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Snedeker Set to Defend at Torrey
Brandt Snedeker came out of nowhere in last year's Farmers Insurance Open. The Nashville native closed with a 5-under 67 at Torrey Pines to overcome a seven-shot deficit to tie Kyle Stanley in the final round, then beat the Gig Harbor, Wash., native on the second sudden-death playoff hole for his third career win on the PGA Tour.
Snedeker's 2012 campaign was far from over. He won the season-ending Tour Championship and the season-long FedEx Cup Playoff for a $10 million bonus, justifying his spot on the 2012 U.S. Ryder Cup team where he went 1-2-0 as the Americans lost to the Europeans at Medinah.
Snedeker is back in the San Diego area to defend his title in the Farmers Insurance Open. The $6.1 million event starts Thursday on the North and South courses at Torrey Pines.
On Tuesday, the 32-year-old Tennessean met with reporters and talked about how last year's win kick-started his season and his chances to repeat this week. Here's what he had to say to the media.
MODERATOR: Like to welcome our defending champion of the Farmers Insurance Open, Brandt Snedeker. Brandt, if you want to open up by talking about your thoughts coming back to the site where you had such a dramatic win last year, an historic win, and we'll have a few questions.
BRANDT SNEDEKER: Okay, yeah. It's always great to be back in San Diego. This is a place that's very near and dear to my heart. This is kind of where my career started and had a lot of success here over the last four or five years. So I love coming here. The golf course is in great shape, and my game feels really good. So I'm excited to see what the week holds, and I hopefully can do a good job of trying to defend.
Q. Going back to last year's victory, probably one of the oddest ones you've been a part of. When you think back on it, I think at that time you were like I'm not sure what just happened. But now you've had a chance to think back on it, your thoughts on that?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: Yeah, it's still pretty crazy when you look at the number of events that had to happen for me to get into a playoff, and then to get in the playoffs and win, it's something you don't plan on. You have those opportunities maybe once or twice in your career, and to take advantage of it was great. I obviously didn't want Kyle to have to go through that, but I had a great benefit from it, and I appreciate the fact that he did do that for me. And I hope I never return the favor, but you never know in this game, you might. So it's been a great year being a champion. This is a place I've always wanted to win, and to be able to do that last year is really special.
Q. Did you talk to Kyle? Have you talked to him since then? The question I would have is do you think he learned more from losing that than he did from winning the next week?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: I'm sure he did, yeah. I've talked to him a little bit about it. It's not something we talk about in great regularity. I don't want to talk about rehashing open wounds, so that's something that doesn't come up in typical conversations. I think it definitely did help him, and anybody that's had that happen to them before, we've all had leads and lost it, and you learn from it and get better from it. And he, obviously, did because he went on to win the next week. So that's something he'll learn from. He'll still look back on his career and use.
Q. Do you learn more from close losses than victories or is it the same?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: No, I think you learn every time you get in contention. I'd prefer not to lose, but you definitely learn from being in the heat of the battle, what's happening, and what you sometimes don't do well and sometimes you do do well. So you try to pick up on those nuances when you get into those situations.
Q. Those open wounds that you talked about that all of you golfers have, how do you go about breaking through the psychological scarring so that like I'm sort of putting myself in Kyle's shoes, what it's going to be like to be on that 18th fairway the first round and know like have that memory. How do you get beyond that?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: There are two ways of doing it. Either people have great to be a great golfer, I think you have to have a great memory or a really, really poor memory, one of the two. And then the way I look at it is I'm a believer that everything in the end evens out. So if I'm Kyle, I would like to think that 18th hole owes me a lot of shots over the next few years and I'll make up a lot of ground on it. So that's the way I would choose to look at it. If he hits that same shot again on Sunday, I guarantee he won't hit the same shot he did last year. He'll try something different, and that's learning from it and moving on from it.
Q. So was that for you, The Masters? Was that the philosophy?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: I'm still learning. Still doing it, yeah.
Q. Can you think of a specific example where you came back to a place and really just conquered the demons?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: Well, here, I finished second here a couple years ago to Ben Crane, and I had a chance on the back nine, and I didn't birdie 18. I had some chances where I didn't hit shots I should have hit in the situation, and I looked back at that as an opportunity lost. It doesn't necessarily have to be a dramatic blow up, just little stuff that you pick up on that you could have and should have done better.
Q. You talked after last year's win, especially after the Tour Championship and earlier this year before Hyundai, how important patience is. How long did it take you to learn how important patience is, and how important is patience for you?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: The patience is the most important thing in the game of golf. If you look at the guys who are the best at what they do, it's amazing how patient they are with themselves and how they keep fighting and hanging in there in golf tournaments. I'm still learning it. I'm way better this year than I was last year, and last year was the first year I put a big emphasis on it. Last week was a great testament to my patience because I played really, really well, and putted horrible, which I never do, and I hated every minute of it. I wanted to break my putter because it just never happens. And I stayed patient, hung in there, and was able to have good rounds, good finishes to rounds and stuff like that. Whereas, me, in my younger years, that would not have happened.
Q. How tough is it for you, you play fast, you talk fast, you walk fast, how tough is it to be patient with the way you move?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: It's very tough, very tough. I learned a lot from playing with Tiger and Phil and Davis Love, these guys that have won a ton of tournaments. You see it when you play with them in competition. You see it come out and how patient they are and you see how they never get down on themselves. They think the next hole is going to be their run of nine straight birdies. Doesn't matter where they are, you can just see it in their eyes. That is something that young golfers typically don't have a great job of, and you're constantly learning. But to be around those guys, when you see those guys in competition, it's very, very impressive. It's probably the most underrated quality is how patient they are on the golf course.
Q. In nearly 50 rounds here, Tiger's career average is 68.6. As someone who has played this course well?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: Yeah.
Q. What do you make of that?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: That's just phenomenal. I mean, that's stupid. This golf course, if you shoot even par on the South course, you're doing great. You've played a really great round of golf to average 3.5 under par on that golf course is phenomenal. Any time Tiger has a record, I put an asterisk by it, because it's Tiger's record. It's not normal. It's not the way it's normally going to be for most people. But he does have an unbelievable record around here. He's found a way to putt these greens the best of anybody. He putts here phenomenally well, which is what you've got to do.
Q. Whether you're in Tiger's group or a group behind or on the other side of the course, can you say what his presence does to the atmosphere to the galleries and the roars?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: He's so great for the game of golf. We're so fortunate to have him back and playing well. He adds a little bit more electricity to the tournament. There are certain guys when they walk into a room, people gravitate towards them. I remember being out here Greg Norman, my rookie year, was playing a few tournaments a year. He had that same magnetism as Tiger does, Phil does, and these guys really move the needle on the game of golf. And we're fortunate to have them back playing, especially here in San Diego. It's great to have him here playing.
Q. I know that you just came from the Gliderport, and knowing that everything's a competition. Can you give us some analysis on who was better at flying themselves around between you and D.J. and Dan?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: Obviously, me. I was the only one that did a full loop. It was pretty cool little thing I did. For those of you that didn't see it, it was pretty interesting. They had life size models of three of us that we were flying out there on the Gliderport. So it's pretty freaky to be in charge of something that could actually hurt somebody if you crash it. But we had a lot of fun with it. It was pretty cool.
The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.