Snedeker to Defend RBC Heritage Title

Brandt Snedeker came out of nowhere last year to win the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links. The Tennessean closed with a 7-under 64 to tie Luke Donald and then beat the Englishman on the third playoff hole with a par at Hilton Head Island, S.C.

He started the final round in 17th place and six strokes out of the lead, but Snedeker felt something great was going to happen before starting the final round. After waking up on that Sunday a year ago, he thought, "I'm going to go out and win myself a golf tournament."

And he did. Snedeker noted later that with that victory he fulfilled half of one of his career dreams. "I said there are two jackets I wanted to earn in my lifetime, a green jacket and a plaid jacket," Snedeker said last year. "I've got one."

Now the Nashville native is back for a second tartan coat. His game seems to be ready; Snedeker had a decent performance in last week's Masters, shooting rounds of 72, 75, 68 and 73 to finish at even-par 288 and tied for 19th place.

Despite not finishing quite as high as he'd like, Snedeker was happy to see Bubba Watson win the Masters. "Bubba plays golf unlike anybody else out here," Snedeker said Wednesday at Harbour Town. "We were joking around here saying, if you had to go pay money to see guys play golf, it would be Tiger (Woods), Phil (Mickelson) and Bubba. Bubba plays the way we used to play with Wiffle balls; he'll curve the ball and it's fun to watch. You catch yourself watching him play a little bit when you're playing with them.

"It's great for golf. It's great to see him win and close it out the way he did. His wife is a great person. And obviously with a new baby, that was a really cool moment for them to be able to experience that. It's just fun to watch. I'm a fan. It's great to see."

Here's what else the three-time PGA Tour winner had to tell the media during his Q&A on the eve of the RBC Heritage.

MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome our defending champion here at the RBC Heritage, Brandt Snedeker. Looking back at last year, what a final round that was. You entered the day six strokes back and made just a great final round and great comeback win. Talk about that.

BRANDT SNEDEKER: It was obviously special day. It gave me a lot of momentum and confidence going throughout the rest of the year. I didn't have a whole lot of expectations that day. I made a lot of birdies early that day and turning 30 on the front nine. Pieced together a few on the back nine and posted a great round. And what I thought was going to be a good finish, and backed my way into a playoff getting done so early. And beating Luke last year in the playoff was a huge confidence boost for me going forward the rest of the year. I remember Luke was No.1 at the time, and doing it a couple of weeks later. But it was real special to me to have that kind of pressure and make some putts when you had to and feel like it's helped me progress a lot since then. A lot has happened in the year, and it's great to be back.

MODERATOR: Recap this year, you won the Farmers Insurance Open and top 20 finish at the Masters.

BRANDT SNEDEKER: Yeah, I've been playing good this year. At Farmers I played great. I played well to win there, a special way to start the year. It gives me a lot of confidence, obviously. I feel like I'm playing the best golf of my career all year. And I feel like each week I play consistently well, and I need to tighten even up a few loose shots around the green and a few loose iron shots. I'm excited what this week will hold and love to be here and look forward to tomorrow morning.

Q. Now that you've been back a couple of days, what has your couple of days been like, to be back in this community?

BRANDT SNEDEKER: It's been great. We sped up here Sunday night after the Masters and got in our place, and it's been great to be back and see old friends, old faces that are here. It's been a busy week, needless to say, but it's great to have those responsibilities and those issues to deal with. Obviously with a new sponsor with RBC and Boeing, it's been great getting to know them a little bit more, seeing how involved they are with this tournament; has only given me confidence going forward. It's great to see all the local faces back in action. I'm excited to be here.

Q. How different is it, the past years you've been here?

BRANDT SNEDEKER: A whole new excitement for the tournament, obviously with two new sponsors who are going in this thing full bore and putting a lot of time and effort into it. They want to be more successful than anybody realized. I think it's great for us to play. We're seeing small benefits, the course has changed a little bit. They've done some small things for the players to make it more pleasing. You didn't need to do a whole lot with this place, there's a lot of great fan support and a great local community behind it, so I think they're seeing the benefits of that.

Q. How difficult is it coming off of a week that's so stressful like the Masters, coming to here? Obviously it didn't affect you much last year.

BRANDT SNEDEKER: Yeah, it is. It's exhausting, last week was very exhausting. I was tired Monday and tired yesterday, and I got to sleep in today, which was nice. You have to pace yourself throughout the week, and get your mind wrapped around what this week is going to be like. It's going to be a lot less stressful, but that being said, you want to have a lot of meaning on Sunday. I'm excited with the amount of rest I've got, and I feel like my game is in good shape. It's time to take a deep breath this week, and get back in the normal routine. Last week was so out of the ordinary, it's great to be back to what we're used to.

Q. Harbour Town was recently named No. 2 by the Tour players as one of their favorite courses. Would you mind talking about Harbour Town and what makes it unique. Do you feel that way, that it deserves that ranking?

BRANDT SNEDEKER: People don't believe me, I said it was one of my favorite courses before winning here last year, and obviously after winning it is. It doesn't favor anybody in particular, if you're on your game, if you're a long hitter, short hitter, you place your ball off the tee in the right spot, putting your ball on the right spots on the greens, and making the key putts. These days the new courses are kind bombing out courses, hit a long way, big, thick rough, lots of mounding and stuff like that, for spectators. It's cool to go to a golf course that's really old school. This is an old traditional golf course, not real long.

So I think it's - guys like seeing that. We don't see it very often. When we do, guys tend to gravitate to it. When you've got something good, you don't have to mess with it. I think it stands the test of time. The winning scores have been about the same for the last 35 years. The technology has changed a whole lot, so it shows you what kind of golf course it is.

Q. You mentioned the change from Augusta to here, how much easier is it to get jacked up as the defending champion?

BRANDT SNEDEKER: You know, it's always a special feeling. I've done this once before, and I played terrible. At the Wyndham I missed the cut, so I'm trying to take a different outlook this time around. I feel like my game's in good shape, which obviously makes you feel a lot more relaxed. It's great to be back. You realize that you relive some of the great memories I had last year, replay some of the shots and that kinds of stuff. It's good to be back here and see those good things, and hopefully I can lead into a good week this week.

Q. What is it with you and playoffs? Obviously here last year, San Diego earlier this year, why do you think you've played so well? And secondly, why do you think it's been so hard for guys to hold the lead on Sunday?

BRANDT SNEDEKER: That's a great question. With regards to holding the lead on Sunday, I think it's very, very tough to do that. I think guys get spoiled by the Tiger Woods of the world, guys who go out and close every time. And that's not just the way that golf is played. Anybody that plays it on a regular bases realizes how hard it is, when you get in pressure situations, to not make mistakes. And your mistakes tend to get magnified. You see that this year, it's tough to win golf tournament, and mistakes get magnified, and Tiger is exempt from that. And he's found a recipe for him, how to do that. He's the best closer of all time. I think we're accustomed to seeing everybody play great down the stretch, and actually think it's the norm.

With regard to me and playoffs, I guess I like making it dramatic. I don't know. I'd much rather win by ten than go to a playoff; it's a lot more stressful. The one thing I do give myself credit for, is doing a good job of getting in the moment. Realizing it's a new tournament. The playoff is just you versus one other guy; I get really into that, and not to be too overwhelmed by the moment. I realize that it's just as important as the first shot I hit on Thursday. And no matter how nervous I feel, I know the guy next to me is feeling just as nervous, if not more so. I keep telling myself that, and just try to get into it, and have faith that whatever happens I'm going to win. I don't know how, I don't know why, but I feel like I'm going to do be able to do it. And fortunately I've been able to do it a few times.

Q. You've mentioned the timeless aspect of this course. They've add some length, have you had a chance to see that? Experience it?

BRANDT SNEDEKER: I actually have not. I've heard of all the changes they've done. I think more than anything else I don't think it's going to affect the way the course plays very much. I think it just gives the tournament more options. A lot of the new tees, some will be used, some won't be used. It depends on the day and the wind. It's not bad to have too many new options on golf course. I don't know that it's going to change the way we play 16 or 3. It might change a little bit on the par 5, but I think it's more of a way to get the Tour more options if - for instance, 3 is playing downwind, you can hit a driver, sand wedge to the hole, but that hole is not built for that. You can hit a 6 or 7 iron, so it gives it more options. They're doing the right thing, trying to keep the course up to where it's traditionally been played the way it has been.

Q. Just wanted to quickly ask if you saw the shot Bubba hit on 10 there. Kind of get your thoughts on the shot. And do you sort of see some of the shots that he hits?

BRANDT SNEDEKER: You know, Bubba plays golf I think the only other guy that I can see the shots hit like Bubba is Phil, and that's just because the way they play. It's not just because they're left handed. The only other person that can hit that shot on 10 is Phil, because of the way the shot called for. Bubba plays golf unlike anybody else out here. We were joking around here saying, if you had to go pay money to see guys play golf, it would be Tiger, Phil and Bubba. Bubba plays the way we used to play with Wiffle balls; he'll curve the ball and it's fun to watch. You catch yourself watching him play a little bit when you're playing with them.

It's great for golf. It's great to see him win and close it out the way he did. His wife is a great person. And obviously with a new baby, that was a really cool moment for them to be able to experience that. It's just fun to watch. I'm a fan. It's great to see.

MODERATOR: We appreciate your time. Good luck this week.

The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.