HUMBLE, Texas – If you want the ol’ good-news, bad-news cliche, here it is for Brandt Snedeker.
Good news: He is recovered from his rib injury. “Feel good, 100 percent. No issue.”
Bad news: He can’t pin the blame for a second-straight missed cut on the ribs.
So after shooting 1-under 71 to finish 36 holes at 1-over 145 at the Shell Houston Open, Snedeker was, well, he was finished with the business of competitive preparation for the Masters.
After missing the cut at TPC Redstone, Snedeker said he’ll go back home to Nashville, Tenn., for a few days, then head to Sea Island, Ga., and practice with colleagues and friends such as Zach Johnson and Lucas Glover, fellow Masters-bound competitors. Snedeker said the greens should be rolling “13 or 14 (on the Stimpmeter); they’ll have ’em cooking,” and he vowed to use the time to get ready for Augusta.
Not that he isn’t scratching his head regarding the way his fortunes have turned in 2013. Whereas early in the year he was on fire – a win, two seconds and a third in five starts – the last two weeks have left him frustrated.
“I’m playing really well, but getting nothing out of it,” said Snedeker, who less than two months ago won the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and was deemed the Masters favorite. That is no longer, not with Tiger Woods on fire. But just the mention of Augusta National brings a smile to his face and you get the feeling that Snedeker won’t be taken lightly.
“I feel prepared,” he said. “I know I respect (the course).”
Now if you wanted to chalk Snedeker’s missed cut at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last week to some rust, go ahead. He had sat out five weeks following his Feb. 10 victory at Pebble to rest his injured ribs. But Snedeker was ready for the Shell Houston Open; in fact, he loved the way he hit it, just not the way he putted it.
“Ebbs and flows of golf,” he said. “Everything (early in the season) was going right. I was making the key putt and hitting the key shot in a round. Now, it seems I’m not making the key putt and hitting one or two loose shots.
“I don’t know what it is.”
Certainly, Snedeker isn’t the only one who’ll be looking to turn things around quickly. Rory McIlroy did make the cut at TPC Redstone, but only by the slimmest of margins as he continues to show a roller-coaster game. And Hunter Mahan, the defending champ here, struggled mightily and missed his first cut of the year, hardly the sort of thing that provides momentum with Augusta on the doorstep.
But consistent with his buoyant personality, Snedeker didn’t seem overly concerned. He knows he’s the player we saw earlier in the year, not the guy who has left on Friday in each of the past two weeks.
“I look back on it and realize you have to give me credit,” Snedeker said. “I was playing really good. I was minimizing my mistakes and maximizing my rounds. I’m not minimizing my mistakes now or maximizing my round.
“But I’m not that far off. I’d be disappointed if I came out here hitting it like last week, real poorly. But I hit it really, really good, so I’m actually encouraged.”