Reeling from a slump from last season, Brandt Snedeker wanted to become relevant in golf again. He wasn’t yet qualified for any of the World Golf Championships, including the Cadillac Championship at Doral in less than a month, or the Masters. He didn’t like missing out and that was a motivating factor for him heading into today’s final round at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
Snedeker overcame a one-shot deficit as he teed off on Sunday and shot a third-consecutive five-under 67, posting a 22-under tournament total — which broke the scoring record he previously held after he won this event in 2013 — to win by three shots over Nick Watney.
Though it’s his seven-career victory on the PGA Tour, this one might taste the sweetest.
“It was an emotional win for me today because it been a long time coming,” said Snedeker in his post-round presser. “Last year and a half have not been up to my standard and what I felt I was capable of. I made some changes in the middle of the year last year and feel like that I got a lot better at the end of last year. And just didn’t quite show it on the golf course and to come out here and my back against the wall for a bunch of tournaments. I like playing in, I’m used to playing in and it is really special and means a lot to me.”
Snedeker left his longtime swing coach Todd Anderson and started working with Butch Harmon shortly after the U.S. Open last year. It wasn’t an easy decision for him, but it’s starting to pay dividends.
“Butch helped me a lot kind of understanding my golf swing and how I should release the golf club and what I should focus on,” said Snedeker, who only carded one bogey in 72 holes on three different course over the last four days. “Kind of change the way that I went about swinging the golf club a little bit. It’s helped a lot. I feel a lot more comfortable and I hit the shots I hit today under pressure kind of validates what I was thinking.”
However, the road back to the winner’s circle wasn’t easy. Snedeker had the worst season of his career last year, when he only notched three top-10s in 25 starts. He endured a rough patch, where self-doubt creeped into his thoughts.
“Y’all don’t see the low times, the tough times,” he said. “Over the last year I’ve not played up to my capabilities and I was not happy with my golf game. I also wasn’t happy with a lot of stuff on the golf side. It’s tough, it takes a toll on you.
“You wonder if you’re going to be able to get back to where you were or if you made the right decisions and that kind of stuff. So to go out there and validate it the way I did.”
Harmon was instrumental to Snedeker’s victory at Pebble Beach. In working with Snedeker, Harmon has helped him tremendously with the mental side of the game, giving him little nuggets to think about in certain situations. Well, one in particular came in handy on Sunday.
“I used it today, the pressure gets on and it gets tough and you need to hit fairways, teeing that ball down and getting after it and trying to hit it low helps a lot,” said Snedeker.
“I did that a lot on the back nine. When things got tough and I was trying to ‑‑ didn’t feel like I was swinging great at it, but I was kind of managing it, doing something as simple as that kept the ball in the fairway and kept it in front of me and made me play to my strengths, which is my short game and my putting.”
But, perhaps the best part for Snedeker is punching his tickets to the upcoming WGC next month, and of course, the Masters. Snedeker had fallen outside the top 50 in the Official World Golf Rankings to no. 63. Well, with this win, he surges to no. 31 in the world.
“It’s nice to be back in those tournaments,” he said. “I can set my schedule a little bit.
“All the hard work I’ve done the last year’s paying off now. I look forward to ‑‑ I know this is a great week, but I look forward to parlaying this week into more weeks coming up and kind of keep this momentum going.”
And most of all, he’s back to being part of the golf conversation with the rest of the big names.
“I kept using the term I want to be relevant again in golf,” said Snedeker. “I think I’m relevant again.”