Tears Turn to Smiles for Snedeker

By Associated PressApril 16, 2008, 4:00 pm
2007 Verizon HeritageHILTON HEAD, S.C. -- See what one good cry can do?
Since Brandt Snedeker let his emotions flow after losing his chance at the Masters last week, hes gained a full-blown following of well-wishers all with the same, simple message: Dry your eyes and hold your head up.
Snedeker was in contention Sunday at Augusta National, yet saw that slip away with a 5-over 77 that left him third behind champion Trevor Immelman and Tiger Woods.
After he walked off the course, Snedeker felt overcome by a week of drama and emotion. He couldnt stop the tears'an image that touched the hearts of most who watched.
Snedeker has gotten countless calls and messages of support from strangers and friends, including country music star Vince Gill, who counseled, Its OK. Life goes on.
With me crying on national television, I guess people realize how much I care, Snedeker said with his usual smile Wednesday.
Snedeker said several people came by at dinner Monday night, offering support. The galleries at Harbour Town also have boosted Snedekers morale.
Its been pretty phenomenal to see the number of people whove come out to put their arm around me and say, Its OK. Its going to be fine, Snedeker said.
The backings helped Snedeker regain focus for the $5.5 million Verizon Heritage, which starts Thursday.
I cannot thank them enough because it really makes me feel great about what I did there and kind of helps me heal, Snedeker said.
Plenty of healing took place in Wednesdays pro-am. Fans cheered Snedekers shots and offered their best wishes as he walked by.
Youre a champion. You gave us a thrill, said one gentleman who wore a sweatshirt from Snedekers alma mater, Vanderbilt.
Thank you very much, Snedeker replied.
Sometimes, Snedekers had to remind himself things arent so bad. After all, he earned $435,000 and moved over $1 million in money earned this season.
Im sitting there smiling, saying, I just finished third in the Masters. Nobody died. Were fine, Snedeker said.
The last three Verizon Heritage tournaments have produced first-time PGA TOUR winners: Peter Lonard in 2005, Aaron Baddeley in 2006 and Boo Weekley a year ago. Weekleys victory was particularly memorable, chipping in on the 71st and 72nd holes to beat Ernie Els by a shot.
It was Els seventh top-10 finish in nine appearances here. Els, ranked No. 3 in world, is among three golfers ranked in the top 10 playing Harbour Town the week after the Masters. No. 7 Justin Rose and No. 9 Jim Furyk are the others.
Also in the field is the 2007 Masters champ, Zach Johnson, who hadnt seen Snedekers emotional post-tournament interview but understood the feelings.
Its an emotional roller coaster there, Johnson said. Its one of those things where I think you put a lot effort into it, you put a lot of time into it, theres a lot of fatigue and it leads to Snedekers tears.
Snedeker remembered watching Len Mattiace break down in tears after losing the 2003 Masters to Mike Weir in a playoff, and wondered why a grown man would cry about losing a golf tournament.
Then Snedekers opportunity faded and, I realize why he wanted to cry, was crying like a girl whose prom date didnt show up, he said. Thats what I felt like.
Gill joked to Snedeker it was probably a bad sign for Nashvilles country music crowd to pay attention.
We write these kind of stories all the time, Gill told Snedeker, whos from Nashville. Were seeing one unfold and we still feel bad.
Snedeker thinks the waterworks are under control.
Still, Snedeker wasnt sure how hed react to more Masters questions this week and warned organizers, Make sure theres a big box of Kleenex right here in front of my microphone just to make sure.
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    Van Rooyen holes putt after ball-marker ruling

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:50 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Erik van Rooyen was surveying his 10-footer for par, trying to get a feel for the putt, when his putter slipped out of his hand and dropped onto his ball marker.

    The question, then, was whether that accident caused his coin to move.

    The rules official looked at various camera angles but none showed definitively whether his coin moved. The ruling was made to continue from where his coin was now positioned, with no penalty.

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    This was part of the recent rules changes, ensuring there is no penalty if the ball or ball maker is accidently moved by the player. The little-used rule drew attention in 2010, when Ian Poulter accidentally dropped his ball on his marker in Dubai and wound up losing more than $400,000 in bonus and prize money.

    After the delay to sort out his ruling Friday, van Rooyen steadied himself and made the putt for par, capping a day in which he shot even-par 71 and kept himself in the mix at The Open. He was at 4-under 138, just two shots off the clubhouse lead.

    “I wanted to get going and get this 10-footer to save par, but I think having maybe just a couple minutes to calm me down, and then I actually got a different read when I sat down and looked at it again,” he said. “Good putt. Happy to finish that way.”

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    Lyle birdies last hole in likely his final Open start

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:32 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – If this was Sandy Lyle’s final Open appearance, he went out in style.

    Playing on the final year of his automatic age exemption, the 60-year-old Scot buried a 30-foot birdie on the last hole. He missed the cut after shooting 9-over 151 over two rounds.

    “I was very light-footed,” he said. “I was on cloud nine walking down the 18th. To make birdie was extra special.”

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    Lyle, who also won the 1988 Masters, has missed the cut in his last eight majors, dating to 2014. He hasn’t been competitive in The Open since 1998, when he tied for 19th.

    To continue playing in The Open, Lyle needed to finish in the top 10 here at Carnoustie. He’d earn a future exemption by winning the Senior British Open.

    “More punishment,” he said.

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    DJ, Thomas miss cut at Open; No. 1 up for grabs

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 3:35 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The top two players in the world both missed the cut at The Open, creating the possibility of a shakeup at the top of the rankings by the end of the weekend.

    Dustin Johnson became the first world No. 1 since Luke Donald in 2011 to miss the cut at the year’s third major.

    Johnson played solidly for all but the closing stretch. Over two rounds, he was 6 over par on the last three holes. He finished at 6-over 148.

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    Thomas added to what’s been a surprisingly poor Open record. Just like last year, when he struggled in the second round in the rain at Royal Birkdale, Thomas slumped to a 77 on Friday at Carnoustie, a round that included three consecutive double bogeys on Nos. 6-8. He finished at 4-over 146.

    It’s Thomas' first missed cut since The Open last year. Indeed, in three Open appearances, he has two missed cuts and a tie for 53rd.  

    With Johnson and Thomas out of the mix, the No. 1 spot in the rankings is up for grabs this weekend.

    Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm all can reach No. 1 with a victory this week.

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    TT Postscript: Woods (71) makes cut, has work to do

    By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 3:32 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Here are a few things I think I think after Tiger Woods shot a second consecutive even-par 71 Friday in the second round. And yes, he made the cut:

    • Tiger said all 71s are not created equal. On Thursday, he made three birdies and three bogeys. On Friday, he made four birdie and four bogeys. Which round was better? The first. His theory is that, despite the rain, conditions were easier in the second round and there were more scoring opportunities. He didn't take advantage.

    • This is the first time since the 2013 Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes that Tiger shot par or better in each of the first two rounds of a major. That’s quite a long time ago.

    • Stat line for the day: 11 of 15 fairways, 13 of 18 greens, 32 total putts. Tiger hit one driver and two 3-woods on Thursday and four drivers on Friday, only one which found the fairway. An errant drive at the second led to him sniping his next shot into the gallery


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    • In his own words: “I could have cleaned up the round just a little bit. I got off to not exactly the best start, being 2 over through three, but got it back. The golf course was a little bit softer today, obviously. It rains, and we were able to get the ball down a little bit further, control the ball on the ground a little bit easier today, which was nice.”

    • At some point Tiger is going to have to be more aggressive. He will be quite a few shots off the lead by day’s end and he'll have a lot of ground to make up. Hitting irons off the tee is great for position golf, but it’s often leaving him more than 200 yards into the green. Not exactly a range for easy birdies.

    • Sure, it’s too soon to say Tiger can’t win a fourth claret jug, but with so many big names ahead of him on the leaderboard, it’s unlikely. Keep in mind that a top-six finish would guarantee him a spot in the WGC: Bridgestone Invitational in two weeks. At The Players, he stated that this was a big goal.

    • My Twitter account got suspended momentarily when Tiger was standing over a birdie putt on the 17th green. That was the most panicked I’ve been since Tiger was in contention at the Valspar.