How Far Away Is Brandt Snedeker's First Major Victory?
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Brandt Snedeker will win a major. In fact, his overall game is good enough to give him a chance at taking home all four.
A five-time winner on the PGA Tour in his career, Snedeker has five top-10 finishes in majors already.
Twice, he has finished tied for third. The first time was at the 2008 Masters, and he matched that last year at the Open Championship.
Snedeker does two things very well.
He can find the fairway off the tee and he can get his approaches on greens. In 2013, his 69.39 percent of fairways hit and 69.84 percent of greens are good for 10th and 13th, respectively, on tour.
However, he is very short off the tee. His average drive of 278.7 is 147th best this year.
Length, on the other hand, is not everything it is cracked up to be in a major. Accuracy is and—because he is so accurate—even with a lower iron in his hand, he has a better chance of getting in position to make two-putt pars.
Par is never a bad score on any hole at any major.
Whenever that magic week happens for Snedeker, however, the club that will make him a major champion will be his putter.
He does fine on fast greens, as he has a pair of top 10s at Augusta. If he gets into that zone where he can make everything—like he did last year at the Open Championship—he can putt his way to a low round and has the game to hold that score the rest of the championship.
When Snedeker upset Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy last year to win the FedEx Cup at the Tour Championship, he did it by hitting more than two-thirds of fairways and greens while playing the par-fours at 10-under.
If and when he breaks through, he will need to come close to hitting the same percentage of fairways and greens and be selectively aggressive enough to leave himself birdie chances on those par-four holes.
As to how far away he is to pulling this off, look no further than the next major, the United States Open at Merion.
Merion is a short precision course that plays right into his strength of finding and placing tee shots on the fairway. His best success this year has been at similar courses such as TPC Sawgrass, Riviera and his win at Pebble Beach.
Snedeker is not a player who is going to go out and shoot a low score on a Thursday and run away from the start. He is a player who will establish himself in a good position early and pounce.
If not Merion, then Augusta would be his next best chance. Snedeker has had success making putts on those lightning-fast greens and is long enough off the tee to put himself into good scoring position on all four par-fives.
His day is coming. He has all the skill to do it. It is just a question of when, not if.
*Statistics courtesy of PGATour.com and are current as of May 20, 2013
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