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January 26, 2007

Brandt Snedeker


JOE CHEMCYZ: A 2-under par 70 on the South Course today, 13-under par. Brandt, just talk about your day today and your position going if the weekend.
BRANDT SNEDEKER: I guess the best way to putt the day was pretty much the polar opposite of yesterday. I didn't drive it very well today at all. I don't know how many fairways I hit, but probably wasn't too many. But it was fun. I had a blast. You know, it was -- hit some great iron shots out there and the crowd was unbelievable. Felt like it was -- and nothing I've ever experienced before and they were rooting me on and it really kind of got me around the last five or six holes.

Q. How did you feel sleeping on the lead after that kind of round and what was your thought when you got to the first tee this morning, any more nerves than usual?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: I felt great. I got a great night's sleep, watched a movie last night, conked out, didn't have any problems with that at all. A little nerve-wracking this morning warming up, everybody coming up to me congratulating me about yesterday. It's a long week, so I didn't want to keep thinking about yesterday. Sure enough, I got on the first tee and blew one off the planet right and was on my way again to missing a bunch of fairways. But it was still, it was a good day. I scrambled well and shot a pretty good number considering how bad I hit the tee shot.

Q. 70 was a complete opposite from yesterday, but you still hit 70 on the South Course, does that give you more confidence going in knowing --
BRANDT SNEDEKER: Yeah, I drove it hopefully about as bad as I can drive it today. If I can just kind of tighten the driver up a little bit, I should be in pretty good shape going into Saturday and Sunday.
I love my position obviously. So if I can just kind of keep doing what I'm doing, I should be fine.

Q. You kept saying yesterday over and over that reality would set in today. Do you feel like it never did, and what do you think -- how do you think it happened where you're able to follow-up, maybe so many people expected -- somebody said explode or blow up and you didn't do that.
BRANDT SNEDEKER: To be honest with y'all, I have no good answer for that one. I could easily have shot 80 today as easily as I shot 70. So it was kind of a semi-bad day ball-striking-wise.
But the crowd, I cannot tell you how unbelievable it was walking down every fairway and having the crowd cheer me on, yelling my name, telling me, "Way to go." That makes a big difference to me. Some people, it doesn't for some reason. It gets me excited to be out there and puts a smile on my face and puts me in a good mood. Looking forward to the weekend. Hopefully they will keep doing it, won't start booing me and I should be okay.

Q. And your name, and they pronounced it how -- just kidding. Biggest crowd I figure you saw was probably at Augusta what was that like, and just being in front of that type of an audience, has that served you well in the two or three years that followed?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: It did. I guess Augusta is probably the next -- the most people I've ever played in front of in my life. And when I was there, I didn't really wake up until the back nine on the first day and couldn't feel my hands, I couldn't do anything.
I guess more than anything else, that helped prepare me for a day like today and a day like yesterday afternoon. I kind of knew what to expect. I think I'm a little bit more mature now than when I was 23 playing the Masters. So I hopefully know how to handle it now.
I shouldn't say I do know how to handle it, but I should know how to handle it. But it was unbelievable. I mean, I got goosebumps walking down every fairway it seemed like. The crowd was phenomenal.

Q. (Who did you play with at the Masters)?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: I got thrown in the fire. I had David Toms and Fred Couples the first two rounds. I was the youngest guy in the group. It was fine.

Q. (Who did you have on the weekend)?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: I had Tim Petrovic on Sunday and I cannot remember Saturday.

Q. If you couldn't remember the holes yesterday --
BRANDT SNEDEKER: I might remember more today than yesterday.

Q. What was the strangest thing you've heard on the course, people mispronouncing your name?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: Today on 15, I hit my first fairway on the back nine, and a guy said, "I finally won a dollar."
So I guess they were betting on me missing a fairway, so he's probably broke, I only had it four fairways. Wasn't a smart bet, needless to say.

Q. Hitting four fairways, you only hit four yesterday but did you see the differences in the two courses and what changes when you miss that many fairways on the South compared to the North?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: Definitely. You miss them on the North and you're hitting sand wedge or wedge into most of the greens and miss them on the South and you're hitting 3- or 4-irons built for a wedge green. All of those greens are so undulated and they are starting to firm up and a little bit of wind today kind of made them firm up even more.
So the next two days, it's going to be tough. I'm definitely going to have to start playing out of the fairway. I birdied two or three of the holes I hit the fairway on because you're able to control the ball out of the fairway.

Q. (About the crowd).
BRANDT SNEDEKER: Definitely. I made a lot of fans out there today. Hitting them right over the top of their head, thanks God I didn't hit anybody today that was nice.

Q. Can you talk about the 40-foot putt on the 4th, and you showed emotion there, why was that?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: That was exactly what I needed to get my day going. That putt went in, I pulled it a little bit; it was hopping up the whole way up the hill and somehow found the bottom of the hole. Kind of settled me down, got me going in the right direction instead of the wrong direction and it was playing brutally tough hole today. I hit a great iron shot just to get it in the air, and I felt like I was stealing one on that hole. Any time you can do that out here, you run to the next tee box and put it in the ground before they can say you didn't.

Q. Tiger mentioned some of the putts around ten feet today were kind of iffy; you felt the same way?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: Yeah, the greens, by the time we get around to them, they get a little spiked up and they got some poa annua on them, so they grow irregularly a little bit.
That's part of the greens. If you hit a really good putt, it's going to go in. It kind of amplifies when you don't hit a great putt, when you catch one a little not solid. That's the rub of the greens. Sometimes you'll hit a great putt that doesn't go in. So sometimes you have to take the good with the bad.

Q. Getting back to the crowd with 18, your ovation was as loud as Tiger or anybody coming up 18.
BRANDT SNEDEKER: I'm guessing they love a front-runner because that's the only thing I can say. I don't know why they cheer for me like that. But it was phenomenal, probably the biggest highlight of my life so far, seeing how many people cheering for me and smiling at me and telling me "way to go." I can't put it into words. It was phenomenal. I can't thank them enough for doing that.

Q. What was the movie last night and in the last 24 hours, has it occurred to you how much your life is changing or could change if you go onto win this thing?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: I watched "The Departed" last night, which was phenomenal, it was unbelievable, a little grotesque, but it was great.
It hit me this morning, I was talking to people on the phone this morning and saw myself on ESPN which has never happened before. That was kind of surreal. I had to kind of pinch myself and say I looked like an idiot on TV when I was giving the interview.
But it was get to go that point now -- I don't think my life is going to change. It's not going to change who I am. I'm just having fun out here and I can continue to do that and I appreciate the fans coming out and cheering me the way they have. They are paying money to come out here and watch me play a game. I certainly wouldn't come out and watch me today because it was ugly. I would rather go watch Tiger, but they were watching me. I appreciate it.

Q. Yesterday you said you had bad feelings for today which makes you probably a pretty bad forecaster. What are your feelings going into the weekend?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: I feel good. If I can get my driver under control, I like my chances. Any time you're going into a weekend, and you're starting -- I don't know what my lead is, but I've got a couple of shots. I think if you ask Tiger, any golfer, it's just that much more aggressive you can play. I certainly could not ask to be a better position.
So there's nothing but positives being where I am. I'm going to enjoy it. How many times do you get to play in the last group on the weekend of a PGA TOUR event? It's hopefully not my last, but I'll try to enjoy it like it is.

Q. People love to root for Tiger and Phil, you talk nicely about how the fans have been for you but a little bit surprised that you're not a hometown boy or anything, that in one day people would jump on your bandwagon, do you think that has to do with the score or how you reacted yesterday or what kind of person you are or what you -- what kind of vibe you give?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: You have no earthly idea. I think if you found out the answer to that question, a lot of guys out here would pay a lot of money to figure that out because I don't know. I was just reacting the way they were to me. That's how I was brought up; if somebody smiled at me, I smiled back. My dad would kick my butt to be honest with you if did I hadn't done that.
They were just so nice to me all day yesterday I could not help but smile back and enjoy every minute of it. As long as they keep doing it, I'll keep smiling back and having a great time. It's just kind of a surreal feeling to be out there and having those people cheer me on.

Q. Guys on the Nationwide Tour seem to be coming on ready to win, now. How much better has that TOUR gotten and is there a big stretch between that and the PGA?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: I think anybody who played on the Nationwide Tour is going to tell you that it is the second best tour in the world. I think there's a big argument about that.
But with the amount of success those guys are having off that tour, I think guys like Charley Hoffman, Camilo, Eric Axley winning, Nathan Green, there are a bunch of guys coming off that tour that can play and win on the PGA TOUR. It just shows you, that's a fine line between the Nationwide and PGA TOUR. Every time we play good out here, hope we give confidence to the Nationwide Tour guys that they can come out here and do the same.

Q. Can you talk about walking down the 18th fairway, did you allow yourself to think about, this is what it must feel like to be winning this tournament on Sunday; walking up did it feel like that to you?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: I thought that's what it felt like to be Tiger Woods, to see those people out there cheering you on. And for somebody like me who they don't have a clue in the world who I am, it's an unbelievable feeling.
It's something I can't explain to y'all. My arm hair is standing up, my neck hair is standing up. They were just going crazy. It was awesome. It is best experience of my golfing life so far, having those people cheer me like that.
Hopefully they will keep doing it and I'll give them something to cheer about and it will be a fun weekend.

Q. (About playing in front of friends).
BRANDT SNEDEKER: I think probably at the Nationwide Tour Championship I was playing well second round, tied for the lead I had a bunch of friends and family in town.
I guess when I won in Minnesota last year, they had a bunch of fans out there on the last day and they adopted me the same way as they have here, just obviously not on as grand a scale. It was a great feeling to have people out there looking at you and cheering you on. I've never experienced anything close to this in my life. I don't know how many people on that last fairway, but I would guess 5,000 people maybe and they were all looking at me and cheering. That's a surreal feeling. I guess people, guys out here have felt that and I never have. Rookie stars going through my head, but it was awesome.
JOE CHEMCYZ: Go through your score card.
BRANDT SNEDEKER: No. 3, I hit a 6-iron, it was playing about -- I don't know watt card said, 205 but it was down the hill about 15 yards and hit a great shot right of the pin and holed down about 40 feet. I just watched Nick Watney on the hole before me fly it over the hole and go in the water. A scary shot wind blowing left-to-right but made a long putt, 40-footer and got my juices flowing. I was ready to go.
Made a couple really good saves on the next two holes, some five, six-foot par putts that really kept the round going. Then I hit a great 3-iron in on number -- par 5, I believe it's six or seven from about 250 and smoked it at the front pin, hit it about ten feet, hit a great putt. I thought I made eagle but curved off and tapped in for birdie which it's probably nice to have those kind of birdies.
I bogeyed, made a mess of No. 7, dogleg right. Again missed the fairway. Hit a bad second shot, chipped it 25 feet and just made a mess of it, made bogey. But it could have been much worse. It could have been a double just as easily.
My next birdie was on 12. Hit a great -- one of the few fairways thought I hit that actually rolled in the rough. So it was a plus going into that. Hit a great 4-iron from 210 yards to about five feet, probably the best shot I hit all day. Hit a putt that curled in the right edge and got my momentum going again.
I bogeyed 14. Just pulled one of my better tee shots, actually took a bad bounce that went in the bunker. Fatted it out of the bunker, didn't hit a good shot out of 15, one of the few times where the guy won the dollar on the back nine, hit a 7-iron in there about 20 feet and just drained it right in the middle, great putt, probably best stroke all day.

Q. You keep on talking about your dad; is he here?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: He's not. He's at home watching on TV probably more nervous than I will ever be. He's sweating it out at home.

Q. Did you talk to him? What did he say?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: I talked to him last night. He's giddy as a school girl on cloud nine, could not be happier, just loving every minute of it. He and my mom are watching it on TV, they were watching the replay last night and I don't get the GOLF CHANNEL so I didn't see any of it. They said, give me play-by-play, and it's like, I was out there -- (laughter).
It was a good experience. They are excited and it's great to see them that fired up.

Q. What are their names?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: Larry and Candy. Staying at Hampton Inn. I'm not going to be Will MacKenzie and give you the room number. (Laughter.

Q. That's the Chris Riley Hampton Inn, by the way. I was talking to JD yesterday and he was saying that your dad gets so nervous at tournaments, you have to turn his back when you're putting. Somebody will tell him --
BRANDT SNEDEKER: I don't know what it is. I don't know if I'm just that scary to watch play golf, if I'm that close to making a disaster on every hole or what it is. I don't think he's ever seen me hit a putt in competition. I don't think he even watches it on TV. I think he turns away on TV, too.

Q. Does he have to leave the room when you're putting?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: I don't know what he does when he's watching. He's superstitious like that, so I would imagine he would.

Q. Did he watch your post press conference and did he say anything about the "Snot-licker" comment from yesterday?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: No, I haven't gotten any grief from the family yet, so doing okay there.

Q. (Have you received a lot of calls from people)?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: My voicemail is full after yesterday, 30-something messages I had to go through. That's a great problem to have. I don't mind answering calls, calling people back. People are catching on and texting me. It's great people care about you and want you to do well, so I don't mind doing it at all.
JOE CHEMCYZ: Brandt, thank you, play well this weekend.

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