July 16 2013
Brandt Snedeker's tie for third at the 2012 Open Championship tied his career best in a major.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
GULLANE, Scotland -- The precedent has been set, and Brandt Snedeker is well on board with it.
Adam Scott was 32 when he won the Masters in April. Ditto for Justin Rose at the U.S. Open last month. A hundred guesses how old Snedeker is -- and the first 99 don't count.
"Now the hard part is making sure (that precendent) keeps going," Snedeker said with a smile. "I'll take any little quirky thing and use it in my favor."
Snedeker came close to getting his first major a year ago at Royal Lytham & St. Annes when he owned the lead at the midway point of The Open Championship on the way to a third-place finish. He says he learned a lot about the value of patience that weekend -- and how important it is not to hit the panic button when things don't go as planned.
"The guy that wins this week will not do that," Snedeker said firmly. "... But there's going to be a lot of guys that do, and it's hard to keep yourself from doing it."
Snedeker, though, talks fast and plays fast. So one might think staying patient would be a challenge for the reigning FedExCup champion. He maintains there is a not-so-subtle difference, though.
Speed isn't the issue. Snedeker says the real test of your patience in a major is accepting the "horrible shots that really aren't that bad" and resisting the urge to force the issue.
"Patience for me is not slowing my whole routine now," Snedeker explained. "That's not what will make me play better. I'm not talking about preaching patience. I'm talking about shooting away from pins, taking less club off tees, being more conservative when you want to be aggressive because you made a bogey, not trying to go after pins that you shouldn't go after, trying to make an incredible up-and-down when you might not be able to get it out of the bunker.
"That's being patient. It has nothing to do with how fast you hit the ball or whatever. It has to do with not letting your previous shot affect you and not letting your position in the field affect what you need to do."
So did he get impatient on the weekend a year ago at Royal Lytham when he followed sterling rounds of 66 and 64 with a 73 and 74? Snedeker doesn't think so.
"I just made typical American mistakes," he said. "The first two days I had no wind really whatsoever, and played great golf. The last 36 holes I drove the ball horribly. If you do that at any major Championship, you're going to play terrible.
"I tried to ride the wind too many times. I tried to not play against the odds, you've got try to hold the ball up against the wind. Little stuff like that. And I was putting so well, I was trying to get it on the greens and give myself chances. I just failed to hit the ball in the fairway. I wasn't impatient, but I just failed to execute the basic shots off the tees."