AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am: How Good Will Brandt Snedeker Be?

Steve SilvermanFeatured ColumnistFebruary 10, 2013

Brandt Snedeker is dominating the tour early in the 2013 season.
Brandt Snedeker is dominating the tour early in the 2013 season.Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Brandt Snedeker has news for anyone who thinks that the 2013 golf season is going to belong to Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson.

Snedeker is simply on fire. Yes, he won the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, firing a 19-under par 267, beating runner-up Chris Kirk by two strokes. That score broke the tournament record that had been held by Phil Mickelson (2007) and Mark O'Meara (1997) who both shot 268.

But that victory was just one step in his progression to a spot near the top of the golf world. Snedeker fired 68 or better in all four of his rounds at the nation's foremost Pro-Am. Not only is that difficult considering the courses that he is playing, but there's also the distraction of playing with celebrities who are masquerading as amateur golfers.

Snedeker's victory followed on the heels of back-to-back runner-up performances at Torrey Pines and the Phoenix Open.

Woods won at Torrey Pines, while Mickelson won in his former backyard at Phoenix.

Golfers don't usually string three performances together the way Snedeker has done.

You might get second one week, 24th the next, 18th the week after and then get your win.

Golf on the pro tour is simply too tough and competitive to play at such a high level for three straight tournaments.

Snedeker may just be getting ready to claim the 2013 season as his own.

That might be a problem for those who want to see the return of Big Three Golf with McIlroy, Woods and Mickelson, but that's not Snedeker's problem.

He is simply an excellent golfer on a roll and he doesn't have to face limits to how good he could be this season...or beyond.

It's a disservice to say that Snedeker is a hot golfer. With that description, you get the feeling that Snedeker is playing over his head.

Snedeker may simply be a great golfer.

He has strung together 33-of-37 under par rounds in official PGA Tour events, dating back to the Wyndham Classic in August. He has been under par in 16 of his last 17 rounds. Snedeker is the first golfer in 22 years to follow back-to-back runner-up performances with a win in his next tournament.

Snedeker may look like a guy who looks like he is having a good time while he is playing golf. Underneath it all, he is a shark who wants to eat. He is hungry and he wants championships.

The Pebble Beach Pro-Am is the fifth tour victory of his career. He wants more.

You wouldn't know it by his remarks, but Snedeker wants to be one of the best golfers in the world.

"Feels great to finish one," he told after the win. "The last two weeks, playing great but running into two Hall of Famers, really motivated me to go out and prove that I can handle the lead."

Snedeker has risen to the No. 4 ranking in the world.

He finished the 2012 season with a flourish and he is even hotter at the start of 2013.

He has the game to play with the best golfers in the world and it appears Snedeker intends to do just that.

That might not play well with McIlroy, Woods and Mickelson, but there may be little that they can do about it.