By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
MEDINAH, Ill. -- Brandt Snedeker is playing in his first Ryder Cup but he hasn't got the rookie blues.
Some might think it's the $10 million in his pocket. More to the point, though, it's the way Snedeker won that FedExCup bonus at East Lake -- taking the lead into the final round of the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola holding off some of the game's best players for the dual victory.
"The one thing I was shocked about is I wasn't really as nervous as I thought I was going to be (Tuesday) being out here for the first time," Snedeker said. "I think last weekend put my nerves at ease a lot for sure, knowing that I can handle the pressure."
Those inspirational videos in the U.S. team room, not so much.
"We saw a great video last night of past Ryder Cup captains talking about what the Ryder Cup meant to them, and I got goosebumps," Snedeker said. "I got up and told (U.S. Captain) Davis (Love): I wasn't nervous until tonight, thanks a lot, appreciate that, way to put me at ease.
"I think as the week goes on the anxiety has gotten more and more each day. I think the one thing I didn't have any clue about was the team room. The team room has been awesome."
And by all reports, Snedeker, who says "Friday morning can't get here quick enough," has been a perfect fit for the U.S. team. According to Love, Phil Mickelson takes great pleasure in needling the rookie.
"He and Brandt have been going back and forth all week, and they're having a great time," Love said.
Snedeker said he and Mickelson text each other all the time. They've been good friends for several years, and he's enjoying this opportunity to get to know Phil and the rest of his teammates in a different atmosphere.
And he plans to hold up his end of the bargain -- in more ways than one.
"I definitely have an edge," Snedeker said. "Anybody who knows me really well knows I'm not afraid to tell people what I really think and tell people how I really feel. I'm very, very competitive. People don't get that because I'm polite but I tee it up ... against anybody, I'm going to try to beat their brains in as bad as I can.
"I just have a fun time giving people a hard time, especially guys like Phil and Tiger. I feel like sometimes they get a hall pass because they are who they are, and I want to make sure they don't get a hall pass. And I don't care. SO I give them a hard time and they give hit right back and I take it."
As excitable as Snedeker is, he hopes his wife Mandy remains calm this week. She's due to deliver their second child, and first son, in a month and Snedeker says he's "terrified ... Everybody kind of freaks me out a little bit saying if you thought this one was hard, wait until two."
Mandy has been a "trooper," Snedeker said, and he and the members of the U.S. Team -- and their wives -- are doing everything they can to make her comfortable.
"We don't want anything to happen this week, although if she were to go into labor this week, that would be fine with us," Snedeker said with a smile. "Great hospitals here. We've love to have the baby here. Ryder Cup week would be a great story to tell the rest of our lives."