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.