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."