Snedeker, Day put rough week behind them at Harbour Town

April 17, 2013
Brian Wacker,

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. -- Brandt Snedeker figured the best way to get over losing one golf tournament was to play in another.

“Sunday night was tough,” said Snedeker, three days removed from a final-round 75 that dropped him from a share of the lead into a sixth-place finish at the Masters. “Anytime you have a chance to win a major championship and you don't do it, especially the Masters, my kind of favorite tournament, a tournament I'd give my whole career to win, it’s tough.

“If it's not tough, then I need to find another job.”

Snedeker’s job this week is the RBC Heritage, which is about as much therapeutic treatment as he could ask for.

For one, Harbour Town Golf Links and the surrounding area is as laid back as it gets. For another, he’s won here before, having beaten Luke Donald in a playoff two years ago.

It also beats the alternative of sitting around and listening to talking heads dissect every moment of every minute of last week’s Masters.

“You kind of turn a blind eye to it,” Snedeker said. “You don’t seek out the Golf Channel.

“(Being here) definitely gets it out of my mind. I did a lot of great stuff last week, but I need to get my head around what I need to do to play well.”

Not that it was easy to get to that point.

Snedeker had trouble sleeping Sunday night and said he replayed the tournament in his mind, thinking about what he could do differently.

Putting was one of them. After taking the lead with a 69 in the third round, Snedeker admitted he struggled with the slower green speeds on a rain-soaked Sunday at Augusta National.

“But that's why I love playing the week after majors,” said Snedeker, who was also in contention at Augusta National in 2008 before shooting a final-round 77. “You kind of move on the minute you get here, and you move on to this week, and what you have to do well this week to win and play well and have a chance.

“The biggest thing I take out of last week, my goal at the beginning of the year was to contend in majors.”

The same holds true for Jason Day, who finished third at the Masters, his second top-five finish there in three years.

This time, he made two bogeys late in the round and missed the ensuing playoff by two strokes. But going through the process is part of the process.

“I think this week I'm a lot more prepared than I was two years ago, and I finished ninth (in Hilton Head) two years ago,” Day said.

So is Snedeker.

Five years ago, he was in just his second year on TOUR when he went into the final round of the Masters just two off the lead before making a tearful exit.

“I think this one is easier because I know I'm going to be back,” Snedeker said. “When I was a young kid on TOUR, I didn't know how my career was going to unfold.  Now I have a good idea what I'm doing, I realize it's a process.

“I did a lot of stuff really, really well last week. Only thing I didn't do well was putt well on Sunday. If you don't putt well on Sunday at the Masters, you're not going to win.”

The rest of the year he has, which should help at the confined quarters that is Harbour Town. Snedeker is 11th in strokes gained-putting, and he’s fourth in greens in regulation and ninth in driving accuracy.

Likewise when Day showed up here two years ago after watching Charl Schwartzel blitz by everyone with four straight birdies to win the Masters, he felt like he’d been run over.

“I came here and I was kind of like … it was a big whirlwind,” Day said. “I had no idea what was going on around me. My mind was thinking about the week prior.”

If he hadn't shown up here, Day would be sitting at home in rainy Ohio.

“It's nice to be here and have sunshine and just kind of relax,” he said. “I've got to move on to the next one and try and win this one.”

Snedeker and Day aren’t the only ones. Marc Leishman and Matt Kuchar, both of whom finished in the top 10 last week, are also in the field here.

Nonetheless, it’s hard for Snedeker not to think about what might have been.

“It’s one of the places I feel I can compete every year,” he said of Augusta National. “I think I’m going to get one of those jackets.”

And if he wins at Harbour Town, he’ll get another plaid jacket.