The horrible Sunday weather at Torrey Pines brought out every old saw in golf broadcasting. Pure ball-strikers were at an advantage. Players who embraced the challenge would be three strokes up on those complaining. Putting would be a great equalizer.
Turns out the old saws were true. Brandt Snedeker shot a final-round 69 on a day when the stroke average approached 80, reeling in a half dozen names on the leaderboard and beating K.J. Choi by a shot.
Snedeker played all of his final round on Sunday -- in the teeth of the worst wind and rain -- and hit eight fairways and 11 greens on his way to that single-bogey 69. He watched from the practice area while Choi tried to recover the shots that slipped away in the 50-mph gusts.
"It really is true that great ballstrikers do well when the conditions get bad, but it's for reasons that you might not expect," says top New York teacher Michael Jacobs, who runs the X Golf School at Rock Hill Golf & Country Club in Manorville. "Shot shaping is one thing, but playing shots with some curve gets much harder when it's wet and windy. When you can match the face with the path of the swing, you're going to hit solid shots that start on line and stay there."
The goal? Smooth out the extremes in your swing path, says Jacobs. "Having a strong inside-to-out or outside-to-in path is going to make it harder for you to be consistent in any conditions."
Snedeker has two other qualities that make him well suited for sloppy conditions. He doesn't take long over any shot, and he's a confident putter.
"Modern technology tells us exactly what's happening when a player is coming down through impact," says Jacobs. "You can tell when a player is working hard for or against the twisting of the shaft. When you overanalyze what you're trying to do, you can add tension, and the less relaxed you are the less feel and freedom you're going to have through impact."
As for putting, "stealing" a few on the greens builds confidence.
"And when you're playing with confidence, you don't care what the conditions are," says Jacobs. "Bring it on."