Snedeker trying to buck FedEx Cup trend

By Ryan LavnerSeptember 12, 2013, 11:50 pm

LAKE FOREST, Ill. – The answer to the trivia question sounds like something out of Tim Finchem’s worst nightmare: 

How many FedEx Cup champions have advanced to the Tour Championship the year after they won?


For whatever reason – there are probably 10 million, from injury to poor form to complacency – no player has accomplished the feat.

Well, that’s true for three more days, at least.

That’s because Brandt Snedeker, the 2012 FedEx Cup champion, has not only positioned himself to return to Atlanta, but also to capture the biggest prize in golf – again. On Thursday, he shot a bogey-free, 8-under 63 to take a one-shot lead over Zach Johnson at the BMW Championship.

BMW Championship: Articles, videos and photos

“I realize these days don’t happen very often,” he said afterward, “so when I do have these days, I try to go as low as I possibly can because it does make a big difference when I look back on it.”

A big difference, indeed. Ninth in points entering the third leg of these playoffs, Snedeker is now projected to move to No. 1. Last year, he was No. 5 in the standings heading into East Lake, but any player inside the top five can win the FedEx Cup with a victory at the season finale.

In playoff parlance, Snedeker was one of golf’s top seeds in the regular season but was sputtering toward the playoffs. He was wearing down, fast, and it showed. That was partly because of his intense late-season schedule: Before the Tour went dark last week, he had played seven events in a row, and 11 of the past 14. In the five starts after his victory in Canada, he hadn’t finished better than 33rd with two missed cuts.

Snedeker, a two-time winner this season, admitted that it’s “always a constant struggle” to match up his sublime putting with solid ball-striking. But for one day, at least, they were in perfect harmony.

“I think it helped,” he said of the bye week. “Physically, I felt great. Mentally, it’s just good to get refreshed, kind of step away from the game, see what you’ve been doing poorly, come up with a new game plan for the last two weeks, and realize that I’ve still had a great year – and it can be an even better year depending on these last two weeks.”

It wasn’t an entirely relaxing week off, however. Snedeker spent four days in Alabama tending to his mother, Candy, who was hospitalized following complications from surgery. Snedeker reported that everything was OK on that front, and over the weekend he returned to work with swing coach Todd Anderson.

Neither could have seen this kind of performance coming with the flat stick.

After an inauspicious start with three scratchy pars, Snedeker ran off seven consecutive birdies at Conway Farms. He wasn’t picky, either, rolling in three putts from the fringe, and requiring only eight swipes during the first 10 holes. Six of those seven putts were between 5 and 18 feet, the outlier being the 37-footer from the back of the 17th green.

“Watching Snedeker pouring it in from all over the place is always fun,” said Steve Stricker, who shot 66 in the same group. “He’s probably the best putter I’ve ever seen. The guy makes it, or looks like he’s going to make it, from just about everywhere.”

Even Snedeker was surprised by his seven birdies in a row, the longest such streak on the 2013 Tour: “At that point I was just thinking, Get me on the green and I’ll make it.”

Now, it’s increasingly likely that Snedeker could ride his red-hot putter all the way to another FedEx Cup title.

Getty Images

Schauffele just fine being the underdog

By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 8:06 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following a breakthough season during which he won twice and collected the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Award, Xander Schauffele concedes his sophomore campaign has been less than stellar, but that could all change on Sunday at The Open.

Schauffele followed a second-round 66 with a 67 on Saturday to take a share of the 9-under-par lead with Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner.

Although he hasn’t won in 2018, he did finish runner-up at The Players and tied for sixth at the U.S. Open, two of the year’s toughest tests.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“Growing up, I always hit it well and played well in tough conditions,” Schauffele said. “I wasn't the guy to shoot 61. I was the guy to shoot like 70 when it was playing really hard.”

Sunday’s pairing could make things even more challenging when he’ll head out in the day’s final tee time with Spieth, the defending champion. But being the underdog in a pairing, like he was on Saturday alongside Rory McIlroy, is not a problem.

“All the guys I've talked to said, 'Live it up while you can, fly under the radar,'” he said. “Today I played in front of what you call Rory's crowd and guys were just yelling all the time, even while he's trying to putt, and he had to step off a few times. No one was yelling at me while I was putting. So I kind of enjoy just hanging back and relaxing.”

Getty Images

Open odds: Spieth 7/1 to win; Tiger, Rory 14/1

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 7:54 pm

Only 18 holes remain in the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie, and the man tied atop the leaderboard is the same man who captured the claret jug last year at Royal Birkdale.

So it’s little surprise that Jordan Spieth is the odds-on favorite (7/4) to win his fourth major entering Sunday’s final round.

Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner, both tied with Spieth at 9 under par, are next in line at 5/1 and 11/2 respectively. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, both four shots behind the leaders, are listed at 14/1.

Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Jordan Spieth: 7/4

Xander Schauffele: 5/1

Kevin Kisner: 11/2

Tiger Woods: 14/1

Francesco Molinari: 14/1

Rory McIlroy: 14/1

Kevin Chappell: 20/1

Tommy Fleetwood: 20/1

Alex Noren: 25/1

Zach Johnson: 30/1

Justin Rose: 30/1

Matt Kuchar: 40/1

Webb Simpson: 50/1

Adam Scott: 80/1

Tony Finau: 80/1

Charley Hoffman: 100/1

Austin Cook: 100/1

Getty Images

Wandering photographer costs McIlroy on 16

By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 7:44 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy bogeyed two of his last four holes Saturday to fall four shots off the lead at The Open.

One of those mistakes might not have entirely been his fault.

McIlroy missed a short putt on the par-3 16th after a photographer was “in a world all his own,” wandering around near the green, taking photos of the crowd and not paying attention to the action on the green.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“It’s fine,” McIlroy said after a third-round 70 put him at 5-under 208, four shots off the lead. “It’s one of those things that happens. There’s a lot of people out there, and it is what it is. It’s probably my fault, but I just didn’t regroup well after it happened.”

McIlroy also bogeyed the home hole, after driving into a fairway bunker, sending his second shot right of the green and failing to get up and down.

“I putted well,” he said. “I holed out when I needed to. I just need to make the birdies and try to limit the damage tomorrow.”

Getty Images

Kisner not expecting awkward night with Spieth

By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 7:33 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – It might get awkward in that star-studded rental house Saturday night.

Two of the three Open co-leaders, Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner, are sharing a house this week near Carnoustie. Though it’ll be late by the time they both get back to the house Saturday night, they’ll have plenty of time to kill Sunday morning, with their tee times not until nearly 3 p.m. local time.

“Everybody is probably going to get treatment and eating and trying to find a bed,” Kisner said. “I’m sure there’ll be some conversations. There always are. Everybody has a few horror stories or good laughs over something that happened out there. That will probably be the end of it.”

One thing they’re almost certain to discuss is the weather.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

After three days of mostly benign conditions, Sunday’s forecast calls for warm temperatures and wind gusts up to 25 mph.

“When you watch any TV, that’s all they talk about – how Sunday’s coming,” Kisner said. “It’s going to be a true test, and we’ll get to see really who’s hitting it the best and playing the best.”

Zach Johnson is also in the house – along with Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas, Jimmy Walker and Jason Dufner – and he rode to the course Saturday with Kisner, with whom he played in the final group, at 4 p.m. It’s unclear whether the co-leaders Sunday will have a similar arrangement.

This is the third year that Spieth and Co. have shared a house at The Open, though Kisner is a new addition to the group.

“It’s the end of the week,” Kisner said. “Everybody’s got a lot of stuff going on. Everybody’s going their separate ways tomorrow. Tomorrow morning we’ll all sit around and laugh on the couch and talk about why that guy’s making so many birdies.”