Snedeker proves his talent goes beyond his clubs
Sunday, May 12, 2013
Brandt Snedeker went to Casares, Spain, for the recent Volvo World Match Play Championship. Problem is, his clubs went to Madrid.
So Snedeker, with his clubs missing in action, started his first-round match with 10 borrowed and ill-assorted clubs. His 5-and-4 thrashing of Thomas Bjorn was a tribute to Snedeker’s ability to play this difficult game.
A Bridgestone staff player, Snedeker was able to play with his regular Bridgestone B330 ball, but the clubs were a mismatch.
“He (Bjorn) was in a no-win situation,” Snedeker said by phone. “If he wins, they say he took advantage of a guy who didn’t have his own clubs. If he loses, they say he couldn’t even beat a guy with borrowed clubs.”
Regardless, Snedeker was 3-up after three holes and 4-up after five holes. Bjorn helped his opponent greatly by bogeying the first three holes.
Said Snedeker, who bought a TaylorMade Corza Ghost putter from the pro shop, “First four holes, I made four putts in the 10-foot range.”
In addition to the putter, here was the rest of his replacement set: driver, 56-degree sand wedge, 3-iron through pitching wedge, although he removed the 7-iron (read more to find out why). He had no lob wedge, no fairway wood, no hybrid.
The driver was a TaylorMade R11S (9-degree) he borrowed from fellow player John Senden. It was one of two backup drivers in Senden’s arsenal, and the specs were very close to those of the TaylorMade RBZ driver (9) Snedeker had been using.
“I will tell you that he didn’t get the driver back,” Snedeker reported. “I kept it, and I’m using it. It has a (Fujikura) Motore Speeder shaft, and I’ve played Motore shafts since college.”
What Snedeker missed the most was his set of trusty Bridgestone J40 Cavity Back irons with Aerotech SteelFiber shafts. These shafts, with a graphite core and outer layer of steel fiber, officially are classified as graphite. The shafts also are played by another Bridgestone staff member, Matt Kuchar.
No matter, because Snedeker proved to observers and to himself that he could play with replacement irons that didn’t really fit (among other factors, they were three-quarters of an inch too short).
“It’s really good to know that I could play well with all these clubs that weren’t mine,” he said. “There’s a lesson there for me and, I think, for lots of other (amateur) golfers. You end up depending on yourself and your own game. The emphasis gets away from the clubs.”
There was a reason Snedeker played with 10 clubs, four short of the 14-club limit. He knew his clubs might be delivered during the match, and he knew, under the Rules of Golf, he could add four clubs to the 10 he carried.
Indeed, the clubs showed up as he played the 4th hole, and he selected his putter, lob wedge, 3-wood and 19-degree hybrid to add to his makeshift set. However, he putted for the duration of the match with the substitute putter.
In his second round match, Snedeker used his normal 14 clubs. He advanced to the quarterfinals, where he lost 4-and-3 to eventual champion Nicolas Colsaerts.
More Snedeker observations from the Volvo World Match Play:
• About his decision to play without a 7-iron, he explained, “I took it out because I figured there were no 7-iron shots,” a comment that mimicked a famous quote from Ben Hogan at Merion Golf Club.
• Playing with just a 56-degree wedge, he said, “I decided to do a Tom Watson.” Of the few touring pros who have declined to use a lob wedge, Watson is the most famous.
• On why it took two days to locate his missing clubs: “The people in Spain seem to march to a different drummer. It just wasn’t a priority for them.”
• On the shoes he wore in his first-round match: “They were green Adidas sneakers, the same ones I wore on the flight over. They looked a little strange on the golf course.” Snedeker has had a footwear contract with Adidas throughout his seven-year pro career.
• On whether he will go back: “Absolutely. I had a great time. I’d do it in a heartbeat.”
Maybe next time he will buy a seat for his golf bag and clubs.