Being from Nashville, Tenn., Brandt Snedker admits that defending his 2013 RBC Canadian Open championship at Royal Montreal will be a different experience than what he’s used to, but that’s part of what makes it intriguing.
“Having my caddie there, his family’s there, I feel like it’s a home event for me, so I get lots of good memories and good vibes out (of Canada). I love being in Canada. It’s a fun place to be. Especially in the summer, it’s so pretty,” said Snedeker.
“Montreal this year will be no different. I can’t wait to get to see all the great sights and history that they have there to offer and play a great golf course,” he said.
“I have not been to Montreal before, so I’m very excited about seeing the city. I’ve heard nothing but great things about it and heard it’s one of the best cities in North America, so I’m actually trying to talk my wife into meeting me up there and making a great week out of it,” he added.
Snedeker says he only gets to play for a few national championships per year, including the upcoming U.S. Open, but winning at Glen Abbey last year had special meaning for him despite his American roots.
After winning the RBC Canadian Open last year, Snedeker even made a trip to Oshawa, Ont., the home town of Scott Vail, his caddie of eight years. Snedeker says Vail has not only been an important part of his success, but also a good friend, which made last year’s win so special.
“He always told me stories of him growing up and going to the tournament every year. That’s how he got the passion to want to be a caddie was going out there to watch the golf every year,” said Snedeker.
“It was his national open. It’s a big deal to every Canadian. It’s their open and I felt a lot of pressure last year on Sunday, trying to pull it out for him,” he added.
“He’s been a great friend to me for a lot of years and a huge part of the reason why I’ve been so successful on the PGA Tour and it was really cool to have that moment on 18 with him and taking that Canadian flag off the pin on No. 18,” he said.
Whether Snedeker can repeat that special moment this year at Royal Montreal remains to be seen. So far, it has been less than a vintage year for Snedker.
A tie for eighth at the Arnold Palmer Invitational is highest finish and the only top-10 of the season for the six-time PGA Tour winner.
“My golf game’s not quite where I want it, but it’s getting close and I know I’ve got about a month before I get up there,” he said.
Saying that his game is close without having the results to show for it is not a line that’s exclusive to Snedeker. You’re liable to hear it from about any tour player at some point along the way.
In 2012, for example, Snedker opened the season with a tie for eighth at the Humana Challenge, then won the Farmers Insurance Open in a playoff. With the exception of a T9 at Doral, the next 11 tournaments were nothing to write home about.
He tied for third at the British Open, then had another month of less-than-impressive finishes. Then, he caught fire at the right time, beginning with a second-place finish at the Barclays and a sixth at the Deutsche Bank Championship.
He tied for 37th at the BMW Championship, but won the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup, two prestigious titles that earned him a cool payday of over $11-million. What he also put in the bank was the knowledge that his game and his results can turn around quickly.
“I fully understand what kind of golfer I am,” said Snedeker.
“I kind of go through peaks and valleys. I’m not a very consistent player. I have great runs, then I struggle, then I try to find my way back,” he said.
“Understanding that, you’ve got to kind of ride the rough patches out, stay positive and realize you’re going to have that great stretch again. You just don’t know when it’s going to happen,” he added.
“I feel like I’ve ridden the roughest part of it out. I feel like I’m playing a lot better now. I feel like my hot stretch should be coming sometime soon,” said Snedeker.
“I wish I could say I’m going to play well every week, all year around, but that’s not the reality of the game of golf,” he said.
“You’ve got to have the mental fortitude to kind of fight through it when things aren’t going well and be ready for when you do start playing well, take advantage of it and shoot some low numbers and win some tournaments,” he added.
It did happen at Glen Abbey a year ago when second round leader Hunter Mahan withdrew from the tournament to be on hand for the birth of his daughter.
Then, in the final round, Dustin Johnson was tied for the lead when he took a triple bogey on the 17th hole.
“Obviously, any time you win, you’re going to have breaks that go your way. Last year was no exception,” said Snedeker.
“I had a couple of great things happen to me that gave me a chance to win a golf tournament and then, when I had a chance, I took advantage of it. It’s a double-edged sword and you’ve got to be able to take advantage of it when you do have that chance,” he said.