Nashville’s Brandt Snedeker was tied at the top of the Farmers Insurance Open, a PGA tournament he had won twice, including last year’s stop at Torrey Pines. A back-to-back package would not be opened Sunday.
A dozen players were within two strokes when Snedeker teed off on a postcard day of the oceanside course north of San Diego.
The course was primed and pure. It promised to be a shootout. It was a how low can you go contest.
The Young Guns prevailed, leaving Snedeker in their rear view mirror.
A 22-year old slender Spaniard, Jon Rahm, leaned on two eagles on holes No. 13 and a 60-foot eagle putt on No. 18 to become the youngest international champion to win this tournament. It was also Rahm’s first win on the PGA Tour.
Snedeker, who has changed swing coaches recently, didn’t have the magic touch with his usually red-hot putter. He had to drain a putt on 18 to get a tie-9.
His face was lined with frustration. He has been experimenting with trying to draw his tee shots and the pressure he was under Sunday got the best of him. He had to scramble to make pars.
Sneds’ body language made it apparent his mood was in a defeatist tone . He is no longer the fresh-faced young pro golfer out of Vanderbilt who addressed a shot and pulled the trigger. He read the breaks on putts and wasted no time sending the ball on its way.
He is now married with two children. The years are flying past him. He is no longer in the under-30 pros.
He has made a great living playing golf. He has traveled the world, played on Ryder Cup teams and fared well in international competition.
Golfers are forever tweaking their swings, getting a tip here, there and everywhere.
Sneds is trying to draw his tee shots and long fairway woods and irons. He lines up left and depends on turning his body from right to left to produce the draw shots he can use in his bag of tricks.
When it works it gives him more distance to challenge the young pros who blow it past him off the tee.
Not to worry. Sneds has a lot of golf left in his career. Opponents respect Snedeker. He is someone whose personality is enviable. If you know him at all, you want to pull for him.
The Patrick Rodgers and the Jon Rahms will only welcome more clones to the Tour. At one point Sunday there were some half-dozen former U.S. Amateur champions in and around the leaderboard.
Sneds is 36 years old, chasing 37 in December. He loves the game, the competition. He realizes he is not alone. Time flies when you’re having fun.
It was Jon Rahms’ time Sunday. He will have more days like this. And what a day it was.
Joe Biddle is a WKRN.com sports columnist. He is also a member of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.