The Northern TrustAugust 22, 2018

Brandt Snedeker on his Ryder Cup chances, and the element he could bring to the U.S. team if chosen

2016 Ryder Cup - Singles Matches
Ross KinnairdCHASKA, MN - OCTOBER 02: Brandt Snedeker of the United States reacts on the seventh green during singles matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on October 2, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

PARAMUS, N.J. — Brandt Snedeker didn't look tired on Wednesday morning at Ridgewood Country Club, though he had every reason to be. The 37-year-old is coming off an emotionally, mentally and physically draining victory at the Wyndham Championship, one that included a history-making 59 on Thursday and a 29-hole, marathon Sunday that got way more nerve-wracking than he hoped it would. No one would have blamed him if he was running low on energy.

That was far from the case when he arrived at the Mastercard Club, where he'd be competing in a Topgolf event alongside Keegan Bradley and former USC football great Reggie Bush. Sneds was his normal upbeat, always-smiling self as he snapped photos with fans, trash-talked Bradley and, ultimately, won the competition on his final swing. The man can do no wrong.

He can only hope that trend continues this week at the Northern Trust, where he comes in 30th in the FedEx Cup standings after entering Wyndham in 80th. Suddenly, Snedeker would appear to be a legitimate threat to win his second FedEx Cup and, more intriguingly, a candidate to steal a captain's pick on the U.S. Ryder Cup team.

That was not a prospect he or anyone else was considering this time last year, when a nagging rib injury forced Snedeker to call it a season before the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. He was able to make a return at full health this past November, but up until June, didn't appear to be much of a factor on tour, failing to register a single top-10 in his 15 starts back.

But as he's proven in the last three months, while these comebacks take time, all it takes is one good week to flip the switch. A T-6 at the FedEx St. Jude Classic that included a second-round 62 was a good start, but a T-48 at the U.S. Open and a missed cut at the Travelers Championship soon followed. Still, Snedeker knew things were coming along nicely, something he proved two weeks later at the Greenbrier, carding a final-round 64 to tie for third, his best finish since a T-3 at the 2016 Wyndham Championship.

"I started hitting the ball better and playing better [at the Greenbrier], kind of getting out of my own way and started doing some positive stuff," Snedeker said. "It was really good. Then I go to the British Open and play terrible after a couple good weeks, and then I end up going to Canada and find something, start playing good there."

A T-8 at the RBC Canadian Open marked his third top-10 in six events as he continued to trend in the right direction. Two weeks later came an 11-under 59 at Sedgefield Country Club, which he backed up with 67, 68 and 65 for a wire-to-wire victory, his first since the 2016 Farmers Insurance Open.

"To be able to go out there last week and get it done, to know that this has been coming for awhile, I felt it for awhile and to be able to step up there and do it was really special.”

Those good feelings have bled over into this week, as Snedeker comes in re-energized and refocused, knowing there's still much work to be done, especially if he wants to be seriously considered by American team captain Jim Furyk. Given how he's played of late, it's certainly a thought he's entertained.

"Yeah, I mean it’s there, but I’ve got to go play great golf next four weeks to do that," Snedeker said. "It’s always in the back of your mind because you want to be a part of it. But to do that I’ve got to go out there and play well."

For Snedeker to earn this late-season consideration is not only a testament to this hot streak, but how well he fared at Hazeltine National in 2016, posting a 3-0 record and coming up clutch on the greens. But his best trait may have been that Snedeker energy, as he memorably ignited the Minnesota crowds and his teammates every chance he got. That's the element that, if selected, he hopes to bring once again.

"I think I’m a great teammate, I do a lot of stuff that’s really important for match play," he said. "I’m a very positive guy, easy to pair with, good short game. So I can help out in those atmospheres, and more importantly I just want to be a part of the guys. It’s fun when you’re on those teams being a part of it and enjoying that time together as a team. It’s something we always cherish and can’t get enough of."

With Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods almost certainly taking up two of the four captain's picks slots, that leaves very little margin for error for Sneds over these next few weeks if he wants one of the two remaining spots. Judging by how he responded to everything he's faced over the last week, and the last year, you might not want to bet against him.

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