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Snedeker Weighs in on Last Sunday's Windfall
After he fired the low final last Sunday in the Farmers Insurance Open, a 5-under 67, Brandt Snedeker still didn't believe it was good enough. After all, he started the day seven strokes behind Kyle Stanley, and was still three behind when Stanley got ready to tee off on the par-5 18th at Torrey Pines' South course.
But it just goes to show that a tournament isn't won until the last shot disappears into the hole. Stanley, a 24-year-old former Clemson All-American who grew up in Gig Harbor, Wash., did the unthinkable, carding a triple-bogey eight after his third shot rolled back off the green and into the small but deadly pond in front of the closing hole.
Thankfully, Snedeker, who played in the group ahead of Stanley, hadn't left the premises. So he hurriedly rolled a few putts and got his mind ready for a very sudden, sudden-death playoff. After both players birdied the 18th - where Snedeker got a good break when his second shot just missed an unreplaced divot and he was able to move a large clump of grass out of the way, the two headed for the second playoff hole, the par-3 16th.
Snedeker's 5-iron tee shot flew the green and he got another fortunate break when his ball hit a CBS tower and stayed in-bounds. After a drop, he pitched up to six feet and made the par putt. Stanley continued his downward spiral by three-putting from 45 feet to send the Nashville native on to his third PGA Tour win.
Though he felt for Stanley, Snedeker was also thrilled with his play last Sunday. "Really proud of the way I hung in there and just so excited to have my third win on Tour and be in the FedEx Cup Chase now and really feel like my year is going to take off from here," he said on the eve of this week's Tour stop, the Waste Management Phoenix Open, which starts Thursday at TPC Scottsdale in Arizona.
Snedeker has yet to talk to Stanley, but plans to this week. "If we cross paths I'd love to talk to him for a minute," Snedeker said. "I saw his press conference yesterday and looks like he's in good spirits and everything is going the right direction, so he certainly has plenty of game. He'll certainly be back out here winning before - hopefully before the next couple tournaments he'll be up there again because the way he played over the weekend was fantastic."
Here's what else Snedeker told reporters during a Q&A in Scottsdale.
MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Brandt Snedeker into the interview room. Thanks for joining us a few minutes. Before we get you to talk about this week, let's look back at last week. Despite a little bit of a struggle in the third round, you got it done on Sunday.
BRANDT SNEDEKER: Yeah, it still really hasn't sunk in. Kind of a wild weekend to say the least, and I'm just was able to hang in there and play a great round on Sunday. Unfortunately Kyle had kind of a gas on the last hole and gave me a chance. I was able to take advantage of it and get in that playoff, and just hit some great shots in the playoff. Really proud of the way I hung in there and just so excited to have my third win on Tour and be in the FedEx Cup Chase now and really feel like my year is going to take off from here and nothing but good things.
MODERATOR: Making your sixth start here at the Waste Management Phoenix Open with a couple top 10 finishes. Talk a little bit about this golf course and this tournament.
BRANDT SNEDEKER: Yeah, I love this golf course. I had the lead here a couple years ago and had a bad Sunday and a couple top 10s but I feel like this golf course sets up really well for my game. Obviously playing really well. I know the greens here really well. They're very tricky with the grain that's - that the course has in them. Even though they're over-seeded, the balls can be pulled a little bit towards the valley. Kind of come to grips with that, know how to play those kind of shots around here. I just love the atmosphere. The fans here are amazing, and it's going to be a fun weekend, and hopefully I can put myself in contention again and maybe try to do it back to back.
Q. Have you talked to Kyle this week at all?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: I have not, no.
Q. Will you try to?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: Yeah, if we cross paths I'd love to talk to him for a minute. I saw his press conference yesterday, I think it was yesterday or the day before, and looks like he's in good spirits and everything is going the right direction, so he certainly has plenty of game. He'll certainly be back out here winning before hopefully before next couple tournaments he'll be up there again because the way he played over the weekend was fantastic.
Q. What's it like to show up and play again right after you've won, the next week, and what's the longest you've gone time-wise without getting congratulated?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: Well, it's been a weird - this has definitely been a weird week because it's been a tempered congratulations. I think everybody feels for Kyle, and I think it's probably more the story this week than me winning with the way that Kyle lost. So it's been kind of a weird thing to deal with. But that's the great thing about the PGA Tour and golf is as great as last week was, come Thursday morning it's not going to matter a bit. It's a new golf tournament, a new course, and I've got to get my mind ready to play, and I feel like my game is really good, so I'm excited about teeing off tomorrow morning.
Q. Did you play the week after your previous wins?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: Yeah, I've missed every cut I've played the week after, so I've got a great record going into this week.
Q. What happened on the tee shot on 16 in the playoff? Were you just amped up or did the wind change?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: I guess the wind changed. I heard Peter Kostis say the wind had changed obviously after that. But I hit a 5 iron in regulation and smoked it, hit as hard as I could and it flew just beyond pin high. I just saw Kyle hit a 6 in front of me and he looked like he smoked it, and Kyle is longer than I am, so I knew I couldn't get a 6 iron there, and short right where Kyle was I knew was a hard two putt. I knew if I just went over, landed it on the green and rolled over it wasn't a bad up and down. It was very doable. I obviously didn't mean to one hop it into the TV tower, but I thought I hit a really good shot and just kind of came off. I guess the wind switched so it was a little helping, and it ended up a little farther than I anticipated. But got lucky with the TV tower, but it wasn't really that tough a pitch shot. I had an uphill lie and was able to give myself a pretty good look at par from there.
Q. When you say you got lucky with the TV tower, what do you think?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: Well, obviously if that ball - I kept yelling for that ball to draw a little bit more. If it had drawn a little bit more, the TV tower wouldn't have come into play; it would have one hopped and probably gone down into the canyon. But you have barriers out there. You kind of know where they are, I guess, at times. I feel like that ball could have gone in the canyon if I pulled it a little bit more, gone at the pin like I did in regulation. I guess that's luck. I don't know, it's still a good up and down from where I was to make a putt. A little bit of luck, a little bit of skill.
Q. To continue that, how much luck is there by the fact that you actually got to get a drop and put it somewhere that was maybe - you could have had anything and you kind of put it somewhere that was a little bare but you still had an opportunity to work with it.
BRANDT SNEDEKER: Yeah, all the grass back there is pretty bare anyways. I don't think there's necessarily going to be a bad lie. Lie is not going to be an issue anywhere back there. It was just more the angle I was going to be chipping from. Obviously going that way it was probably going to be a little bit easier because I had more green to work with if I had gone the other way. It's kind of a fortunate break to be able to put it there, but there's - I think overall throughout the week, breaks kind of even out; you have some bad breaks throughout the week, and obviously to be in the position I was in I was very fortunate.
Q. How many practice rounds have you played here this week?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: Played nine holes yesterday and play the pro am this morning.
Q. Is it fresh now, last week is there -
BRANDT SNEDEKER: Yeah, last week is gone now. After playing today, great as it was last week, exciting as it was for me on Sunday night, this week is a whole new week and I know I'm playing great, and the hardest thing for me to do is getting focused ready to play tomorrow. It's a whole new grind, a whole new 72 hole tournament. What great players do when they're playing well, they keep playing well, and I've got to figure out how to do that. I haven't been real successful at it before, but I feel like I can be now.
Q. The quick start that you had, what do you attribute that to? Is it just not being able to play and being -
BRANDT SNEDEKER: I think it's a combination of things. I think some stuff that I worked on last year with Todd Anderson, my teacher. Kind of found a key thing in my swing that causes a lot of bad problems, and if I focus on that one thing, everything seems to take care of itself. It took us a long time to figure out that one key, but I think we've finally figured it out. I feel like my golf swing doesn't change as much as it used to, so I kind of know how to fix my golf swing now a little bit.
And I think my short game has been phenomenal the last two weeks. I've spent a lot of time on my chipping and bunker play and putting over the off season, and as good as my putting can be, I think it can always be better. I feel like my short game is great, driving the ball best I've ever driven it. It's a pretty good combination for success. I was not by any means thinking I was rusty coming out of the gate. If anything, this is probably as sharp as I've ever been with my short game. That's why I was so excited to play the last couple weeks.
Q. You mentioned it's kind of weird because of the circumstances. Is it odd like maybe in the short term last week might be remembered more for the way Kyle lost as opposed to you won?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: There's always going to be those kind of things. I think anybody that goes through that, I think everybody remembers more of Robert Garrigus than Lee Westwood winning it in a playoff, and I think more people remember (Jean) Van de Velde would be another one, I don't think people realize that (Paul) Lawrie won that one. I'm okay with it. I mean, I understand. If it was me in that same situation, it's a tough thing to deal with. It's hard to imagine, and I've got no problem with it.
Q. Did you have anything in junior golf or at any point in your career? Was there a tournament that you kind of kicked yourself with a bad last hole effort?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: I can't think of anything quite like what happened on Sunday, and I think that's why everybody feels so bad. It's just such a dramatic - it's a hole that you don't really - doesn't really come into your mind too much, and that's why it was so shocking to everybody and that's why everybody has kind of had an outpouring of support for Kyle because you couldn't see it coming because of the way he had played golf up to that point. That's why I think everybody was so shocked by it.
Q. It's not like he hit a bad shot on that hole, not like he hit one sideways.
BRANDT SNEDEKER: Correct. It was just kind of one of those things that I guess hindsight is 20/20. I guess you could have hit over the grandstands with a wedge shot and not have to worry about it, but you think you hit a pretty good shot in there and have it come back, that's a tough deal. It's hard to I'm sure his emotions after that ball went in the water were going every which way possible, and trying to get that under control on the last hole is a tough, tough thing to get through.
Q. What's been the most amazing, remarkable comeback to win a tournament you've had, again, whether as an amateur, professional golf? Have you had a comeback win?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: That's pretty much a comeback right there. I was pretty much dead in the water.
Q. Before that, was there one that stood out for you?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: You know, I guess all three of my wins on Tour have kind of been out of the woods getting into it. I think I've won on Tour from seven, six and five behind. I'm kind of getting that M.O. out here a little bit. That one was kind of crazy the way it ended, just because of - yeah, I thought it was over. I had a couple in amateur golf. Nationwide Tour I finished 4 under in my last four to get into a playoff, ended up winning the playoff. I eagled my last hole a couple times on the Nationwide Tour to get in a playoff. I've done that before, but I've never been way back and won like that.
Q. You talked a little bit in the aftermath of that tournament about thinking you were done, hanging around, and now all of a sudden, geez, I've got to go get ready. Can you talk about that process of going from I'm done to, oh, my God, I'm playing again?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: Yeah, it was tough. It was shocking to think, to start hitting putts and realize I might be back in a playoff, but then I had to get refocused, and I really challenged myself to kind of get in the mindset of I know this is weird, I can't believe this is happening, but this is your opportunity to go out there and do it. Kyle might have given you a chance, but now you've got to take advantage of it. If he goes out and wins the playoff, it doesn't matter; he still won. So I wanted to make sure I went out there and gave it my best effort and if Kyle beat me, he beat me. But I was going to make sure it was going to be hard on him if he did.
Q. Standing on the tee on 18 you were completely present and ready to go?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: I was ready to go. There was no way - in my mind I didn't think I was going to lose the playoff.
Q. I forgot how much time it was from when it looked like you were going to get in until you were back on the tee, 10 minutes?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: Yeah, it was - if that, yeah, 10 minutes max.
Q. What's been the best comment you've heard directed toward you at 16 during this tournament, anything really funny stand out over the years?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: You know, they've been really tame with me over the years. They've been very nice to me over the years I should say. I got my high school motto called out and it kind of got me chuckling. They did some research to find that one. I was given a scholar athlete, and they started chanting it my first or second year here, I think, and that got me laughing a little bit. But they've been pretty nice to me over the years for some reason.
Q. Did you think seven back at the beginning of the day you had a chance?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: I thought when I birdied 13 that - I told myself if I got to 18 under par, Kyle can shoot 1 over and there's a pretty good chance that can happen because that's a tough golf course. On a Sunday he'll probably be conservative. 1 over par is not necessarily a bad score. I thought if I could get to 18 under par I've got a legit chance of winning this tournament. I didn't get to 18, I obviously got to 16. But when I birdied 13, I thought, okay, I'm probably three back at this point. That got me to 16 under par. If I can get to 18 - I've got a par 5 left and pick up one other birdie along the way, put some pressure on him. I thought I could win.
Q. The other thing is some players have talked about the fact that maybe the setup at 18 might be a little goofy where they shaved the bank and it's a yellow hazard versus a red hazard. Just your thoughts on the 18th?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: I don't think it's goofy. I think it's been that way for a long time. I don't think there's been anything different over the years. I can remember guys sucking that back in the water in years past. It's not - I think I've got to have some kind of trouble there. I understand it's - the greens are soft and the ball is going to spin, but it's been spinning all week. It's not like it's anything new.
I think Kyle hit the right shot in there. I saw him hit it in there low, trying to hit it off the back of the green and bring it back. Unfortunately, those greens, you'll hit a hard spot sometimes or hit a soft spot, and it looked like his ball hit a soft spot and then didn't skip. If that ball skips and goes up the hill and comes back down, it doesn't go in the water. It looked like his ball kind of hit one of the soft spots in the greens, and anybody will tell you, you chip over the green, sometimes you hit a soft spot and the ball plugs and doesn't roll out very much, and sometimes you'll hit a hard spot and it kind of hops forward with over-spin, and that's why you guys see chip it 10 feet by sometimes, because they're hitting those hard spots, and he unfortunately hit one of those soft spots for him, and unfortunately that's the way golf goes sometimes.
MODERATOR: Brandt, good luck as you go for two in a row this week.
The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.