By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
LA JOLLA, Calif. -- Brandt Snedeker says a player learns something every time he gets in contention. Some, like Kyle Stanley, prove to be quicker studies than others.
Stanley squandered a chance to win his first PGA TOUR event a year ago at Torrey Pines when he found the water and triple-bogeyed the 72nd hole. Snedeker was the beneficiary, abruptly leaving the media center where he was discussing what appeared to be a runner-up finish and eventually winning the Farmers Insurance Open in a playoff.
"It's still pretty crazy when you look at the number of events that had to happen for me to get into a playoff, and then to get in the playoffs and win, it's something you don't plan on," Snedeker said on Tuesday, some 359 days later. "You have those opportunities maybe once or twice in your career, and to take advantage of it was great.
"I obviously didn't want Kyle to have to go through that, but I had a great benefit from it, and I appreciate the fact that he did do that for me. And I hope I never return the favor, but you never know in this game, you might."
Stanley learned from that debacle, though, stayed strong and ended up getting that initial win the following week in Phoenix. Snedeker, who is a glass-half-full kind of guy, thinks a golfer benefits from either having a great memory or a really bad one, and that's just one example.
"The way I look at it is I'm a believer that everything in the end evens out," Snedeker said. "So if I'm Kyle, I would like to think that 18th hole owes me a lot of shots over the next few years and I'll make up a lot of ground on it. So that's the way I would choose to look at it."
The Farmers Insurance Open was the first of two victories for Snedeker in what turned out to be a career-definining 2012 campaign. The second came at the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola and also earned Snedeker the title of FedExCup champion, as well as a $10 million bonus.
Snedeker, who led the TOUR in strokes-gained putting last year, credits much of his success to learning the value of patience. And that virtue didn't come easily to a man who talks fast and plays faster.
"I learned a lot from playing with Tiger and Phil and Davis Love, these guys that have won a ton of tournaments," Snedeker said. "You see it when you play with them in competition. You see it come out and how patient they are and you see how they never get down on themselves. They think the next hole is going to be their run of nine straight birdies. Doesn't matter where they are, you can just see it in their eyes.
"That is something that young golfers typically don't have a great job of, and you're constantly learning. But to be around those guys, when you see those guys in competition, it's very, very impressive. It's probably the most underrated quality is how patient they are on the golf course."
By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM Equipment Insider
Jan. 1 marked the first day equipment companies could officially unveil new staffers for the upcoming season, and, as expected, Nike Golf didn't waste any time, announcing the addition of Nick Watney and Kyle Stanley to the Nike Golf staff for 2013. According to a press release, both players agreed to head-to-toe multi-year deals with the Swoosh brand that includes clubs, balls, footwear, gloves, apparel, headwear and accessories.
Watney and Stanley, both former Titleist staffers, have been two of the PGA TOUR's top young players over the last couple of years. Watney, 31, who joined the PGA TOUR in 2005, has won five times, including two wins in 2011, and a victory last season at The Barclays. He finished fourth in the 2012 FedExCup standings and won more than $3 million.
"I'm really excited about the move and the new equipment I'll have in the bag this year," Watney said. "What I liked the most was Nike's commitment to golf and the direction the company is headed in at the moment. I feel like they'll do whatever it takes in order for me to do my best."
Watney confirmed on Tuesday that he would have all 14 Nike clubs in the bag for the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, and that he felt comfortable with the new gear. He did note that he'll get a better idea of how the clubs handle perform in windy conditions when he tees it up on Thursday for the first round at Kapalua.
"I think this week will be a pretty good test for me with the new equipment," Watney said. "We're supposed to get some wind during the tournament, and I've been playing at home where I didn't really have to deal with tough conditions. I feel comfortable and anticipate good things with every club in my bag, but I guess we'll just have to wait and see how everything goes."
Stanley, 25, burst onto the scene last season with a dramatic one-shot win at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Stanley, who secured his PGA TOUR card in 2011, earned more than $2.3 million in 2012 and finished 31st in the FedExCup standings.
Also making his debut this week at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, Stanley said that even though he played a schedule that finished in early December at the Australian Open, he's already found a comfort level with his new Nike equipment — especially the 20XI X ball. While Stanley said he was impressed with Nike's entire equipment line, he said the new ball played a big part in the switch from Titleist to Nike.
"The ball doesn't spin as much with my wedges," Stanley said. "With my shorter irons I can be a little more aggressive with some of my yardages because I really don't have to allow for as much spin. I definitely feel like Nike has the ball and the equipment to take my game to the next level."
He also noted that Nike's VR_S Covert driver gave him an extra 5-6 mph ball speed, which comes out to about 10-20 additional yards off the tee. Even though Stanley finished the season ranked eighth in driving distance on the PGA TOUR, he noted that the comfort level with the club and the added length had him excited about Nike's latest driver offering.
"As far as the shape and design goes, it really put me at ease and I felt comfortable with behind the golf ball from the start," Stanley said. "I also picked up about 5 or 6 more miles per hour ball speed, which is a pretty considerable amount. It's a pretty hot driver."
In Stanley's bag:
Driver: Nike VR_S Covert 9.5-degree, neutral position
Fairway Wood: Nike VR Pro Limited Edition 3-wood/15-degree
Irons: Nike VR Pro Combo (2), VR Pro Blades (3-9)
Wedges: Nike VR Pro 52-degree, 56-degree and 60-degree
Ball: Nike 20XI X
Apparel: Nike Golf Tour Performance
Footwear: Nike Lunar Control II
In Watney's bag:
Driver: Nike VR_S Covert 11.5-degree, neutral position
Fairway Wood: Nike VR_S Covert 3-wood/14-degree and 5-wood/18-degree
Irons: Nike VR Pro Combo (3-PW)
Wedges: Nike VR Pro 55-degree and 59-degree
Putter: Nike Method Prototype
Ball: Nike 20XI
Apparel: Nike Golf Tour Performance Collection
Footwear: Nike Lunar Control II
To preview the 2013 PGA TOUR season, PGATOUR.COM is counting down the Top 100 Players to Watch in 2013. For an archive page with the top 100 players and for an explanation on how the list was compiled, click here .
2013 PREVIEW: The story of Kyle Stanley's 2012 campaign can basically be written over two weeks. He'll need to play more consistently next year -- Stanley only had three top 20s in his next 25 events -- if he is to build on his breakthrough victory.
2012 DEFINING MOMENT: Stanley fought back tears after he squandered a three-shot lead on the 72nd hole at the Farmers Insurance Open and ended up losing to Brandt Snedeker on the second playoff hole. Seven days later he was similarly emotional -- only this time the tears were of joy after overcoming an eight-stroke deficit to win the Waste Management Phoenix Open with a final-round 65. –- Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ALBERS’ QUICK TAKE: What a wild swing of emotion he had in just seven days. From losing the lead in at the Farmers in San Diego to winning the Waste Management Phoenix Open the next Sunday. How sure was CBS announcer Gary McCord that Stanley would win in San Diego? He had left the course and had to make a U-turn and hustle back to his broadcast position for the playoff. Kyle is a long hitter who spent the off-season honing his short game. -- Fred Albers, SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio
BOLTON’S FANTASY OUTLOOK: Met the grade in salary games with a bump of over $800K from 2011, but after that crazy fortnight on the West Coast Swing, he couldn't find the handle of his putter and didn't log another top 25 the rest of the year. The proper reminder here is that he's just 25, so he's entitled to a long leash. Just don't be surprised if your opponent plucks him from the talent pool sooner than his value demands. -- Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy expert
2012 QUICK REVIEW
Regular Season ranking
Final Playoffs ranking
|Best finish||1st||Waste Management Phoenix Open|
|By the Numbers
Cuts made: 17
Rounds played: 84
Top-10 finishes: 2
Money List rank: 32nd
Driving distance: 8th
Driving accuracy: 124th
Greens in regulation: 41st
Strokes gained-putting: 189th
Scoring average: 66th
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN
What is your prediction for Kyle Stanley in 2013? Fill out the form below and let us know
SILVIS, Ill. -- Tee times have been released for the first two rounds of this week’s the John Deere Classic. Here’s a look at some of the notable and more intriguing groups.
Which groups are you most interested in following this week? Fill out the form below and let us know.
Scott Piercy, Rory Sabbatini, Charley Hoffman: Piercy is coming off a top 15 finish at Greenbrier. Sabbatini and Hoffman both have top-five finishes recently -- but no wins.
Ted Potter Jr., Zach Johnson, Nick Watney: One week after his unlikely win at The Greenbrier, Potter finds himself paired with a couple of A-listers at TPC Deere Run. Johnson already has a win this season, and the Iowa native badly wants to win this event.
K.J. Choi, Jonathan Byrd, Stewart Cink: These three veterans all have multiple PGA TOUR wins -- but Choi's 2011 PLAYERS win remains the most recent. Byrd won this tournament in 2007.
Kyle Stanley, Steve Stricker, Camilo Villegas: Already with a win this season and three previous John Deere titles, Stricker is the favorite this week. He is paired with Kyle Stanley, whom he beat with a birdie on the 72nd hole last year.
Note: All times Eastern. Interviews will be streamed on PGATOUR.COM.
Tuesday, July 10
Jordan Spieth -- 2 p.m.
Luke Guthrie -- 2:30 p.m.
Patrick Rodgers -- 3 p.m.
Wednesday, July 11
Steve Stricker -- After morning Pro-Am
Zach Johnson -- TBD
Kyle Stanley -- TBD
The tee times for the first round of this week’s RBC Heritage have been released. CLICK HERE for the tee times. Use the space below to comment about the pairings at Harbour Town.
Here’s a look at some of the notable groups in the first two rounds:
Luke Donald/Kyle Stanley/Brandt Snedeker
All three players have won on the PGA TOUR this year, but the real story is the Donald/Snedeker rematch from last year's playoff at Harbour Town. Or it is the Snedeker/Stanley rematch from this year's playoff at Torrey Pines?
Bill Haas/Ernie Els/Padraig Harrington
Haas, the reigning FedExCup champion, is paired with two international superstars in the midst of career comebacks. Harrington has two top-10s in six starts this year, while Els has three top-fives in his last four starts.
Webb Simpson/Zach Johnson/Bud Cauley
This group almost spans three different generations. Cauley, a 22-year-old rookie, was one of the hottest players on TOUR before the Masters. However, rookies almost never do well at Harbour Town. Simpson, 26, has been under the radar after an epochal 2011, and still has three top-10s already in 2012.
John Daly/Rickie Fowler/Ricky Barnes
With Daly's pants and Fowler's hats, there will be lots of colorful clothes in this group. Barnes nearly won here last year before fading into a tie for fourth. Fowler has two starts here, one of them a tie for eighth in his first try in 2010.
Lucas Glover/Matt Kuchar/Geoff Ogilvy
Glover and Kuchar, a pair of Sea Island, Ga. residents, consider Harbour Town a local event. They will be paired with Ogilvy, who added Harbour Town to his schedule for the first time since 2007.
Now, it’s your turn: Which groups are you most interested in following this week?