March 19 2013
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
ORLANDO, Fla. -- When Brandt Snedeker cracked suffered a cracked rib in 2012, it caused him to miss the U.S. Open.
"That was really tough for me to sit there and watch that because that was a place I really wanted to play," Snedeker said.
He wasn't going to let history repeat itself this year.
When Snedeker suffered a strained intercostal muscle on the left side of his ribs on his way to winning the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am last month, he wasn't going to rush his return.
Fast forward five weeks to this week's Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard, where Snedeker will play for the first time in more than a month.
"I feel completely healthy," Snedeker said. "I'm going to have a little soreness and that is to be expected, but no concern whatsoever.
"This is an injury you don't want to try to play through because it can get worse. The Masters is something that you don't want to miss due to an injury. I'm glad I'm back, but the Masters was a concern."
Getting back to playing as well as he was before being injured is Snedeker's biggest concern now. In five starts this season, he's won, was twice a runner-up and finished third another time.
It was also just the latest in a string of injuries that Snedeker has had to overcome.
There was the cracked rib last year, plus two hip surgeries, one at the end of 2010 and then again at the end of 2011.
As far as his latest setback, Snedeker had several tests performed to try to pinpoint why his ribs keep getting injured. Doctors found nothing.
"The couple days after (Pebble Beach), it was not fun," Snedeker said. "I would say a 6 or 7 (on a scale of 1-10 in terms of pain). It hurt to breathe. It hurt to move."
Even when the pain did subside, Snedeker couldn't rotate in his swing -- the pain was mostly at impact to follow-through. So he spent the last few weeks at home doing nothing.
About the only thing he was able to do was complete the family's move to a new house in Nashville. While movers did the heavy lifting, Snedeker went three weeks without touching a club and didn't start hitting balls again until 10 days ago.
Because of the layoff, he's also added the Shell Houston Open to his schedule. The Masters, however, was always the main concern.
And with good reason. Five years ago, Snedeker had a chance to win at Augusta National before shooting a final-round 77 to finish third. He's also finished in the top 20 there each of the last two years.
"Sometimes an injury can be a good thing," Snedeker said. "I got time to rest and sit at home and kind of reevaluate where my year is. As great as the start of the year wasm that was a long time ago. We've got to get refocused and get back into it."
That process began in earnest over the weekend with his coach Todd Anderson at Sea Island (Ga.) Golf Club and will continue here and in Houston.
"I wanted to make sure I was healthy enough to play the Masters 100 percent," Snedeker said. "I didn't want to come back and be at 90 percent or whatever it may be."