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April 9, 2013

Brandt Snedeker


THE MODERATOR:テつ Good afternoon, we are pleased to welcome Brandt Snedeker to the interview room.テつ Brandt joins us this week for his sixth Masters appearance, his best Masters finish was a tie for third in 2008.テつ After winning THE TOUR Championship to end 2012, Brandt has had a stellar start to the 2013 PGA TOUR season including a win at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro‑Am in record fashion, his fifth PGA title.
His fine play has led him to be currently ranked the fifth‑best player in the world by the Official World Golf Rankings.
Congratulations on that play, Brandt.テつ Before we take questions, can you talk about how you're feeling heading into this year's Masters?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:テつ Yeah, wish I was coming off better form.テつ My last two appearances have been missed the cuts but I actually feel like I'm playing pretty well, 100 percent healthy which is a nice thing.テつ I know that's going to be the next question out of somebody's mouth, so get that out of the way, feel great, no issue whatsoever.
This week has been great.テつ The golf course is probably the best I've ever seen it, very, very plush, very firm, greens are extremely fast, and it's going to set up for a very, very difficult week, so it's been great preparation.テつ I know what I need to do.テつ It's going to be a lot of fun to go out there and try to execute my game plan.

Q.テつ Doing a story about what guys learn between their first time playing here and their second.テつ You had a decent result as an amateur, but then your second time here was great.テつ Can you talk about some of the differences in preparation and how you've performed?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:テつ Yeah, there's a few big keys that you learn here through experience and still continues to grow through experience.テつ It's not just your first or second, you learn stuff from your fifth to your sixth and I'm sure you'll learn stuff from your 10th or 11th or whatever may be.
Obviously, the key to place is knowing where to miss it and knowing the pin positions and working from the greens backwards yards.テつ Knowing where the pin is on the first hole is going to dictate what you are going to hit off the tee, where you're going to it, and is going to dictate every hole throughout the course of the day.テつ That's something I learned after the first year is really thinking your way from the green backwards.
The other thing is making sure that Thursday morning, you were mentally and physically prepared.テつ I feel like my first year here I wore myself out Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.テつ When Sunday rolled around, you were exhausted.テつ I've done a way better job since then making sure I'm well rested Thursday morning.

Q.テつ Is that because of just all that surrounds it, tickets and family?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:テつ I don't know, have you been outside?テつ It's a crazy week.テつ I don't care what you say, playing a practice round in front of 50,000 people is taxing and trying to get your work done.テつ These greens put you on edge, it's an edgy week, everybody kind of handles me with kid gloves this week and gives me a little extra slack because you are on edge and try to keep the distractions to a minimum.

Q.テつ We often hear winning a major is a process.テつ Where are you?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:テつ I hope the process is over.テつ I'm ready.テつ I feel like my game's ready.テつ The biggest hurdle I think with winning a Major Championship is being mentally prepared to handle the stress that you are going to have to handle the last two rounds.
I feel like between THE TOUR Championship last year and Pebble Beach this year, I feel like I can handle just about any situation I put myself into.テつ I think the hardest way to win a golf tournament is to have a lead, sleep on a lead and play and win.テつ It's a lot easier to win golf tournaments from behind because you know what you have to do.テつ When you are in the lead, you don't know what you have to do.
I feel like I've been able to handle both those situations very well and I know what stress and pressure you're on on Sunday, especially being here in the last group, because I've been there.テつ I know what to expect and I know I'm prepared to handle that.テつ So I look forward to that challenge.

Q.テつ Just as a follow‑up, what did you learn last year at The Open Championship about yourself?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:テつ Well, the biggest thing I learned, I learned a lot, it was fun, I played with Tiger on Sunday.テつ I learned a lot watching him go around the golf course, not because of the way he played or anything like that, but more his mentality.テつ The reason why I think Tiger is the best I've ever seen or probably will ever see is because of the way he mentally works his way around a golf course and the way he's able to mentally is able to push stuff behind him and will himself forward.
I'd never seen it in person at a major, and I was shocked at how patient and how welcoming and accepting he was with everything that happened that day.テつ He had a lot of bad breaks, and you would have never known it.
That was kind of an eye‑opening experience for me, to see it in a Major Championship, being able to be that patient, and I learned a lot from it.テつ And I realized there's no way that you can be too patient at majors.テつ It's just a complete marathon.テつ One hole or one shot will not make or break a tournament; it will if you allow it to.テつ There's just so much that can happen.

Q.テつ You've talked in past years about coming back from serious injuries, surgeries and all that.テつ What did you have to do for this year?テつ How do you rehabilitate and how much pushing yourself did you have to?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:テつ The injury I had, a strained intracostal muscle which there isn't much you can do.テつ I did everything I could to make it faster, come back faster between injections and therapy and stuff like that, but it's an injury that you have to let heal on it's own time.
That being said, I feel great.テつ The healing process actually came at a great time with me.テつ I got to spend a lot of time at home with my family.テつ I had played a bunch of golf in a row and came at a good time.テつ And I came in here very well rested and I'm as fresh as I can ever remember being for a Masters and it's hopefully going to pay dividends on the weekend.

Q.テつ You're 10‑under on No. 2 and 10‑under on No. 15; how come you've had so much success on those holes?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:テつ I realize that the way to play this golf course and have a chance to win is to play the par 5s very well, and then the par3s is to get by, because the par3s here play very difficult and the par 5s where you make your score.
I think last year I played the par 5s 11‑under par for the week.テつ And I played the par 4s horribly, but I did a great job on the par 5s.テつ I will take that right now and just kind of go at the rest of the golf course.テつ But those two holes in particular, I think the reason why I played those holes well is because I'm not too aggressive.テつ I realize that they are tough.
15 is a tough par 5.テつ People try to go for it all too often and make big numbers there and kind of lose the golf tournament there in a sense.テつ I realize it's 5, one birdie and three pars there is not a bad score.テつ 15 can really jump up and bite you real quick.テつ It's amazing when you're a little bit more conservative and laid back on those holes, some good things can happen.

Q.テつ You sounded like a doctor earlier; did you know the term of your injury before that so easily?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:テつ It's funny you hear a lot of golfers have that injury.テつ Charles Schwartzel had the injury last year.テつ Trust me, I've been in way too many doctors offices in the last couple years, I can go without seeing too many for a while.テつ And I definitely could have minored in the human anatomy in college for what I've learned over the last three years and what I've been through.テつ Hopefully I've wrapped up my injuries for about the next ten years.

Q.テつ As a past Public Links champion, what are your thoughts on it getting discontinued?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:テつ I was a little disappoint just because it was a special event for me, it was the way I got to play here at the Masters.テつ I thought it was a great event.
I understand the game of golf is changing and the USGA has got to think of what can generate the most interest in their championships and how they can see the best turnout.
But if you ask any past champion, I'm sure they are all disappointed that it's going away.テつ I'm sure the USGA had a good reason for doing it, but that's kind of the way the game of golf is going right now unfortunately.

Q.テつ The average age of winning the Masters is 32 and a half‑‑

Q.テつ Bodes well for you.

Q.テつ Do you feel like you're in your prime now to win?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:テつ Yeah, you know, what I talked to my family and agents all the time about this is my primetime, from now until about 40, historically what golfers do, this is the time we play our best golf.テつ I have to take advantage of my skills and really put golf first and make sure that this is my primetime to win majors, win tournaments and try to maximize that time.

Q.テつ Going back to your last two starts, were you 100 percent healthy for those starts?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:テつ I was 90 percent healthy for Bay Hill probably, and Houston I felt great.テつ And this week I'm feeling great.テつ Just a matter of making sure the rust is completely off, which I feel like it is.

Q.テつ You're so affable all the time, it's interesting to hear you say, my friends and my family give me wide berth this week because I'm edgy.

Q.テつ What do you mean, and why?テつ Let us in to see that.
BRANDT SNEDEKER:テつ Let us in to see that?テつ If you ask my caddie, my teacher, I have a very short string this week with‑‑ I think every professional golfer has it.テつ We have a way of venting to the right people.テつ I don't want to event to my wife, so I vent to my agents, I vent to my caddie, I vent to the people that I can that really have sit there and take it and can't really give me anything back, pretty much is what it boils down to.
It's just one of these weeks where you kind of want everything to run smoothly and be as less stressful as possible knowing that it's not going to run smoothly.テつ Nothing ever does, so you need to take that with a grain of salt.
I don't know how explain it.テつ This week for some reason, for me, I'm on edge, and I will not be off edge until I hit the first tee shot.テつ Once I get on the golf course and do that, I'm fine.テつ It's just getting to the first tee and everything that goes along with that is what puts me on edge.テつ I want to make sure everything goes smoothly, everybody has a good time, but most importantly that I get to Thursday morning where I want myself to be, well rested, golf game is where I want it to be so that come Thursday through Sunday, I know exactly where I need to be.

Q.テつ You said you said in the practice rounds, you have all these people, what is a normal one like?テつ Can you compare the two to us?テつ What's the difference?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:テつ If I had eight people follow me at a practice round in a normal event, it's a big deal.テつ Here, you have 10,000; it feels like a couple thousand on every hole, so a little bit different.
It's just‑‑ it's great.テつ This is what golf, growing up, watching this on TV, you realize this is bigger than golf.テつ This is a sporting event.テつ There's big sporting events that you circle that you watch every year between whether it be the Super Bowl or the Kentucky Derby or whatever transcends the sport, this is one of the tournaments that transcends golf and you realize it being here.テつ You realize there's people here that come here just not for the golf but come here for the event itself, and it's fun to be a part of that.テつ It's just a very different atmosphere from a normal event.

Q.テつ Given what you just spoke about, the tournament, the gravity of it, the crowds, the history, your personality and trying to stay not on edge, how do you manage controlling your emotions and not maybe getting too pumped up and exhausting yourself physically and mentally?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:テつ It's tough, it's tough just because I make no secret about this, I would trade probably all my PGA TOUR wins for this one tournament.テつ It's tough to treat this like another tournament.テつ That's probably the biggest challenge that every golfer has this week is treating this like they would any other week.テつ Even though it is a big deal and even though you do want to win it, you can't change your preparation, you can't change the way you think about it, because all of a sudden it takes on a different meaning.テつ And you build it up so much it turns into a negative.
So that's the hardest thing I think we all have to deal with this week is making sure we treat this like any other week and that's something every guy struggles with.テつ There's so many things going on this week, thousands of people coming in and out of town, people you haven't seen a long time in the galleries and you get pulled a lot of different ways.テつ You want to make sure you see family you haven't seen in a while, make sure everybody has a great time, make sure tickets get to where they need to go.テつ And before you realize it, it's Thursday morning, wait a second, man, I can't believe the tournament's already here.テつ I have to tee it up in ten minutes.テつ It's just part of getting used to it and knowing it and making sure it doesn't get to you.

Q.テつ Aside from the tickets and taking care of your friends and family, for you internally, mentally, is it tough not to get too excited early and to relax and enjoy this?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:テつ The hardest thing is probably the first six holes of Thursday, of getting into rhythm, a flow of the tournament, because our so amped up and you can really‑‑ I don't care what anybody says, if you get off to a 3‑ or 4‑over start the first six holes, it's going to take a lot to bring it back.
The hardest thing is making sure you're relaxed enough on the first tee and making sure you're calm enough to let the first five holes happen the way they are supposed to happen, stay out of your own way, do the small stuff really well and think through all the shots the right way.
As you get into the flow of the round, as anybody will tell you, once you start getting into it, you're fine.テつ That's where you're comfortable.テつ What's uncomfortable is sitting around the first tee, waiting for the first tee.テつ You're so nervous on that first tee.テつ It feels like you're in a football arena or basketball arena getting ready to come out through the smoke when you walk through the first tee is what it feels like.テつ You are so condensed on the putting green, you're walking to the first tee and there's 10,000 people waiting to see you hit your first tee shot.テつ That's the hardest thing is making sure you're calm and relaxed enough to let the first three or four holes happen the way they should.

Q.テつ Given the fact that Tiger comes in with three wins, obviously, he's in form, is it tough to get it out of your mind that he's a heavy favorite?テつ And I don't know that it's like it was ten years ago, but I mean, obviously, he's a guy that needs to be accounted for again.テつ What's your take on that?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:テつ I think everybody has the same thought on Tiger as we'll worry about Sunday afternoon.テつ I'm sure he's going to be there.テつ And I'm sure he's going to be up there.テつ I think everybody has a complete idea of knowing he's probably playing the best golf in the world right now, hands down.
If I'm there Sunday afternoon with Tiger Woods at some point, if I'm playing with Tiger on Sunday afternoon here, it's probably going to be a good week because he's going to be somewhere close.
You know, I think you all make more of a big deal about it than we do as players.テつ We have kind of come to the realization, the way ‑‑ if you want to beat Tiger or Rory or whoever is playing great, you really have to focus on what you do.テつ Everybody says it's different with Tiger, you start hearing the roars around here.テつ I understand it is a little bit different, but when you hear those roars going crazy, you have to get even more involved in what you're doing if you want to be successful.テつ That's what guys are starting to do more and more of.
When Tiger is playing his peak golf, which is what he seems to be doing right now and putting the way he did at Bay Hill, he's going to be a very, very tough guy to beat, because when he putts that good, it's hard to beat him because he doesn't beat himself.

Q.テつ A couple of years when Louis won The Open, he put a little dot on his finger.テつ Do you have any sort of mental device like that?テつ Do you have something that you do mentally that a common player could understand that helps you manage your game?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:テつ You know, the biggest thing I do before every event is I go over, I have a mental game plan of how I'm going to play every hole on the golf course, a mental game plan of how I'm going to play certain holes for the week, like a standard.テつ Maybe it's the par 5s I need to play 8‑under par or make sure I play the par3s at even par or better or something like that.テつ It gives me a focus for the week.

Q.テつ It's numerical, not visual?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:テつ Correct, numerical.テつ Something like that gets me into an idea, a game plan of certain parameters I need to hit throughout the course of the week to have a chance of winning.
You can look back over the course of the last ten years of the Masters and see trends in what the Masters champions do every year.テつ You can see a roadmap, if you will, of how if you win the Masters, you need to do this, this and this really well.テつ I try to tailor my practice to that and my game plan to that to make sure I do everything I can to hit those parameters.テつ And if I do that, I should have a pretty good chance of winning Sunday afternoon.

Q.テつ Who presents you with those metrics?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:テつ I go back and it's there for everybody to see.テつ You can pick it up on the Internet tonight if you want to find it.

Q.テつ How long have you been doing that?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:テつ I've been doing that for a couple years.テつ You can go back to the last champions, whoever it was, I'm trying to think who won last year‑‑ give me a second, it will come to me, Bubba won last year, I think the numbers around this golf course are pretty simple.テつ You have to make a bunch of putts inside ten feet, because this course has probably the toughest greens we play all year on TOUR and you have to play a bunch of greens.テつ You have to hit probably 70 percent or above your greens.
You do those two things really well, you have a good chance of winning.テつ And for me to hit 70 percent of the greens, I need to hit a lot of fairways.テつ This rough for me is very difficult.テつ If I hit a lot of fairways, I've got a better chance to hit more greens.テつ Hit more greens, don't put as much pressure on my putting.テつ If I make those key 6‑ , 8‑footers for par, I should be there Sunday afternoon.テつ Hard to execute, pretty simple.

Q.テつ As excitable as you are now, in 2004 when you made the cut as an amateur, can you take me back to then, what was that like that day?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:テつ It was unbelievable to play with Fred Couples and David Toms.テつ I actually gave a little talk to the amateurs last night at their dinner and kind of relived some of my history being an amateur here.テつ I remember looking in their eyes and seeing the excitement and fear that I felt, because there is a lot of fear for those guys when they tee it up Thursday morning.テつ And there still is fear in my eyes too when I tee it up Thursday morning.
I had my brother on the bag and to play here as an amateur is a unique experience unlike anything else in the world because this is, I feel like the one tournament in the world that really does cherish their amateurs playing.テつ The history here, Bobby Jones being an amateur, starting this tournament.テつ The way they treat the amateurs here, they treat them like past champions.テつ They really do roll out the red carpet and make sure they feel very special.
That's something I'll always cherish is those memories I have of staying in the Crow's Nest here, playing Sunday with my brother on bag.テつ I know I played terrible, but it was a lot of fun to walk the fairways on Augusta on Sunday and have my brother on the bag.テつ It was a pretty special memory.
THE MODERATOR:テつ We wish you all the best this week.

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