Blogs & Opinion


Brandt Snedeker's FedEx Cup win has boosted his confidence and chances of claiming Major, says Rob Lee

Rob Lee Posted 29th January 2013 view comments

Brandt Snedeker's victory in the 2012 FedEx Cup not only boosted his bank balance, it increased his confidence, too.

The 32-year-old scooped $10million after winning the Tour Championship in September, in which he finished three shots ahead of Justin Rose and four in front of Luke Donald and Ryan Moore, and I think he now realises how good a golfer he is.

Snedeker: the American could contend at the Open Championship, says Rob

Snedeker: the American could contend at the Open Championship, says Rob

Guys like Bill Haas and Jim Furyk have struggled to press on after plucking those riches, but Snedeker has revelled in it, as shown by his performance at the Farmers Insurance Open over the weekend, where he tied for second, a year after winning the event.

The Tennessee-born player has always been a very talented putter, while his quick play, something that is extremely refreshing to see, helps him as well; he doesn't muck around on a shot, he just pulls the club back and bangs it.

Snedeker doesn't muck around on a shot; he just pulls the club back and bangs it.

Rob Lee
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And now that Snedeker believes in himself, too, I see this upward curve continuing; I expect him to win plenty more events in the coming years.

Snedeker has risen to seventh in the world rankings so more expectation will be placed upon him, though I think he has the personality to deal with that; he has a great attitude and work ethic and always smiles on the course.

Those traits could make him a fundamental part of Team USA at the Ryder Cup in Gleneagles in 2014 but, for now, he will be looking to further impose himself in the Majors, having recorded top-10 finishes in all of them, except the USPGA.

The American seized a tie of third place at the 2008 US Masters and considering the form he is in he could be a big contender at Augusta in a couple of months' time - but he will fancy his chances at The Open, too.

Snedeker placed third at Royal Lytham in 2012 and as he is a good player in windy conditions, this year's tournament at Muirfield could also suit him.

Demons

Tiger Woods, meanwhile, missed the cut at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship two weeks ago and played some shots that were strange at best and terrible at worst.

So he must be absolutely delighted that he won the Farmers Insurance Open by four strokes on Monday - if not by the way he folded over the closing holes.

It was a good victory for Tiger - his eighth around Torrey Pines, his seventh at the Farmers and his 75th on the PGA Tour- but he had a chance to make a real statement and win by a good nine or 10 shots.

That didn't happen, though, as he played his final five holes in four-over to show that some of the demons, especially the ones he has when the driver is in his hand, are still there.

The man is a genius who has risen from 50th to second in the rankings in a year, won 14 Major titles and made three different golf swings work, although the latest incarnation is still being worked on.

Still, 2013 is a vital year for Tiger and I think he HAS to win a Major; he is getting towards that 40 mark and as talented and hungry as he is, it will only get harder to capture a big one from here on in.

The problem that Tiger has now, though, is that he is no longer seen as invincible on the final day of a tournament; he used to scare his peers and force them to make mistakes however well he was playing himself.

But those days are gone and they aren't coming back because the likes of Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose et al do not fear Tiger anymore - even though his record of 50 wins from the 54 times he has been leading after three rounds on the PGA Tour shows how deadly he is in the final stages.

Top-drawer

I also must congratulate Tiger's near namesake, Chris Wood, for winning his maiden European Tour title in Doha - and hitting the best three shots of his life in doing so.

The Englishman trailed George Coetzee and Sergio Garcia by one stroke as he reached the 18th tee on Sunday, after letting the three-shot advantage he held at the start of the round slip.

But he hit a top-drawer tee shot, a top-drawer iron shot and a top-drawer putt - all under immense pressure - to register an eagle and win the Qatar Masters, something that was a long time coming.

The 25-year-old finished tied for fifth at the 2008 British Open and tied for third at the same event the following year, but having finally started snapping up some trophies - the Bristolian won in Thailand in 2012 - I think his future looks bright.

ROB'S SKY BET TIPS

OMEGA DUBAI DESERT CLASSIC: I am tipping Sergio Garcia who is Sky Bet's 9/2 favourite to win this and become the fourth Spanish victor in a row, following Rafael Cabrera-Bello (2012), Alvaro Quiros (2011) and Miguel Angel Jimenez (2010). You no longer expect him to miss putts from two or three feet, while he looks happy and confident again following last year's win at the Wyndham Championship and being part of the successful European Ryder Cup team at Medinah.

WASTE MANAGEMENT PHOENIX OPEN: Jason Dufner, who lost in a play-off in this tournament in 2011 to Mark Wilson, will be a contender, but I am going back Zimbabwe's Brendon de Jonge to win his first PGA Tour title at 70/1 with Sky Bet; it is always a birdie-fest in Phoenix and I expect Brendon to make plenty of them this week.

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