Snedeker set for big week in Atlanta, Ryder Cup

By Mark Lamport-Stokes, Reuters

Posted at Sep 20 2012 04:31 PM | Updated as of Sep 21 2012 12:31 AM

ATLANTA - Golfers often talk about pacing themselves for big events and Brandt Snedeker says that will be his top priority at this week's elite Tour Championship before making his Ryder Cup debut for the United States next week.

The fast-talking American is one of only 30 players competing in the PGA Tour's playoff finale starting on Thursday, and is one of just five who would be guaranteed the season-long FedExCup title and its lucrative bonus with victory on Sunday.

"It is very difficult to prepare because they are two completely different weeks, but really big weeks," Snedeker told Reuters at a sun-splashed East Lake Golf Club.

"This week is the culmination of a whole year's work so you have got to be very focused on what this week entails and realise it's not just about the whole year.

"It's about this one week. You've got to take each day as it comes, play as good as you possibly can and get ready hopefully to give yourself a chance on Sunday to hoist that FedExCup trophy."

Snedeker, who won his third PGA Tour title at the Farmers Insurance Open in January, lies fifth in the FedExCup standings coming into this week and relishes the fact that he would secure the $10 million playoff bonus by winning the Tour Championship.

"It's great," the 31-year-old beamed. "That's what you have worked the whole year for, to accomplish that goal, to know that if you win this week you're going to win the FedExCup.

"It's such a huge relief. You don't have to worry about (points) scenarios or anything like that."

Life-long dream

Next week, Snedeker will fulfil what he describes as "a life-long dream" when he represents the United States for the first time in the biennial Ryder Cup competition against Europe, being held this year outside Chicago.

The Tennessee native was one of four wildcard picks chosen by captain Davis Love III, a perfect scenario for the excited Ryder Cup rookie.

"Davis is a guy I grew up idolising and I've got to know him really well out here on tour," Snedeker said. "He's kind of like an uncle to me and to be on his team on U.S. soil is just so special.

"I grew up loving to watch the Ryder Cup because of the team atmosphere, something that's so cool to see. You don't see us out here on tour do it (playing team golf) very often.

"When we do, we really take it to heart, we really love putting that USA flag on our chest, going out there and trying to play as well as we possibly can."

Snedeker, known for his streaky putting and his ability to shoot low scores, has already spoken to as many people as he can for advice on how to approach his first Ryder Cup.

"The biggest thing I've been told is to make sure you don't get worn out," he said. "It's a long week, especially with the tournament starting on Friday and you are there on Monday.

"So make sure you practise wisely and don't hit too many balls and wear yourself down because you've got a lot of golf to play on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. You've got to be ready."

The 39th Ryder Cup will take place at Medinah Country Club outside Chicago from Sept. 28-30. (Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes; Editing by Frank Pingue)