While most of the attention during the week at Pebble Beach is focused on the celebrities and their antics, Brandt Snedeker quietly made his move to the top of the leaderboard during the first three rounds and stole the show Sunday with a 65 to earn his fifth career PGA Tour win.
Although his margin of victory was only two, the result was never in doubt during the final round. Snedeker’s game from tee to green was impeccable, and his pursuers could never get close enough to threaten his lead.
Snedeker is one of the best putters on tour, and that was on full display during his victory march this week. He was able to tame Pebble Beach’s tricky undulating greens, which is always a key for success on the iconic layout.
Although this is his first win of the year, Snedeker is playing better than anyone on tour. He ranks first in total birdies with 107 and has only finished outside of the top three once in five events in 2013.
He currently ranks first on the money list and in FedEx Cup points. With this win, Snedeker moved up to No. 4 in the world golf rankings and has been flawless so far this season.
In recent years, there has been a lot of talk about who will be the next great American golfer. Some have suggested players like Rickie Fowler and Dustin Johnson, but what Snedeker may lack in hype and a “wow" factor, he makes up with actual substance and game on the course.
Players like Fowler and Johnson have had some success early in their careers, but they have not had the consistency demonstrated by Snedeker.
Snedeker plays a boring style of golf. He does not hit it exceptionally far (he averages 278.3 yards off the tee, which his good for a ranking of 156 on tour), nor do you see him making the spectacular recovery shot.
Snedeker does not pull off the miraculous escape shots that you see from Tiger and Phil because he does not have to. He ranks No. 15 in fairways hits and No. 6 in greens in regulation. All Snedeker does is hit fairways and greens and with his putting prowess, putting the ball anywhere on the green is often good enough.
There were other notable performances at Pebble. The much-hyped PGA Tour rookie Patrick Cantlay had his best career finish with a tie for ninth.
Another solid performance was turned in by Retief Goosen. Goosen was once a mainstay at the top of the world rankings, but due to back problems and poor play, he has fallen off the radar over the past five years and was ranked No. 119 in the world before last week’s performance.
His tie for ninth-place finish this week was his best since the 2011 FedEx St. Jude Classic and could be an omen of good things to come in 2013.
The star of the show last week was Snedeker. He describes his latest stretch of golf as living in a “dream world.” Snedeker is playing better than anyone in the world right now and shows no signs of slowing down.
Snedeker is a complete player, and when his putting game is on, he is very hard to beat. As the defending FedEx Cup champion, he has proven he can perform when it matters most.
The only thing missing from Snedeker’s résumé is a major championship, which, if he continues playing the way he is, is well within his grasp.