Pressure rides with every PGA Tour golfer and Brandt Snedeker is no exception. What’s uncanny is how he embraces it and excels.
How else to explain rising from last year’s Farmers Insurance Open cut line to win the event in horrible conditions.
Then there’s being down two holes at the Ryder Cup on its final afternoon, only to prevail that day and finish 3-0 in his matches as the U.S. downed Europe at Hazeltine National Golf Club.
But all that pales when Snedeker’s palms really get sweaty. Snedeker, who’ll defend his FIO title starting next week at the Torrey Pines Golf Course, recently had to knock back another dose of stress.
With two young kids, it was his chore on a recent vacation to ensure they stayed happy and out of harm’s way.
“I was ‘Mr. Mom’ and ‘Daddy Day Care,’’’ he said. “I’m just trying to keep them entertained.’’
Snedeker, an eight-time Tour winner, will do likewise with his sticks before FIO galleries swollen by Tiger Woods’ appearance. While Snedeker’s resume at Torrey Pines can’t match Woods’ — no one’s can — he is a two-time champion at the seaside track.
“I love putting on Poa annua,’’ said Sedecker, of the greens that make other golfers curse. “For whatever reason I love playing on those greens. I think if you roll it well, you can make some putts.
“I know some of the other guys don’t like them because they can be bumpy. But I grew up playing in Nashville and those greens weren’t always prefect.’’
Snedeker, despite a 2015-16 campaign that included five top-five showings, didn’t feel his game was pristine. The personable athlete with an unruly batch of blonde hair and an easy smile rebuilt his swing in the offseason.
“It’s going really well, although the scores don’t show it,’’ said Snedeker, who missed the recent Sony Open cut. “Tee to the green, I’m hitting it real well. But I’ve putted horribly. But I’m not too concerned about it right now. I’m hitting the ball as well as I have in a long time.’’
What seldom finds the rough is Snedeker’s outlook, although it has wavered of late. He recognizes the most important six inches on any course is between the ears, and that’s where Snedeker is focused.
“My attitude has been kind of off,’’ he said. “I’ve been too hard on myself and I’ve had to hit the reset button. That is my mindset coming into San Diego.’’
It was his want-to that allowed him to hoist last year’s winning hardware at Torrey, despite the rain falling not-so-gently among the pines. While others grumbled about the elements, Snedeker went to work.
“My attitude was great all day,’’ said Snedeker, who had to sit on his lead for a day as others finished. “I couldn’t wait to get out there and complete and shoot low scores. No matter how miserable it was, how bad the weather was, I made it a positive.’’
Snedeker did the same at the Ryder Cup and the result was joining a jubilant crowd all chanting “U-S-A!”
Now he returns to the local scene, with another anticipated damp FIO on the horizon. Snedeker is confident his game is far from all wet.
“It’s always good to be going someplace where you have played well,’’ he said.
It’s almost as much fun as hanging with his kids.
Follow Jay Paris on Twitter @jparis_sports. His book “Game of My Life Chargers” is available at bookstores and amazon.com.
Sportswriter Jay Paris has written his “Sports Talk” column since joining the Coast News in 2013.
Paris, a Cardiff resident, is a longtime Southern California writer, getting his start with the Orange County Register before coming to San Diego in 1992 to cover the Chargers.
He had the Chargers beat for more than two decades with Oceanside Blade-Citizen, the North County Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune, before being named a sports columnist with the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Paris has won numerous awards voted on by his peers in the Pro Football Writers of America. He has also been a staple on countless media platforms, everything from the KPBS to MLB Network and various radio outlets.
Paris is also the author of three books, with his latest one being, “Shohei Ohtani: The Amazing Story Of Baseball’s Two-Way Japanese Superstar.” He has also written “Game Of My Life Chargers” and “Game Of My Life Rams.”
He currently covers the NFL in Los Angeles for Forbes. com and is a contributor to USA Today Sports Weekly. Follow Jay on Twitter @jparis_sports