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July 20, 2012

Brandt Snedeker


MIKE WOODCOCK:¬† Good afternoon, everyone.¬† We have Brandt Snedeker with us this afternoon.¬† Brandt's matched the lowest 36‑hole total here at the Open with 130 and fantastic 6‑under par 64 today.¬† Brandt, you must be very excited, a fantastic round.
BRANDT SNEDEKER:  Yeah, I'm sure everybody in this room is in about as much shock as I am right now.  But I feel good.  I played honestly pretty well the first two days.  No bogeys around here is getting some good breaks and playing some pretty good golf.  My mantra all week has been to get the ball on the greens as fast as possible.  Once I'm on there I have a pretty good hand for the speed of the greens and every.  Just going to try and keep doing that over the weekend.

Q.  I brought up yesterday that you weren't too thrilled about what's gone on in this event the last few times you've been here.

Q.  Obviously things are different, you're thinking of a duel citizenship now.  What was your mindset coming in from the momentum of yesterday?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:  Try to keep it going.  I had a pretty fortunate tee time to say the least, to be able to play yesterday afternoon with not a lot of wind and to be able to get out there again this morning with some good momentum and not a lot of wind today, either.  So if you're putting it good like I have been for the last couple of weeks, you feel you can play pretty well if you can just drive it and play.
And I've gotten fortunate for when I haven't driven it in play I've been able to get up around the greens this week.¬† And my iron play has beenpretty ‑‑ I call it boring golf.¬† I'm shooting away from every pin, trying to put it 25, 30 feet away and hopefully make some putts, which I've done the first two days and hopefully plan on doing the next few days.

Q.¬† How did you birdie the 6th hole, and do you feel like that kick‑started your round?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:¬† Yeah, I got very fortunate there, hit a big pull‑hook off the tee and then hit a 7‑iron out of kind of a flier lie to about 45 feet.¬† A putt, just trying to get close, but like I said, when you're putting it good, when you're trying to get close, some of them fall in.¬† That one was one that kind of the last 10 feet I thought it was going to be right in the center, ended up kind of hanging in there for me and going in.¬† That was a big momentum swing.¬† I had bogey written all over it after my tee shot, and to be able to walk out with a birdie is a huge boost to my confidence.
And after that I think I got a little run and played pretty well.

Q.  A couple of years ago you played a practice round with Tom Watson, I think it was Birkdale.  Not to bring up your record on links golf, but how has your education on links golf improved up to this point?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:¬† Well, it helped a bunch playing with him.¬† He told me the first time over here he wasn't a big fan of links golf.¬† The second time he played he loved it.¬† You've got to kind of embrace it, realise that you're going to get good bounces, bad bounces, but you don't really ‑‑ expect the worst and hope for the best.¬† I tried to do it the first three times around here, but unfortunately I'm still too used to playing American golf, still too used to trying to play at pins and hit shots I probably shouldn't hit, and this week I'm doing a much better job of‑‑ even if I had a sand wedge in my hand, hitting it 25 or 30 feet away from it, just to make sure I don't put myself in a bad spot.

Q.  We've seen you down in one of the local pubs a couple of nights this week.  Has the local beer had any part in your good form these last two days?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:  I enjoy the local ales, yes.  The local beers are very good.  I was not there late, you can attest to that.  Might have been late there the first night, but trying to get over the jet lag.
But, no, I love being over here.  I played a British Am over here a long time ago when I was in college.  I enjoy the lifestyle over here.  I enjoy the golf.  It's funny I've never played good, because I like being over here and having a good time with it.

Q.¬† On your first‑‑ you said the British Amateur was 2001 at Prestwick.¬† That's a quirky a links as you can get.¬† What were your first impressions of links golf coming where you came from?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:¬† You kind of have to embrace it for what it is.¬† This is where golf started.¬† This is the way traditional golf was meant to be played.¬† I enjoyed it.¬† I didn't play very well then, either, but I had a great time.¬† Me and a couple of buddies made a big two‑week trip out of it and played everywhere all over Scotland.¬† It's been something.¬† I had a great time doing it, and I recommend anyone coming over here for about 10 days.¬† We had a blast.¬† We had a great time.

Q.  You said before that you were lucky because you played early in the morning.

Q.  But I met many players who had played before and they were not so happy because of the tee time because they told me that the wind is completely different today.

Q.  And it's in front during the front nine.  So the front ninewas really, really long.  Did you realise that?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:  Yeah, I did.  What are you going to do?  I mean, golf is what it is.  We had into the wind off the left on the first four holes, which is the toughest wind for those first four holes, and we into the wind on the back nine.  So it's kind of unfortunate the wind switched, but it wasn't blowing five miles an hour, ten miles an hour.  That's nothing over here.  I'd take that happily every day.  I was not going to complain about that at all.

Q.  We've seen you go low several times on the American Tour.  And just wondering if there's a common denominator to the feel of the golf when you can do this or the mentality or the shots or anything?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:  You know, it's funny, I seem to play my best golf when I don't feel like my golf swing is right on.  I feel like my golf swing is close this week, I feel like it's playing pretty well, but I'm not by any means hitting it on all cylinders.
I'm making every 25‑footer I look at, so that makes it a lot easier.¬† I feel like the reason why I knew like I was going to play well this week, because I had a great ‑‑ from the first day I stepped on these greens I had a great feel for the pace.¬† These are the best greens I've putted on in a British Open.¬† They feel almost like poa annua a back in the States.¬† They feel similar to that.¬† When you have good pace, you're not really worried about hitting it too close, because you can get it 40 feet and get a two‑putt and get out of there.¬† I think that's the big reason I played so well.

Q.  Probably any other time besides this you were probably in the larger spotlight of a major, at Augusta.  How much did you take out of that?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:¬† I think I took out of it trying, no matter how much I talked down, how much it meant to me, how much a major does mean to everybody out here.¬† And to do that and watch Trevor ‑‑ Trevor won that year.¬† To watch Trevor handle the emotions and play the way he did the last 18 really taught me a lot about what you're going to have to go through.¬† It wasn't an easy day that day at Augusta.¬† It was real tough.¬† I remember watching him kind of handle himself around the golf course, the way he kind of plotted his way around the golf course.¬† It's something you're going to have to do in the course of four rounds.
This weekend I feel prepared.  I've been in some pretty tight spots in the States and I've been playing in playoffs and playing against the best players in the world and stuff like that.  So I kind of know what pressure feels like.  Obviously it's going to be a lot more over the weekend, but I've got something to fall back on.

Q.  You've been a front runner, too.  What is it about that and how comfortable do you feel going in with a lead?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:  I've got a cushion, which is nice.  I don't have to play the best golf over the next 36 holes.  I have to play good golf, but maybe not the best of anybody.  So that's always nice to have.  That being said, I'm going to go out there and try to do the exact same things I did the first two days and hit a bunch of greens and make a bunch of putts and try to extend my lead as far as possible.

Q.  I know you and your caddie Scott have been together for a few years.  Has the learning experience for links golf extended to him?  Does he get into it a little more?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:  I think so, I think there's definitely a little different mentality you take on this week.  It's something I try to pick up by playing with either past champions or guys that have been out here a long time or had success at it.
I think for both of us, realising that the pin is not always a good place to be hitting the ball is something very tough for us to deal with, even when you have a sand wedge in your hand.  We've been trying to shoot away from everything this week, and it's worked out so well so far.  We'll see how it happens tomorrow.  It might be terrible tomorrow, I don't know.  But I'm going to keep doing the same thing.

Q.  I know we all know you've already won tournaments as a pro, but there will be lots of British people tonight saying who's Brandt Snedeker?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:  I'm sure there's lots of Americans saying that, too (laughter).

Q.  Can you answer that question, tell them what you're like, what kind of a person you are?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:¬† I'm a pretty happy‑go‑lucky guy.¬† I'm very lucky to do what I do for a living.¬† I've got a brother and family that keeps me well in line, know where I am on the totem pole.¬† I'm married with a 16‑month‑old little girl at home, who pretty much dominates me, and anything she wants to get, she's going to get.¬† That's the kind of guy I am.¬† I'm very simple, not a frilly guy by any means.

Q.  There seemed to be an increasing buzz out on the course, who is this guy, and did you feel the sort of interest building, the gallery building?  And had it been a help before to be under the radar?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:  Yeah, playing at 3:30 yesterday was definitely under the radar.  There weren't a lot of people out there when I was finishing.  And today I felt the galleries building and TV cameras getting more people inside the ropes and everything.  That's great.  I enjoy that.  If you want to be the best player in the world or be one of the best players in the world, you're going to have to deal with that and get used to it.
Fans over here are great, very knowledgeable, and they applaud for great shots and it's good to realise that a 25‑footer sometimes is a great shot.

Q.  Can you recount your injury problem this year, how it kept you out, what it was?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:¬† Well, this sounds great, I actually cracked a rib from having a bad cough the last 10 days.¬† Thank you for laughing, whoever that was.¬† But just I've had problems with breaking bones on minor stuff before and kind of cracked a rib, so it kind of put me out for about five weeks.¬† Unfortunately it was right in front of the U.S. Open, so it was bad timing.¬† Tried everything I could to get back to play with that.¬† When I realised I couldn't play, I took a couple of weeks off and made sure I was healthy and played Greenbrier back in the States a few weeks ago.¬† Good tune‑up and felt like I was ready to go again.
We've got a lot of golf coming up after this.  Pretty much playing every tournament the rest of the year.  So I'm looking forward to a good final home stretch.

Q.  Do you feel like you're 10 percent?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:  Oh, yeah, 100 percent for sure.

Q.¬† As you're making your way around today and you saw a four‑shot lead and a five‑shot lead, at any point did you gulp?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:  No, not at all, because I realised that that can be one hole out here.  You get the wind blowing and one poor shot and be in a really bad situation.  You try to make it as many as possible.  I'll keep trying to do that tomorrow.  There's no need to back up now.

Q.  Going back to Augusta in 2008, you did a press conference Sunday where you got quite emotional.  Does that feel like a long time ago, or is that still really fresh in your memory?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:  It does.  It was, what, six years ago, five years ago?  It was a long time ago.  In golf years that's a lot of tournaments.  I've lost a lot since then, gotten used to it (laughter).

Q.  It was four years ago.
BRANDT SNEDEKER:  Thanks, I'm a little slow.

Q.  I'm curious, whywere you such a Watson guy growing up?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:  I love the way he swung it.  He has such a classic golf swing.  Had no holdback in it whatsoever, just got out there and ripped it every time.  Growing up I just loved the way he swung the golf club.  He lived in Kansas City his whole career, pretty much, lived in a cold weather spot, didn't go south and find good weather, kind of played in bad conditions all the time.  Growing up in Nashville, that was a good guy to emulate yourself after.

Q.  (Inaudible.)
BRANDT SNEDEKER:¬† No, not at all.¬† I would love to be like him.¬† We both make pretty quick decisions.¬† There's no holdback in either one of our swings.¬† He's one of the best ball‑strikers of all time.¬† I am not by any stretch of the imagination.¬† But I think we both hole a lot of putts.¬† Tom in his prime holed a lot of 25‑ and 30‑footers, and when I'm playing I tend to do that a lot, too.

Q.  I'm curious, what was it like walking up 18 looking at the leaderboard and seeing that lead, and how much fun is it noticing you just can almost taste it now?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:¬† Well, I can't taste it.¬† We've got a long way to go.¬† It was prettycool to see your name atop a major leaderboard at any time, let alone at a British Open, 36‑hole after I don't know by how many, right now it seems after 36 holes.¬† It's a great feeling.¬† A great experience, but it gets you a whole lot of nothing.¬† We've got 36 more holes to go, a lot can happen.¬† As anybody can tell, over the course of this year on Tour alone, there's been a lot of leads lost after 36 holes, and I'm going to try to buck that trend this weekend.

Q.  What do you remember about Duval's win here, and have you ever talked to him about it over the years?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:  I haven't talked to David about it.  I do remember watching it on TV.  I still remember that shot he his on 17 out of the rough that kind of sealed it for him.  Such a cool moment for him, as great a player as he'd been, to get that major win.
I always loved growing up watching the British Open as a kid, setting my alarm clock and getting up and watching it at 6:30 when it came on TV, and having a great time watching it until noon.  It's kind of cool to be a part of it now and hopefully have a good weekend.

Q.  Just a couple of points about 18.  You must have been highly delighted to step off with a 4 after driving into the rough.  Was that your only shot selection, or because of your lead, did you sort of play conservatively?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:¬† Well, this rough is very funny.¬† It gives you the illusion that you can hit it out and hit it where you want to, and inevitably you end up ‑‑ the rough ends up grabbing your club and wrapping it and you end up hitting it way left.¬† There was a bunker left that was no good and there was lots of stuff left that was no good.
And when you're putting it good, and effect my wedges pretty good, inside 100 yards has a pretty good chance of getting up‑and‑down, better than 50/50.¬† So I felt like if I got it out there in the fairway and give myself a lob wedge at it, I had a pretty good chance of making par, and that's what I did.¬† I played such a good round, I didn't want to mess it up at 18 by doing something stupid.

Q.  And the galleries, then, for you walking over the path, do you think, gee, another 48 hours, this could be me?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:  I hadn't thought that far ahead.  We've got so much golf to go, literally if it's blowing sideways tomorrow, no lead is safe.  And the same thing will be said for Sunday.

Q.  Is it true that you once won the combine harvester?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:  I don't know where everybody is getting this.  I won a surfboard in San Diego this year, which will never see the light of water.  I have not won a harvester, and don't need one, don't plan on buying one ever (laughter).

Q.  So where did the story come from?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:  You tell me.  I have no clue.

Q.  It wasn't Bubba Watson then, was it?

Q.  Through two rounds, how many bunkers?

Q.  Did you even come close?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:  Yeah, I came close a couple of times and got lucky.  To hit it in no bunkers around here, you have to get lucky.  I think it's a common theme.  I've gotten very fortunate when I was hitting bad shots and hadn't gotten in bunkers and hadn't gotten in particular rough.  I don't expect that stat to hold over the weekend.  I'm fully prepared to hit it in a few bunkers.

Q.  You mentioned the lifestyle here, that you like it.  Talk a bit about what it is you like and maybe your experience travelling here when you were young.
BRANDT SNEDEKER:¬† It's obviously extremely different from the States.¬† I love the kind of the culture and the heritage that they have here.¬† I love the enthusiasm they have for golf.¬† To have this many golf‑crazy people when the weather is not exactly great, and that's being kind, it's pretty awesome.
You've got to embrace wherever you're going.  And I could have said I don't like going to the British Open, I've missed three cuts there, it's no fun.  But I enjoy coming over here.  There's a reason why I keep coming.  I love coming over here.  It's just so different from what we get to do at home.  It's my one chance a year to really do it, so I have a great time doing it.

Q.¬† You've hit a lot of greens this week, yet you've not hit as many fairways.¬† When you're walking over to those balls that you've hit over in the rough, are you holding your breath wondering how it's going to be, and have you missed far enough that they're‑‑
BRANDT SNEDEKER:  I have.  My misses have been unfortunately really bad misses, but fortunately they've been in the gallery, so they've been okay.  They've all been on the correct side of the fairway.  If you're going to miss it on one side of the fairway, you need to miss it on the correct side.  You need to do that here, you're not going to be able to hit every fairway.  You're going to have to hit it in the rough and get fortunate sometimes, and I have.  And don't feel guilty about it at all.

Q.  Just touching on an emotional press conference you did have at Augusta a few years ago, do you still try not to wear your heart on your sleeve now, or do you still feel it's important to feed off your emotions?  Is that a big part of your game?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:¬† Yeah, I think everybody calls me an emotional guy when I play golf, and I'm really not.¬† I'm probably the most level‑headed guy you'll see play on Tour.¬† I never make a shot out of anger or make a shot because I'm not playing good.¬† I kind of do the same thing every time.¬† When I hit a shot, I might do some funny body language or something like that, that's just me trying to help it any way I possibly can.¬† If anybody asks or knew me, they'd say I'm the most level‑headed guy because I never hit a shot or calculate a shot without analysing the risk of what's going to happen, where it could go, where it couldn't go, that kind of stuff.
So when it comes to that, I'm just that kind of person.  I don't mind telling people how I feel and showing my emotions, and if I'm upset or mad you're going to know about it.  And if I'm crying, you're going to see me cry.

Q.  If you get the Claret Jug on the weekend, we'll see tears?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:  I don't know.  I would love to let you know what happens.

Q.  Excuse another British question, but coming from Nashville, can we assume that you're a country fan?

Q.  You know that Nancy Griffith is over here at the moment?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:  Oh, don't even know who that is.  Shows you what a country fan I am (laughter).

Q.  You talked about playing safely on the greens.  Sports psychologists talk about a conservative strategy but an aggressive approach.  Is that what you're doing?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:  Yeah, I'm not trying to put bad swings.  I'm going to try and hit it to where you're supposed to hit it to.  I guess this is the way you're supposed to play golf everywhere.  I just don't do it in the States.  I kind of try to go at pins in the States.  Over here it seems like it's much more penal if you do go at pins, so that's what I've done.

Q.  When you talk about Watson, I mean obviously Watson's record at British Opens is phenomenal.  When you were young did you feel like, okay, this would be one thing to emulate?  And then secondly, just on the course do you feel that the softening and some of the backup on the greens, it's a little bit not what it usually is at an Open?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:¬† For sure.¬† I think the one thing that ‑‑ getting back to the Watson thing, and emulating him or trying to, he was just such a great champion.¬† Watching him play British Opens and the way he handled himself and the way he was able to make that stuff happen that seemed like every year here was phenomenal.¬† And talking to him about it, the more I've gotten to know him, he really does embrace this lifestyle.¬† He loves coming over here, loves being around the people, loves eating the food, loves being here.
So if it works for him, might try to emulate ‑‑ the one guy you try to emulate, you might try to do that.
When it comes to you can call it the Americanisation of this golf course, I guess, the softness of it, yeah, that's played a factor in it, for sure.  It would be stupid to say it hasn't.  I've never seen balls spin at a British Open before, and it's spinning this week.  Having said that, it's still a links golf course.  You've still got to get your ball around it.  But I wouldn't expect that to hold true for the whole weekend.  I'm sure it's probably going to show some teeth this weekend.

Q.  Hunter Mahan, he said look at that guy, he keeps being true.  Is it true, and do you feel hot for the second?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:  I hope I feel hot over the weekend.  First one, yeah, typically when I get going I have no problem going low, and I enjoy that.  Typically when I get my putter rolling I make a lot of putts, and that's what it takes to go low.  So that's what I'm going to keep trying to do over the weekend.  If it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen, but I'm not going to change anything.

Q.¬† You have the 36‑hole record for The Open.¬† Apart from Tom Watson, have there been any major influences on the game and your background as a golfer?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:  Not, I would say, growing up.  The reason why I feel like I'm a competitor and like being in these situations is just playing against my dad and brother.  My brother is four years older than me, so I never had a chance until I was 16 to beat him.  And he's a pretty good player.  And so that's how we test our games is playing each other every weekend and trying to beat each other.  We still do it.  We still have matches, whenever we get out and play each other.  And he still gets me once in a while, which drives me crazy, but it's fun.  We have a good time doing it.

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