Imagining an injury-free season for Snedeker

By Rex HoggardDecember 11, 2013, 4:53 pm

On a cold and rainy Atlanta morning Brandt Snedeker proves that his patience, or maybe it’s his perspective, remains even if his health continues to be a moving target.

Snedeker is on his way to a commercial shoot when the inevitable question arrives – How are you feeling?

“My knee is almost to 100 percent . . . no pain,” he allows in a relaxed, if not rehearsed, tone.

For the six-time PGA Tour winner questions about his health have become part of the process, as ubiquitous as the daily injections of Forteo he’s been enduring for the last nine months.

His most recent dust up with his doctors occurred early last month when he landed awkwardly jumping off a Segway during a corporate outing in China and was diagnosed with a strained ACL and bruised tibia in his left knee.

The knee injury, which did not require surgery, forced Snedeker to withdraw from the Australian PGA and last week’s Northwestern Mutual World Challenge but at “almost 100 percent” he left no ambiguity when asked if he’d be ready for the 2014 opener in Maui.

“Oh yeah,” he says. “I’ve spent enough time in doctor’s offices. For the first time in my career I’m doing everything I can to be fit and play a full season.”

Avoiding the DL for an entire calendar, an afterthought for most players, lingers in the cold December air for a long moment as one recalls Snedeker’s frequent trips in and out of MRI machines and operating rooms throughout his career.

“Sneds” earned his Tour card in 2006 after finishing ninth on the Tour money list despite missing more than a month after breaking his collarbone when he tripped over a tree root.

In ’09, he missed more than two months with a rib injury; underwent left-hip surgery to repair his labrum in ’10 and was back in the Vail, Colo., clinic less than a year later for the same procedure on his right hip. Early last year, doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., informed him he was suffering from a condition called low bone turnover.

This diagnoses lead to the daily Forteo injections in his stomach beginning in March. Forteo is an anabolic osteoporosis treatment designed to increase bone mineral density.

Doctors told Snedeker it would take about two years for the Forteo to make a difference and recent checkups have indicated there has been a “slight increase (in his bone density), which is good,” he says.

All of which made his Segway scare somehow seem less threatening. In a curious twist, the injury forced him to rest and rehab instead of spending countless hours on the practice tee.

Although Snedeker and swing coach Todd Anderson have invested a good amount of time honing his prolific action, few players not named Vijay Singh spend as much energy in pursuit of perfection.

“Competing for Brandt is so physically demanding and it takes its toll. We’re trying to get him on a pitch count and get him on a hitting regimen,” says Snedeker’s trainer Randy Myers. “You see it in every sport. Certain guys have a propensity to overwork and he does that.”

This most recent medical misstep, however, has tempered that natural instinct and required Snedeker to spend more time in the gym than at the golf course.

The 33-year-old father of two has also been forced to temper his “type A” ways. Life has a tendency to do that.

“Last year near the end he was disciplined making sure he got his rest,” Myers says. “He’s always been the guy who is trying to prove something.”

There is also something to be said for Snedeker’s perspective after 2013. Following a scorching start, the emotional plateau of the Masters – where he began the final round tied for the lead but struggled to a closing 75 on Sunday – was followed by a less than stellar finish in the FedEx Cup playoffs.

To Snedeker, the ebb and flow of 2013 is a fitting metaphor for his career, periods of brilliance framed largely by injury-induced lulls. For a player who is prone to self-examination, however, that assessment is neither critical nor contrived.

“It was the best season of my career,” says Snedeker of his second consecutive two-win campaign. “It was a learning season to find my way back. It’s the way golf goes. I’m going to have ups and downs in my career.”

So the question remains, imagine what Snedeker – perhaps the hottest player on the planet through the first month and a half of last season (he finished third, T-23, runner-up, runner-up and won in his first five events of 2013) – could accomplish if he could stay clear of the doctor’s office?

“It would be amazing if I could make it through a whole season without an injury,” he admits. “I would love to play the right schedule for me and see what I could do.”

That prospect warms the December chill – no doctors, no DL. Amazing indeed.

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.