5 Improvements Brandt Snedeker Must Make Before Winning a Major

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistMarch 1, 2013

5 Improvements Brandt Snedeker Must Make Before Winning a Major

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    Brandt Snedeker is one of the best golfers in the world.

    All you have to do is look at the 2013 PGA tour leaders to know that he is a formidable presence. He already has four top 10 finishes and one victory as the calendar moves into March.

    Snedeker served notice earlier this year when he had back-to-back second-place finishes behind Tiger Woods at Torrey Pines and Phil Mickelson at Phoenix before winning the following week at Pebble Beach.

    He became the first PGA golfer to record back-to-back runner-up finishes prior to winning a championship in 23 years.

    Prior to his win at Pebble, Snedeker both lauded his game and criticized it.

    "I'm playing great right now," he told the Detroit News. "I'm as high as I've ever been in the world ranking and that kind of stuff, but you have to win tournaments to validate that. I haven't done it."

    Snedeker has shown he knows how to contend and that he can win important tournaments.

    But there are changes that he needs to make in order to come home with his first major in 2013.

Fierce Competitor

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    There's little doubt that Brandt Snedeker is a nice guy.

    The Nashville, Tenn. native has a quick smile and a welcoming nature. He makes those around him feel comfortable and his warmth is a part of his personality.

    That's a good thing outside of the golf course.

    It's not necessarily a bad thing on the golf course. However, during competition, golfers have to get focused and determined. In some cases, it means turning the friendliness down a notch or two.

    You've certainly seen it with Tiger Woods and many other great golfers.

    Snedeker may have that gene, but he keeps it covered up. If he is going to win a major, he has to let his fierce determination take over and lead him.

    He may have to become a little less accommodating and friendly as the tournament rages on if he wants to win a major.

Close Is Not Good Enough

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    Brandt Snedeker wants to win his first major.

    That means he must take advantage of his opportunities when he has them.

    He came close in the 2008 Masters when he tied for third. He also matched that performance in last year's British Open.

    He got close, but he didn't finish the job.

    Snedeker had the lead at the halfway point of the British Open last year, but he did not play his best golf in the final two rounds. After shooting a scintillating 66 and 64 in the first two rounds, Snedeker shot a pedestrian 73 and 74 in the final two rounds.

    If Snedeker is going to win a major, his focus and play must become sharper during the most critical parts of the tournament.

Driving Distance

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    Brandt Snedeker is not one of the tour's big hitters.

    That's a given and that's not going to change. No matter what he does on the strength and conditioning front or the practice tee, Snedeker is not going to move into the top 50 in driving distance.

    However, he can do better than 278.3 yards he is averaging on the tour this year. That ranks 154th, which is somewhat problematic.

    When your competitors consistently out-drive you by 10 yards or more, that can be difficult to make up in a major.

    Last year, Snedeker averaged better than 288 yards per drive. That ranked 108th and is more indicative of what Snedeker can do off the tee.

    That figure still puts him at a disadvantage, but not quite as much as he has been at this season.

Greens in Regulation

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    Brandt Snedeker is considered one of the finest putters on the tour.

    He is respected for his ability to roll in a long one and the stats bear out his talent as well. He gained more strokes through putting than any other golfer on the tour last year.

    But he was often forced to scramble with his putting because he did not hit enough greens in regulation.

    Last year, Snedeker ranked 126th as he hit 63.75 percent of his greens in regulation.

    Snedeker won just under $5 million on the tour last year and finished 19th in FedEx points. If he had hit a few more greens in regulation, both of those figures could have been quite a bit higher.

Straighten out the Drive

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    It's fair to say that Brandt Snedeker's game gets better the closer he gets to the hole.

    He is a sensational putter and he makes all the pitches and chip shots with aplomb. He is excellent with the short irons.

    No golfer hits all his drives in the fairway and that includes Snedeker. He has a greater tendency to drive the ball into the right rough. According to PGATour.com, 16.33 percent of Snedeker's drives end up in the right rough.

    That does not compare well with his peers. Snedeker ranks 128th in drives that end up in the right rough and that's too high of a percentage when you are playing the tough courses that are home to the majors.


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