Brandt Snedeker started the week at Pebble Beach just trying to get into this year’s Masters.
He left the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am Sunday ready to begin thinking a lot bigger than that.
He can go ahead now and start plotting how to win at Augusta National.
With his seventh PGA Tour title, his second at Pebble Beach, Snedeker did more than earn an invitation to play the Masters for the eighth time in his career. He reminded us how his game fits there. His teary-eyed interview behind the 18th green Sunday with CBS’ Peter Kostis reminded us how emotional Snedeker got after giving himself a chance to win the Masters in the final round in 2008. He tied for third that year, kicking himself after closing with a 77. He tied for sixth there when Adam Scott won two years ago.
“It gets me back on track to where I feel I belong,” Snedeker said.
Snedeker’s healthy again, with his ribs, back and knee problems no longer derailing his ambition. His swing, subtle changes he made after moving to Butch Harmon last year, looks like it’s in a great place. Most importantly, he’s feeling good about his putting again, a stroke that ranks among the best in the game today.
“I feel like my game is good enough to go against anybody in the world, as long as I’m putting good,” Snedeker said last summer, back when he was playing through all those injuries.
Snedeker is putting “good” all right.
With a 22-under winning total, Snedeker set a tournament record in the PGA Tour event at Pebble Beach. He made one bogey all week, becoming just the fifth player in the last decade to make one bogey or fewer in a 72-hole PGA Tour event. He won by three shots, closing fiercely without a hiccup.
Notably, Snedeker said he felt Harmon’s presence working on more than his swing while closing out.
“He was in my ear all day, stuff he has told me the last six months, giving me the confidence to go out there and hit shots under pressure,” Snedeker said.
When Jimmy Walker made his giant leap as a player last season, he said Harmon’s influence on him went beyond the swing they work on together. He said Harmon helped build confidence he could and should win.
The fact that, unprompted, Snedeker brought up Harmon’s influence on him in Sunday’s victory makes you curious how Snedeker will fare his first time around Augusta National with Harmon’s voice in his head.