Brandt Snedeker is the hottest player in professional golf right now, and after opening his 2013 PGA Tour season with top-three finishes in four of the five events he has entered thus far—including a win at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro Am earlier this month—he is unquestionably one of the favorites heading into the year's first major, the Masters Tournament.
Of course, Snedeker isn't really surprising anyone with his outstanding play this year. He was the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year in 2007 and after a few seasons of inconsistent play, "Sneds" impressed with two victories and seven top-10 finishes last year, enough to earn him nearly $5 million in prize money, the FedExCup title, a top-10 World Golf Ranking and a spot on the Ryder Cup squad.
Yes, Brandt Snedeker has arrived.
Snedeker now has five victories on the PGA Tour and even though he has yet to win his first major championship, he has proven he can play well in the biggest events. Snedeker has four career top-10s in the majors, including a T-3 finish at the Open Championship last year. He also has three top-20s at the Masters, highlighted by a T-3 finish in 2008 that rendered him an emotional mess following his final round. It was an experience that strengthened Snedeker and motivated him for the future.
"To be here and have a chance to win my first major, and not pull it out but hopefully learn a lot about the process—I found out a lot about myself today, so we'll keep working," a tearful Snedeker said following a final round 77 that left him four shots behind eventual winner Trevor Immelman.
That process has taken Snedeker all the way to the No. 4 spot in the Official World Golf Ranking and it has given him the confidence to more clearly define his goals.
"I would love to be known as the best American golfer," Snedeker said following his recent victory at Pebble Beach. "I've got a long way to go to do that, but this is a great start to the year. This is what I'm capable of, so I'm looking forward to putting more on display the rest of the year."
Snedeker is certainly capable of winning a major this year. He knows it. And his peers know it.
So what are his chances of winning the Masters six weeks from now? I'd say better than most.
Snedeker is battle-tested at Augusta National. He knows precisely what it takes to win there and most importantly, he has the game to succeed on those hallowed grounds. Snedeker is also playing the best golf of his still blossoming career and as long as he can stay healthy—he has struggled with rib injuries—it's the next logical step for one of the best players in the game right now.