JOE BIDDLE: Masters green jacket eludes Snedeker again

Golf Generic

Brandt Snedeker won the FedEx Cup championship in 2012. It earned him more than $10 million and more financial peace than Dave Ramsey.

He has won seven tournaments on the PGA Tour. He was a member of the recent U.S. Ryder Cup team, a team that lost to the Europeans at Valhalla CC in Louisville.

The native Nashvillian became one of the PGA Tour’s young guns after he graduated from Vanderbilt and put some time in on the Nationwide Tour until he qualified for his Tour card.

He has pocketed more than $25 million since he turned pro. He has a nice house in Brentwood, a wife he met at Vanderbilt and two young children.

But there is an important part of Snedeker’s bucket list missing.

A green jacket.

In golf, he would rather have a win at Augusta National than any other tournament in the world.

A son of the south, Snedeker grew up with the history of the only major tournament that is played at the same course, each and every year.

He knows every blade of grass on the course. He has played Augusta National dozens of times in addition to official rounds of the tournament.

He has gotten close, having tied for third place in 2008. It was a tournament where Snedeker found himself tied for the lead after an eagle on No. 2 Sunday. But a bogey on the short par-4 third hole led to Snedeker’s free-fall that ended with 77 strokes and an emotional breakdown in the media room after the fatal final round.

Snedeker is not a quitter. He has overcome health problems, a change of coaches and having to win the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am earlier this year to qualify for a Masters invitation. He posted solid rounds of 64-67-67-67 for the win.

By missing the cut Friday at Augusta National, Snedeker never got a chance to finish the tournament. He is not getting old, but he is not getting any younger. He will be 35 when the Masters rolls around next year.

Despite missing a number of chances to advance in this year’s Masters, Snedeker was a shot short of making the cut.

Let’s face it, 21-year old Sunday’s leader Jordan Spieth has led for the first three rounds, putting up impressive rounds and running away from the field at a record 16-under.

Spieth takes a 4-stroke lead over runner-up Justin Rose, who is 12-under. Veteran Phil Mickelson is making a charge at minus-11 and Charley Hoffman is 10-under. That is six shots off the lead and Spieth shows no sign of folding.

Phil Mickelson had seven birdies to cut his margin behind Spieth to five shots, but even Mickelson knows Spieth will be hard to run down.

“I don’t think it matters who is close to him, because he’s playing very good golf and I think he’ll have a good round (Sunday),’’ Mickelson said.

“I’ve got a lot of work to do and I’m quite a ways back, but a good round and it could get fun.’’

Spieth was tied with Bubba Watson for the lead last year after three rounds. Spieth got off to a hot start, but Watson had a flurry of birdies going in to the back nine. He shot 8-under and beat Spieth by three shots, taking his second green jacket in the past three years home to Baghdad, Florida.

Spieth seems mature beyond his years. He attended Texas for two years, helping his Texas team win the NCAA Tournament as a sophomore. He then turned pro. He’s fared well for a college dropout.

Spieth’s game is solid. There are no apparent holes. His mental approach is sound. It seems this is Spieth’s week. But there have been a lot of unexpected surprises during the final rounds on these hallowed grounds.

Veterans point out that the Masters doesn’t start until the back nine on Sunday.

Jordan Spieth will have to overcome all challenges. He has what it takes.

Perhaps one year, Brandt Snedeker will enjoy a week such as Spieth has this year.

Snedeker’s game heavily depends on a hot putter. It has betrayed him under pressure in the Masters and other majors in the past.

It is something he has to learn to overcome the hard way.

Meanwhile the clock never quits running at Augusta National.

Contact wkrn.com Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at joebiddle11@gmail.com.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s