Amanda Balionis looks back at all the good, the bad and the unusual sights and sounds from RBC Canadian Open, PGA Championship, The Barclays and the Deutsche Bank Championship.
Check out the top five shots of the week from the RBC Canadian Open and Albertsons Boise Open with highlights from Ernie Els, Hunter Haas, David Hearn, Russell Knox, and Mark Wilson.
Brandt Snedeker's win moves him to third place in the FedExCup standings. (Martin/Getty Images)
By Dr. Gregg Steinberg, Special to PGATOUR.COM
Family first was the theme at this year’s RBC Canadian Open. Hunter Mahan, the leader after two rounds, withdrew from the tournament when he discovered that his wife Kandi had gone into Labor. While many of the fathers on the PGA TOUR acknowledged and agreed with Hunter’s decision, Brandt Snedeker put it into perspective concerning how important family is to his game of golf.
Since his daughter was born two years ago, Brandt has won five times on the PGA TOUR. He said that before her birth, he would take his game far too serious and was all-consumed by his play. But being a father put it all into perspective for him. Now, he knows that hitting bad golf shots do not matter so much. As he puts it, golf is what I do -- not who I am. Being a father has helped him to keep his emotions under control during the ups and downs on the course. These key mental game ingredients led him to victory at Glenn Abbey and to his second win this year on the PGA TOUR.
Brandt is hitting upon what sports psychology researchers have discovered when it comes to success in golf. They found that the most successful young athletes played a variety of sports up until the age of 16, but then they focused on their primary sport. These athletes were much more successful than the athletes that focused primarily on only sport.
The premise of this finding is perspective and balance, as Brandt spoke about with his family. When a young golfer places all his self-esteem eggs in one basket (i.e., plays only one sport), there is a lot more pressure to perform well all the time on the golf course. However, if a young golfer has many hobbies and sports to build self-esteem, there is less pressure to perform well every time on the course. Consequentially, when there is less pressure, the likelihood of playing well increases.
My mental game recommendation to young golfers is to always spread the wealth and play a variety of sports and/or have additional hobbies. Here are the reasons for this recommendation:
1. When Michelangelo was working on the Sistine Chapel, he would switch hands to paint that famous ceiling. He believed in the importance of developing balance in his abilities. A young golfer playing a variety of sports will develop physical attributes that can contribute to better coordination, such as lower-body coordination if they play soccer along with golf.
2. There will be a decrease in injuries. When young athletes play a variety of sports, there is a less likelihood of an overuse injury. Also, participation in a variety of activities gives the body time to heal and rest certain muscles and tendons, decreasing injury.
3. Play a variety of sports including golf to spread the self-esteem points around. Then the young golfer can build self-worth from a variety of sources. When they step onto the golf course, there will be less pressure to perform.
Spread the wealth in activities, and you will see your game accrue in the long term.
Dr. Gregg Steinberg is a regular guest every Tuesday on “Talk of the TOUR” heard on the Sirius/XM PGA TOUR radio. He is a tenured professor of sports psychology and has been the mental game coach for many PGA TOUR players as well as top collegiate and junior golfer. Dr. Gregg is the author of the best selling golf psychology book, MentalRules for Golf, and you can get your autographed copy at drgreggsteinberg.com.
Following his win at the RBC Canadian Open, Brandt Snedeker meets with the media and talks about his sixth victory on the PGA TOUR.
Dustin Johnson missed to the right on the 17th tee which all but ended his hopes of winning. (Martin/Getty Images)
By: Fred Albers, PGA TOUR.COM Correspondent
Golf is a game of momentum and Brandt Snedeker was able to keep the juices flowing thanks to bounceback birdies throughout the tournament. He made seven bogeys this week and on four of those occasions he was able to respond with a birdie on the very next hole, including a 2 on the seventh hole after a bogey at the sixth in the final round.
Snedeker did a lot of things right this week. He led the tournament in birdies with 23 and was first in putts per green at 1.56, but don’t underestimate the importance momentum with those bounceback birdies throughout the tournament.
Par 5’s: Dustin Johnson simply dominated the par 5’s this week. He was 12 under on holes 2-13-16-18. That total includes a pair of bogeys on the par 5’s, offset by a pair of eagles.
Johnson can look back at one bad swing that could have changed the tournament. On the 17th hole, he blocked his driver 50 yards to the right and out of bounds. It was a huge miss at a huge time in the tournament. Johnson rallied to birdie the final hole but the damage had been done. That errant swing on the 71st hole led to a triple bogey and a T2 finish, three shots behind Snedeker.
Conditions: The rain moved out and the wind arrived. There were gusts of 25 miles per hour sweeping over Glen Abbey but it wasn’t just the force of the wind that made play difficult, it was the direction. Several holes played with swirling crosswinds, which always makes club selection and commitment a problem. The wind was more of a problem on the back nine, which sits in a valley. Those holes appeared to be sheltered from the wind but that was a false read since leaves atop the trees were still moving. It was very important to flight the golf ball in the final round.
Oh Canada: It’s been 60 years since a native son has won the RBC Canadian Open but it was a “caddie victory” this season. Scott Vail works for Brandt Snedeker and is from Toronto. In fact, Vail’s father Eric “Big Train” Vail, was a nine-year NHL veteran who won the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year in 1974.
Improvement: Mike Weir’s road to recovery continues. He’s battled both his swing and his health in recent years but this season has shown improvement. With rounds of 73-67-73-72, the Canadian finished T49. Weir has made nine of 20 cuts this season and has shown dramatic improvement with his putting. He is 37th in strokes gained-putting this year after ranking 115th and 168th the last two seasons.
Rally time: If you heard a big breath being taken, that was a sigh of relief out of Aaron Baddeley. He had not made a cut since a T42 at the RBC Heritage in April. That’s a run of 10 straight tournaments without a paycheck. He put together rounds of 68-68-73-68 for a T9 at Glen Abbey. That finish helps Baddeley move up 15 places into 112th in the FedExCup standings. He has always been known as a great putter and it showed this week as Baddeley led the tournament in strokes gained putting.
Winner, winner: On Wednesday I wrote:
Brandt Snedeker’s season was derailed with a rib injury that is just now fully healed. Recent results indicate Snedeker is poised for his second win of the PGA TOUR season. Snedeker was 17th at the U.S. Open, 8th at AT&T National and T11th at Muirfield in the Open Championship. He also tied for fifth in the 2009 RBC Canadian Open at Glen Abbey. All the metrics point toward a Snedeker win this week.
Hope the advice helped.
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here.
William McGirt made great FedExCup gains when he finished second in Canada. (Martin/Getty Images)
By David McPherson, Special to PGATOUR.COM
OAKVILLE, Ontario -- On a windy final day at Glen Abbey that saw gusts reach 25 mph – making scoring more difficult – William McGirt breezed up the leaderboard.
With a closing 4-under 68 McGirt finished T2 in the RBC Canadian Open for the second straight year. In fact, seven of McGirt’s last eight rounds north of the U.S. border have been in the 60s. Something in the water perhaps that makes McGirt play some of his best golf in Canada?
“I don’t know … for some reason I’m very comfortable up here,” said the 34-year-old. “The crowds are great and the people appreciate good shots.”
With this co-runner-up finish, McGirt also made a big move in the FedExCup standings, going from No. 119 to No.80, putting him in great position to make the FedExCup Playoffs.
Dustin Johnson, Jason Bohn, and Matt Kuchar joined McGirt in second place with a four-day total of -13. The T2 gave Bohn his first back-to-back top-10 finishes of his career and gave Kuchar his seventh top 10 of the season, which includes a win at the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance. Kuchar said the wind was definitely a factor on Sunday.
“Today was by far the hardest day. The wind was strong and coming from a different direction. It was difficult. Definitely the most challenging all four days, for sure. I felt like I was off and running with a birdie on the first and then hit a bad drive on 2. Two was drastically different. Playing into the wind on that tee shot, it was a hard one to get a line on and then into the wind you really get confused.”
Brandt Snedeker won the RBC Canadian Open on Sunday for his sixth career PGA TOUR victory and his second of the 2013 season. The reigning FedExCup champion moves to No. 3 in this year's standings and gains even more momentum as the PGA TOUR Season winds down and Playoffs approach. Want to congratulate Snedeker on his win? Leave a message in the comments section below and we'll send it to him.
David Hearn shot a Sunday 73 to hold on as low Canadian. (Martin/Getty Images)
By David McPherson, Special to PGATOUR.com
OAKVILLE, Ontario -- No matter how old you are, you want to make your parents proud.
David Hearn certainly did that with his T2 finish a couple of weeks back at the John Deere Classic, where he lost in a five-hole playoff. With mom and dad, friends and family tagging along at Glen Abbey this week, Hearn hoped to keep this momentum going and give his hometown fans more to cheer about.
On Friday, he did. Hearn, 34, squeezed in on the cut line thanks to an unbelievable birdie-birdie-birdie finish. The highlight: holing a 47-footer on 18 that secured his Saturday tee time and received roars from the Canadian crowd.
“I said to my caddie, ‘Let’s run the tables here,’ and I did,” he told the media after this phenomenal second-round finish. “Any time you do that it feels good.”
While Hearn did not run the tables on the weekend, he felt good about his play this week. His third-round 68, followed by a 1-over 71 on Sunday, was also just good enough to take home some hardware – the Rivermead Trophy – as the low Canadian.
“I’ve been low Canadian once before, and it’s obviously proud for me to do that here in front of everyone at home,” Hearn said. “It wasn’t the finish I was looking for, but I had a nice chance today.
“I was playing pretty solid and had a chance to finish the round with a little bit of style,” he added. “But I’ll take away some positives this week, and I obviously appreciate the support from everyone … it always feels good to play at home.”
Hearn finished one shot ahead of Weir, who shot even-par on the final day to finish 3 under for the tournament. Sloan, the lone other Canadian who played on the weekend, was one more shot back at 2 under.
The one other positive Hearn takes away from this week is that he moved a step closer to securing his spot to play in the year’s final major.
“I was excited to get back in here and see if I could compete right away again,” Hearn concluded. “My game was close this week. It was just a little bit off. I just didn’t get it done on the greens. I’ll be looking forward to next week and another little rest for me and seeing if I can get playing well again for the PGA.”