course of action would be to move the timetable up a little bit and give those guys a chance of not being kind of ostracized by the golfing community. I think it's something that needs to happen. I think the guys on Tour need to realize that we don't know what is best for the game of golf. We're not that intelligent.
We think we do. We know what's best for us, but not necessarily with the game golf in general. Tim has done a great job of guiding the PGA Tour through a tough landscape in the last ten years, and players, I think, have realized that we don't now how to run the Tour either. I don't think we know how to run the game of golf either. I think the USGA and R&A are very smart at what they're doing. I think the players need to get behind 100% whatever they do and kind of move past this.
I personally don't agree with anchoring the putter at all. I think it takes out some nerves. If you got a five footer to win a tournament, I want the putter to be in your hands and feel what I feel like. I feel very nervous. Can't feel the putter. Hard to make a good stroke. You got to learn how to do that. I feel like guys that struggle with three , four , and five footers, which is the main reason people go to belly putters, I think, really see that under pressure if they're really struggling with that. I think it's something that needs to happen.
DAVIS LOVE, III: I agree with that. They ought to go ahead and do it though. Should have done it January 1. Talking about it and sitting around and waiting for 2016 is not going to be nice. Maybe should have done it 15 or 20 years ago. If they're going to do it, they ought to go ahead and do it and not wait another two or three years.
Q. Davis, Ian Poulter, from an emotional standpoint for what he did for his side, was that palpable? Could you feel momentum the switch with what he did?
DAVIS LOVE, III: On Saturday night?
Q. Uh huh.
DAVIS LOVE, III: I didn't put much stock in it then because we were four ahead. It was like, Well, they got lucky they're not five or six behind. But I didn't put much stock in it. We went and sat down and we knew he was the hot player. We knew we had guys that wanted to play him, and we tried to match that up. But afterwards, looking back, you think, well, yeah, that gave them a little bit of something to hang their hat on Saturday night, something to believe in. Crenshaw give us his little finger wag and something for us to Ben thinks we're going to win, so maybe we'll win. Ian thinks this is not over. Maybe this is something for them to hang their hat on. I don't know.
I was warned by my son, he told me a month before, Watch out, that Ian Poulter can make a lot of birdies in a row. I'm like, Where did that come from? Sure enough, Ian Poulter makes a bunch of birdies in a row two days in a row. But I told him afterwards, You're obviously built for this kind of golf. He raises his game when he gets in a group like that and a situation like that. And the more excitement and pressure - it's like Thursday is just boring for him on Tour. He's made for that kind of golf. Remove yourself from impartiality, it was pretty incredible what he did. It was incredible golf that he played. Got to give him credit for it. I wish he would have made four in a row rather than five.
BRANDT SNEDEKER: From a team standpoint I thought Saturday was the best night. We had the (indiscernible) come in and talk to us a little bit and thought we were just going to bowl over them. We were playing great and had no reason to think - really I don't think one guy in the team room thought, Ah, Poulter really turned the momentum around. I don't think anybody felt that way. We felt like, Hey, just keep doing what we're doing.
Q. The Bob Jones Award, talk about winning that.
DAVIS LOVE, III: Well, certainly an honor. I said earlier to Jim and to somebody else that my dad would be proud of the Payne Stewart Award, the Bob Jones Award, stuff like that, Ryder Cup captain, something you can't earn by tournament wins or scoring averages. So it's a very nice honor. I'm going to be playing that week. I'm not retired, so it may be a little early for something like that. But it's very, very nice of them to consider me in that category.
MODERATOR: Brandt, Davis, good luck this week. Have fun.
The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.