Following a solid 2007 season that earned him rookie of the year honors on the PGA Tour, Brandt Snedeker was looking forward to getting off to a fast start in 2008.
Now, Snedeker said he just hopes he can make it around the golf course Thursday when the PGA Tour season kicks off at the Mercedes-Benz Championship in Kapalua, Hawaii. After competing in overseas events in Japan and Australia, the 27-year-old native of Nashville, Tenn., returned home for the holidays and was hit with a flu bug he still hasn't fully recovered from.
"I spent my Christmas in bed and am still trying to get over it right now," Snedeker told reporters. "So hopefully it'll warm up and I'll get it out of my system."
Snedeker arrived at Kapalua Resort last Saturday and said he was hoping to knock some rust off his game. After being bedridden for three days, Snedeker said he didn't touch a club for six days prior to coming to The Plantation Course.
"I wanted to see what I had - surprisingly it was OK," Snedeker said. "I still feel a little dizzy, which is scary.
"It's kind of worrying me a little bit. I shouldn't be this dizzy this long after having the flu."
Snedeker said he planned to see a doctor to try and get his health issues squared away in hopes that he can at least be competitive in the 31-player field, which exclusively comprises winners of last year's PGA Tour events. He said he hasn't had much of an appetite since becoming ill, has lost weight and had difficulty gaining strength.
"I'm interested to see where my fitness level is," Snedeker said. "The course is really hilly and I'm struggling getting in and out of bed, so we'll find out."
Once he starts feeling better, Snedeker said he's eager to try and follow up the success he enjoyed during his rookie year. In 29 PGA Tour events, the Vanderbilt graduate made 23 cuts and had 13 top-25 finishes, including six top 10s.
Snedeker picked up his first PGA Tour victory by winning the Wyndham Championship. He finished the year ranked No. 17 on the money list with more than $2.8 million in earnings.
He also played in two majors in 2007, finishing tied for 23rd in the U.S. Open and tied for 18th in the PGA Championship. After his recent success, Snedeker said he obviously has different goals for the upcoming year.
"Last year my main goal was to keep a job for this year," Snedeker said. "This year, I want to obviously put myself in contention a lot, give myself a lot of chances to win and be there in some majors. On Saturday and Sunday I want to be there in majors and see what it's like, get myself under some fire and see how I react."
Snedeker said the main thing he learned from his rookie year was how to prepare for golf tournaments. Now, he said he has a very specific practice regiment that he thinks will help him become more successful.
Overall, Snedeker said the area he'd like to improve the most is his driving accuracy. Last year, he finished 153rd on the PGA Tour in that category, hitting 59.8 percent of his fairways.
"My driving accuracy last year was terrible, to put it lightly," Snedeker said. "When I played well, I drove it well. That's something I want to kind of make sure I improve on this year."
Air travel during the holidays is difficult enough, but as Boo Weekley found out, it's even more harrowing when you accidentally leave two bullets from an off-season deer-hunting trip in your carry-on bag.
Weekley said the incident took place late last week when he was attempting to board a flight in Pensacola, Fla.
"They put the red flags on me. I had the cops there," Weekley told reporters. "I thought I was going to jail."
The adventure didn't end there for Weekley. His flight to Atlanta was then late, causing him and his family to miss their connection and forced them to spend the night there. Once Weekley and his family finally arrived in Los Angeles, they had to spend nine hours in the terminal before catching their flight to Hawaii.
"It was tough to keep myself patient," Weekley said. "I think I sat in every chair in the airport."
Paul Goydos earned his spot in the Mercedes-Benz Championship last year in the Sony Open in Hawaii, making birdies in three of his final four holes to earn his first PGA Tour victory in 11 years.
Goydos' previous tour win came in 1996 at the Bay Hill Invitational. While the 11-year gap is certainly larger than the veteran golfer would've liked, he noted that it has coincided with Tiger Woods joining the professional ranks.
"It was a long gap, but I think that of that 10 and a half years, Tiger was involved in 10 of those years, and he's taken some events from me," Goydos said during a press conference. "He won six or seven times every year, I would imagine. He's won 60 times in 11 years or some crazy number like that.
"If you would have told me when I won that for the next - from '97 through '07 that some guy was going to win 60 times, I would say that you're out of your mind. There's just no way. That's not going to happen."
January 2, 2008
Davis Love III, who played the final 57 holes of the Children's Miracle Network Classic without a bogey, finished at 25-under 263 in the season-ending event played at the Walt Disney World Golf Resort in Florida. It has been a long road back for Love, who severely sprained his ankle late last year. After tearing ligaments, he needed surgery, and he's spent much of this year rehabilitating the injury.
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