MORE INTERVIEWS: Farmers Insurance Open transcript archive
DOUG MILNE: Thank you for joining us. You find yourself in a prime position heading into the weekend, a great 8-under 64 today. Just some comments on the round and how you're feeling as we prepare to head into the weekend.
BRANDT SNEDEKER: I feel great. I'm driving the ball as good as I've ever driven it in my career, which isn't saying a lot, but it's saying enough for me right now. I'm still putting the ball really, really well.
So I'm excited with where I am after the first two days. I feel like as good as I've played, I've left a few out there, which is a good feeling to know my game is where it needs to be.
This is a tough golf course coming up over the weekend. Even though probably one of the longer, tougher tests we play, the guys still managed to make a lot of birdies and shoot some low rounds. I've got my work cut out for me heading into weekend.
Q. Do you have an explanation of why you're driving better than you ever have before??
BRANDT SNEDEKER: I think a little bit of my golf swing has gotten better over the years. And I think going back to my natural ball flight, right to left ball flight, versus I tried to hit a cut for a few years, and it helped me hit a little bit longer, little bit more solid and a little bit more natural. So I'm feeling better with the way I'm hitting it.
Q. Could you take us through the surgery back in November and the recovery? Did you have the same procedure done on your other hip?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: Yeah, I had surgery November 1st, so I flew straight from Malaysia to Vail, Colorado to have the surgery. Then I was on crutches for -- pretty much the same surgery I had last time. I had a labrum and they did some bone shaving of my pelvis and my femoral head, and just kind of more of a preventive thing now so I won't have to have it done again hopefully. I was on crutches for five weeks. Didn't start playing until really playing really regularly until the first week of December, really New Year's Day.
Then I played two weeks and decided to give Palm Springs a shot because I felt pretty well, and strength felt pretty good, and sure enough it held up pretty well last week and feels great now. So the warm weather's helping, being here's helping. So hopefully it stays like that the rest of the week.
Q. How down were you about the stuff that you had to go through with the surgery? You're in the prime of your career. Was it tough to have to hear that you have to do this again?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: Not really. I think the thing that I realized more than anything was it gave me a good break. I have a ten-month old at home, so I got to spend a lot of time with her. Actually it was perfect timing. I missed a couple tournaments here and there, but nothing dramatic.
It's something hopefully that will prolong my career, not shorten it but help out when I'm 40 to 50 years old. It's something I have to go through.
You can't look at the negative of it. It's just life. No big deal. It could have been a lot worse. The surgery went really well, and I feel great now. So it's all in the past now.
Q. You had five birdies in a row today, five out of six on the front yesterday, six in a row last week at Humana. Is it a bad round when you don't do that??
BRANDT SNEDEKER: I wish you hadn't told me that because I didn't know that. Now I'm sure it won't happen tomorrow.
But it's funny. I get on streaks. I'm definitely, if anybody's followed my career, you can see I'm a streaky player. When I get hot, I play well for a couple of weeks and it kind of goes away. I certainly try to get out of my own way when I get on those streaks. Especially on the greens when I feel like I'm putting the ball well, I feel like I can make just about everything.
Luckily last week I got on a streak where I had a good stretch of holes, and much easier holes back-to-back, par-5s or whatever it may be. Hopefully I can get on one of those stretches tomorrow. It would be nice.
Q. Is this the hip thing a congenital condition??
BRANDT SNEDEKER: Yeah, it was something I was born with. There was no way to prevent it. It was going to happen eventually, hopefully got it fixed now.
Q. How long have you known about it??
BRANDT SNEDEKER: I didn't know about it until I tore my labrum in my left hip two years ago. And at that time I knew my right one was torn too and I was going to have to have surgery at some point. But the doctor felt pretty comfortable that I could play last year without any pain and I did.
Sure enough, he told me I had a year on it. About a year to the day, it started hurting, and I called him and we got the surgery scheduled. So got it taken care of so it shouldn't be a problem.
Q. Where does this fit among your favorite tournaments on TOUR with your history here? Also, what fond memories do you still have from that 61 five years ago?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: It's definitely one of my top three or four favorite tournaments all year. Definitely my favorite one on the west coast because this is where my career really got started. To have a top three finish here and get me over that hump of being on TOUR and playing in contention, playing against Tiger on Sunday, that kind of stuff really helped.
As far as second part of the question was?
Q. That 61.
BRANDT SNEDEKER: Oh, the 61 memory. Oh, yeah, I still play the first hole. That was my tenth hole of the day, and I was 9-under through nine. Every time I tee the ball up there, I remember I could barely get the ball to stay on the tee I was so nervous making the turn. I still remember I missed a little eagle putt there to get 11 through 10. But still I have a lot of great memories.
It's such a great place. The course is a little different now, so I can't believe those guys shot that yesterday. Shooting 10-under par on the golf course yesterday was pretty impressive. But I just love being here. We always stay in Del Mar and drive up and down the beach. It's just fantastic. It's just so relaxing being here. I guess I was born in California in my past life because I love it out here.
Q. Are you surprised, given the two months ago you were on crutches, are you surprised to have such a quick start??
BRANDT SNEDEKER: I'm certainly surprised that I played this well this fast. Normally it takes me a while to get the rust off. But my practice at home was really, really well. I was kind of shocked at how quick I picked it back up. It normally takes me a long time to get the rust off. And I picked it up really, really fast this time for some reason.
I was actually chomping at the bit to get out here because I knew I was playing well. But you never really know until you get back out here and get under conditions. But I was actually pretty right on. I'm playing really, really well, and hopefully that can happen through the weekend.
Q. Which round yesterday or today-- yesterday's round 5-under. Little more of a confidence builder? Today's round good, but the North tends to yield those scores.
BRANDT SNEDEKER: I think I can take good stuff from both of them. I can't say one was better than the other one. Any time you shoot 5-under on the other course it's pretty special. But 8-under pars don't come around every day either. So I'll take where I am. I would take two more 5-unders on the golf course right now and walk away and be a happy man.
Q. When you were in contention a couple years ago at Augusta, I remember you told us you had the opportunity to play the course. You would drive by. Can you refresh me on that??
BRANDT SNEDEKER: Yeah. I won the 2003 U.S. Public Links, and they give you an honorary membership. They let you come and play as much as you want once you get the invitation.
I was out of college. Couldn't turn pro until after the Masters, so I had about five months where I guess I was about as close to being a member as I'm ever going to get.
I think they retracted that rule after I played, because I probably played it 40 or 50 times. I'd go down on Friday morning and play Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and come home Sunday because I didn't have anything else to do.
I still think that's why I played well there last year and had a chance to win there a couple years ago, and I think I'll continue to play there the rest of my career. I played it so much I know it. I feel like I can, even when I'm not playing well, I can guide myself around that golf course. So just a pretty cool memory to be able to go there and play as much as I did.
Q. You were such a wide-eyed kid that first time here. Is your life just drastically different than it was five years ago? You just seem so much calmer.
BRANDT SNEDEKER: I would say me as a golfer is drastically different than I was five years ago. Me as a person, some of it is still the same. Some of it is obviously different and changed with my life. Being married now and having a 10-month old, what's happened over the last five years obviously changes you.
But I'm still the same person. I'm still wide-eyed being able to do what I do for a living and playing in all these great places. But at the same time, I've done it a lot before. I kind of know the routine now, and I'm not as in awe when I see Tiger Woods walking on the range like I was a rookie that year and having to play in front of him. Definitely a little bit more prepared for these kind of situations.
Q. Do you enjoy it just as much if not more??
BRANDT SNEDEKER: It's funny, everybody out here on TOUR will golf has changed. It changes for them over the course of their career. I think at one point the first time in my career, golf was my life, it was everything. Now that I realize it's not everything, it's actually helped me become a better golfer and makes me compartmentalize what I'm doing out here. I tried my best, I'm working hard, and I know I'm doing the right stuff. It's going to happen eventually. Instead of dwelling over it all day every day and making it worse than it actually is. I think that's helped me a lot.
Q. What was the degree of difficulty on that up-and-down on the last hole out of the bunker??
BRANDT SNEDEKER: It probably wasn't that bad if you were a really, really good bunker player. I'm not a great bunker player. I'm working on it and trying to get better (smiling). But for me it was probably an 8 out of 10. I had some tough ones yesterday getting up-and-down. That one shouldn't have been that hard. But I cut it a little fat and ran it through the green.
But it helps to make the 15 and 20 footers. It makes you feel like you're a lot better than you really are.
Q. What is your reception like from the galleries out here??
BRANDT SNEDEKER: It's been kind of crazy. After that rookie year, they've really kind of taken me in as one of their own out here, I guess. I still get people that come up and talk to me about the 61 over there and having the chance to shoot a 59. I always get a good ovation when I'm here, and I love being here.
I try to give it back to them and play well every year I'm here because I love it. My wife and I were talking the other day if we retired we maybe will get a place out here because we like it so much and it's so nice to be here. It's just a great place to be. I love being here.