Golf Academy at West Haven
Virgil Herring, 2002, 2003, 2005 & 2006 Middle-TN PGA Teacher of the Year and 2003 TN PGA Section Teacher of the Year.

Snedeker's pro dream will wait until after Masters
By JOE BIDDLE
The Tennessean Sports Writer


Brandt Snedeker is a hard man to catch these days.

On the golf course and off. He was waiting for a flight to Niagara Falls yesterday. No, the recent Vanderbilt graduate wasn't going on a honeymoon. Just another golf tournament to play.
Snedeker's world has turned upside down since he won the U.S. Public Links championship last weekend. With the victory, he is assured of playing in the next year's Masters at Augusta National. He will delay turning pro.

"I guess I'll be mooching off my parents a little bit longer," Snedeker quipped.
Augusta National is a course he has previously played four times. A week after this year's Masters he shot 73.

He will have his older brother, Haymes, on his bag at Augusta. Haymes is currently an assistant District Attorney in Baldwin County, Ala.

"I'm so excite about it. It will be such a great experience," Brandt said. "Augusta National is one of the best tests of golf you can have. You have to put the ball in such precise places, but I thing it fits my game."

Snedeker's rise to national prominence raises the question as to just how far he can go as a professional. Snedeker does not hesitate when asked his opinion. "I think I can be the best there is, " he said. "I think I can get out there and compete with Tiger every day. It is going to take a lot of hard work. It may take me 20 years, but I am confident I can go out there and play."

Teaching pro Virgil Herring has worked with Snedeker the past four years. Herring has tutored PGA pros Brad Fabel, Harry Taylor and Bob Wolcott. He currently has 51 Division 1 college golfers he helps, including OVC Player of the Year Matt Gallant.

I hit Herring with the question about Snedeker's future.

"Give him some time to play professional golf, like he had time in college golf, and I believe he can make an impact on the pros like he did in college," Herring said.

"He has come from not being on the radar screen in college golf to the No. 1 player. He can now hit any shot he needs out there."

Snedeker's performance in the Public Links final proved to be the second most dominant show in the tournament's history. He closed out Oklahoma State junior Jayson Rose with nine holes remaining in the 36-hole match.

"Under all the pressure, I was watching to see if he would revert back to some of his old habits," Herring said. "He has worked so hard to make the changes, but I was surprised to see him not drop back to how he used to play. This was the first time I've seen him do that."

Snedeker now understands how much work it takes to make it look easy.

This game can bring the best to their knees. For example, see David Duval.

"In his early years in college, Brandt would work," Herring said, "but it was just enough to make him competitive. He found out if he didn't put a championship effort into his game, he couldn't win."
Brandt took heart when he saw Ben Curtis win the British Open Sunday. "I played a lot of golf against Ben Curtis in college," Snedeker said. "To see what he was able to do at the British Open gives me a lot of hope."

Joe Biddle is a sports columnist for The Tennessean. He can be reached at 259-8255 or e-mail jbiddle@tennessean.com

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