Featured Golf News
Snedeker Now in Canada
Brandt Snedeker seems to making a tour of the British Empire. The 31-year-old Tennessean has flown from England to Canada, where he'll be teeing it up Thursday in the Canadian Open. The $5.2 million PGA Tour stop is being played at Hamilton Golf & Country Club in Ancaster, Ontario.
Snedeker made a valiant run at his first major title last week in the 141st Open Championship. He opened with rounds of 4-under 66 and 6-under 64 at Royal Lytham & St. Annes to vault to the top of the leaderboard. In those first two rounds he carded nary a bogey.
But on the weekend the three-time Tour winner returned to earth with rounds of 73 and 74 to end up tying for third with Tiger Woods at 3-under, four strokes behind Claret Jug winner Ernie Els, who also made the transatlantic flight for the Canadian Open.
On Tuesday, Snedeker met with reporters at Hamilton G&CC, a wonderful course designed by the great English architect, H.S. Colt. He talked about the historic venue, his experiences at the Open, and what he thinks about the looming issue of the R&A's possible ban of long putters. Here's what the likable Nashville native had to say during his session with the media.
MODERATOR: All right. We'd like to welcome Brandt Snedeker to the interview room here at the RBC Canadian Open interview room. Brandt, thanks for joining us for a few minutes. You're off to a great year so far, four top 10s among them, your great come from behind in San Diego, and obviously last week the 36 hole leader at the British Open; third place honors, and if I look at it correctly, you're making your fourth start here with a couple of top 10 finishes. So kind of all that said, just some thoughts on what it's like to be back here in Canada.
BRANDT SNEDEKER: Good. It's obviously a different golf course, but it's a great golf course. We don't get to play too many traditional golf courses like this. It's going to be really tough, going to challenge every club in the bag. And I love being up here. My caddie is from Toronto. This is kind of a semi home event for him. It's fun for me. I love being in Canada. It's a great week, golf course is in great shape. Obviously after last week my game is pretty close to being where it needs to be to win a golf tournament. So have pretty high expectations this week.
MODERATOR: Okay. With that we'll take some questions.
Q. Just curious, I know last week the course didn't necessarily play like true links from other opens, but is there something you actually are mentally going to change from going from that style of golf course back to a North American course itself that you could actually describe to us, I guess?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: Yeah. I think there's going to be some different stuff, obviously, especially on the greens and lines off tees and stuff like that. But when you're playing good, it kind of goes on any golf course you play. I don't think it really matters where you're playing. I obviously played really well last week and take a lot of positives from that this week. Probably be a little bit more aggressive than I was last week. It was obviously just kind of a defensive mode every day it seemed like just because the course was so penal. This one allows you to be a little more aggressive. So I'll probably change my game a little bit in that aspect, but for the most part if you're playing good, it doesn't really matter where you're playing.
Q. First off, thanks for coming over after a long week in Britain. Appreciate you supporting the event. My question was going to be similar to the gentleman from Buffalo, the links golf versus this classic Stanley Thompson course, there's a lot of back to front slopes, and the putting is probably going to be the most difficult change, I would think. Would you agree with that?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: I would say so, yeah. From what I saw on Monday in the pro am the greens can't get too quick because they're so severely sloped. There's a lot of slope on these greens and they're not real big targets to hit into. So this golf course you're going to have to control your golf ball, keep the ball below the hole at all times, because if you get the pin high or past pin high here, you're not going to be able to make a lot of putts. So it's going to be a tougher strategy to try to figure out how you can leave yourself the most amount of makeable birdie putts. And it's very demanding off the tee. There's not a lot of room to hit it out here. You really gotta shape your golf ball both ways. It's a great test. We don't see too many of these anymore, and it's kind of nice to be on a classic golf course.
Q. Can you just talk a little bit about maybe a little bit you heard last week with the R&A and USGA maybe revoking the rule of anchoring the putter to your body? There seems to be trending towards some decision. Maybe a recall on that rule? Do you want to talk about that? What do you think will happen? What do you think should happen?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: As a guy who putts it pretty good I of course would love a recall of the rule. I think it's going to be a very touchy subject with a lot of players because it's been I don't know if they're going to recall the rule or if they're going to start enforcing the rule. There is a rule in place that you can't anchor a club; they've just chosen not to enforce it over the last 15 or 20 years, whatever it is.
Q. Pernice told me there is a rule in the book about that.
BRANDT SNEDEKER: There is a rule in the book about it. It's kind of a gray area. They've chosen not to enforce it, and they've gotten themselves in a situation now where they're going to have to do something about it. Me, being a guy who putts it pretty good, I would love to see the putter be the shortest club in your bag. I feel it takes a lot of nerves out of it. I feel like when you're under pressure and under stress on the 72nd hole and you gotta make a 5 footer, I want to know how your hands feel. I don't want that putter stuck against your body. It obviously takes nerves out of it. Otherwise guys wouldn't be doing it. That's me from my point of view. Now, if I had a belly putter in my hand, if I had a long putter, it would be completely different.
But I see why they're in the situation they're in. It's a tough situation. You're affecting guys' livelihood and how they make their living. And guys who have Carl Pettersson or Tim Clark, who have been on Tour their whole life with small putters. Is it really fair to tell them they can't use that now, they've made their whole career off this one putter and you're going to tell them they can't use it anymore? I don't know. It could be a very how they handle situation - it's not the same as how they handled grooves. Grooves is completely different than this. Grooves was in effect not a life changing making guys switch from putters and stuff like that. You weren't changing any of the clubs in your bags. Still playing with the same clubs, ball is just affected a little differently off the groove. This is telling guys you've gotta completely change the way you thought about your whole putting for the last 15 years. So I don't know how you do it. I don't know what's fair to those guys. But to be fair to the USGA and R&A, they got themselves in the situation, so they gotta figure a way out of it.
Q. In follow up to your week last week in Lytham, a lot wasn't made and I thought it was an interesting point and I think maybe it was Curtis or one of the on air guys did mention it briefly, but the wetness of the bunkers relative to the difference in how they actually play, how much of a factor was that actually during the week about trying to not get in there, just the condition of the bunkers not being really sand anymore and more actually mud?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: Yeah, there was numerous times last week where I made my caddie run up and look and see if there was water in bunkers because it did affect it. If you hit it in a bunker, it was a legit one shot penalty. You would have to play out sideways, play it backwards. Made it definitely more penal. I was lucky the first two days and didn't hit it in any bunkers, but I made up for it on the weekend by hitting it in a lot.
But it was unlike any British Open I've ever been to because the bunkers were the most penal I've ever seen. If you hit it in the bunker, normally at a British Open you assume you could get it on the green somewhere. Last week that was not the case at all. There was times you had to go out backwards. And Tiger on Sunday when I was playing with him was a perfect example of him hitting it in a greenside bunker and he couldn't even do anything with it. So they were as penal as I've ever seen, and they really, really made you think your way around the golf course about how to avoid them at all costs.
Q. We heard you speak a little more during the Open Championship about the similarities between your game and Tom Watson. Just wondering, what's your relationship like with Tom? How does he maybe help you?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: He's been a great help. I try to play practice rounds with him every year at the majors, either the Masters or the British Open where I see him every year. We text off and on quite a little bit. He's a good guy to bounce stuff off of. He knows a lot about the game of golf, knows how to play it at a very, very high level, and kind of cool to have that relationship with a guy that you grew up idolizing. Played a bunch of practice rounds at the British Open trying to figure out how to best go about game planning and applying my game to links style golf because I had very little success at it. And he helped me a lot in understanding how you think your way around the golf course, how you play certain shots, how you calculate the wind into your ball process and your shot selection. And I think that's stuff you can't learn from playing. You gotta learn it from - I can't learn from playing so many rounds. It really helped me out. Give him a lot of credit for what happened last week. Definitely a lot of stuff that happened last week was a direct product of playing practice rounds with him.
Q. We saw you last week in one of the pubs sampling the local fare. Jet lag aside, have you had any opportunity to do that here yet?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: Not really. We went last night for dinner here. Had a nice steak. So that was good to get some meat back in my body after last week. But I slept mildly last night. And it's it good to be back on a normal time zone for me. Getting back on my same schedule, which is nice.
Q. You are the come from behind kid with your victories on the Tour, and we've had, for lack of a better term, a collapse in a major championship with Adam. When you're chasing a guy with the lead, do you feel like that guy is under tremendous pressure to hang on to that lead?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: Yes. Obviously yes. You never want to say you're waiting for a guy to make a mistake, but when you're coming from behind you're not worrying about making mistakes. You're worrying about making birdies. When you have the lead, you're worrying about making mistakes because if you don't make a mistake, you're going to win. When you're coming from behind, you don't worry about that. You're just trying to make as many birdies as you can and hopefully it's enough. That's a big reason I didn't see what happened with Adam coming. I played with him on Saturday and he played beautifully, and I really thought it was going to be a coronation for him on Sunday, to be honest with you. But that being said, when we get out there on Sunday, the wind was tough. It was a cross wind all day on every hole, which is the hardest wind there by far, and the rough was so thick that you could see no lead was safe. Doesn't matter.
Tiger and I were walking down 11 and we were both 4 under par I think at that point. We both said the same thing, if we get to 7 under par, we have a chance to win the golf tournament. That was knowing full well Adam was 11 or 10 under at that point. We didn't know how right we were when we said that, but that's kind of what we were thinking. You never want to see that happen to anybody. It was kind of one of those things where the pressure does mount; it does kind of snowball out of effect. You get the feeling where you can't stop it. I got into it on Saturday where I bogeyed four or five out of six holes. Not a fun feeling. It feels terrible, and you're trying to do everything to fight it, and it just keeps getting worse and I know that's probably what Adam went through on Sunday.
Q. And to follow up on the guy who took advantage of that, Ernie Els, for him to persevere and come from where he was to where he is now, A, what did that do for golf in your opinion, and B, how big a force is he right now in the golf world?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: Funny, Ernie hasn't been talked about in quite a few years. Us players always know what Ernie is. He's one of the best ball strikers ever. He's a phenomenal talent. And we knew if he ever putted well again he's had a great year and he's kind of flown under the radar. Finished second at the U. S. Open, had a couple of chances, lost in a playoff at New Orleans, had a chance to win at Tampa, didn't quite make it. Look at his year. He's played fantastic. He's just flying under the radar and people think he's not back yet. He's not like he was ten years ago.
He's still relatively young. It's not like he's a 49 year old. He's still in his low 40s. And it's great for golf because Ernie's a great guy to have on leaderboards, playing golf tournaments, great ambassador for the game. And he passes the litmus test in golf. If you ever watch him play, you understand why he's that good. He makes everything look so easy and effortless. It was such a great moment for him, I know, since everybody kind of passed him over and thought that he was done winning majors, for him to be able do at this age. Wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility to see him win a couple more, wouldn't be surprised to see him win a Masters again now. So it's good to have him back.
MODERATOR: Okay. Brandt, as always, we appreciate your time. Best of luck this week.
BRANDT SNEDEKER: Thanks a lot, guys.
The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.