ATLANTA The crystal Tour Championship trophy on a table beside him and the $10 million FedExCup bonus soon to be deposited in his bank account, 31-year old Brandt Snedeker was asked early in the evening what his dual victories at East Lake Golf Club said about him as a player.
Snedeker, who talks as fast as he plays golf, paused.
I think it solidifies what I already know, and I think when I play my best golf, my best golf is some of the best in the world, Snedeker said Sunday.
He proved it over four days at East Lake but especially Sunday when a tricky wind added to the challenge of winning two tournaments in one. After shooting 64 Saturday to gain a share of the third-round lead with Justin Rose, Snedeker tacked on a closing 68 that gave him a three-stroke victory over Rose.
It was a day that began with Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods in position to do what Snedeker did. But while they combined to shoot 7-over par on the front nine and play themselves out of contention for either prize, Snedeker moved forward.
He said Saturday night that he would not look at a leader board Sunday, and he didnt. Snedeker said he didnt realize he was tied with Ryan Moore with four holes to play and he didnt know he had a four-stroke lead when he pulled a hybrid shot into the greenside bleachers on the finishing hole.
When his mind wandered to what winning might mean as he walked off the 15th tee after ripping another tee shot into another narrow fairway, Snedeker said he almost slapped himself back into the moment.
Snedeker shook off a double-bogey at the par-3 sixth when he put his tee shot in a pond. Two holes later he slam-dunked a 25-foot birdie putt to regain his lost momentum. At the par-4 10th, he made another key putt, a 10-footer for par.
He birdied No. 15 and chipped in for a clinching birdie at No. 17 while Rose and Moore fell away. When Snedeker holed a bogey putt to finish his dual victories, he put a fist in the air and shouted his joy. Rose, paired with him, all but bowed toward Snedeker
Brandt was the better guy today. He did everything he needed to do, said Rose, who will be on the opposite side of Snedeker when the Ryder Cup matches begin Friday in Chicago.
Snedeker, brilliant on and around the green, arrived at East Lake as one of five players who knew a victory in the Tour Championship also would win them the FedExCup trophy. Though McIlroy won two of the four playoff events, his final-round 74 dropped him to a tie for 10th, siphoning away any potential $10 million drama Sunday afternoon.
Even if I had played well, Im not sure I would have been able to catch Brandt, McIlroy said.
Some Needed Perspective
On Sunday morning, Snedeker spent 30 minutes at Shepherd Center in Atlanta, visiting with 19-year old Tucker Anderson, son of Snedekers teaching pro Todd Anderson. Tucker was seriously injured in an auto accident two weeks ago and is in what Snedeker called a responsive coma while dealing with a spinal cord injury.
Snedeker was followed at East Lake by his father, Larry, who had a liver transplant last year and was watching his son play in person for just the second time this year.
All of it, Snedeker said, gave him a needed perspective.
Couple it with the best stretch of golf of his career Snedeker finished second and sixth in the first two playoff events and it produced the biggest result in his golf career.
Ive never had more confidence in myself than I have in the last five weeks, he said. I made sure that I kept telling myself that all day.
I am one of the best players in the world. This is supposed to happen.
One question remained Sunday night.
What will Snedeker do with the combined $11.44 million he won Sunday?
He likes the house he shares wit his wife, Mandy, and their daughter in Nashville, Tenn., and he has only put 24,000 miles on the GMC Yukon Denali he bought more than four years ago.
Im not by any means a flashy guy, Snedeker said. Of anybody that I know, I do not need $11 million.
There are going to be things we can do to really help people As long as I am not an idiot, I should be fine. Really.