JOE BIDDLE: Nashvillian Brandt Snedeker makes Ryder Cup team - WKRN News 2

JOE BIDDLE: Nashvillian Brandt Snedeker makes Ryder Cup team

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Brandt Snedeker admits it.

The Nashvillian hasn't slept much these last couple of weeks. There's been a lot of tossing and turning. Thinking. Wondering if his game would stand up to the pressure.

Even though his sleep had been spotty, Snedeker's dream came true Tuesday.

Making the Ryder Cup team has been a goal of his since before he earned his PGA Tour card.

When he heard Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III call his name as one of four captain's picks, it was music to Snedeker's ears.

He is one of four rookies on the U.S. team, and Love became the third straight American captain to select a rookie with one of his captain's picks.

Love was looking for four hot players and Snedeker certainly fit that profile. He fashioned second and sixth place finishes in the last two FedEx Cup tournaments.

Love was also looking for hot putters. Again, hard to beat Snedeker, who is ranked No. 1 on Tour in strokes gained putting.

Love asked Snedeker Tuesday if he was taking his putter to Crooked Stick GC this week, where the FedEx field will be whittled down to the final 30 golfers to play for the championship at Atlanta's East Lake CC.

"I have been playing really good now and have been doing it for a while. I know what I have to do with my putter now,'' Snedeker said.

Snedeker and swing coach Todd Anderson changed his grip, and it has made a huge difference.

"We strengthened my grip just a little,'' Snedeker said. "I made the change in Tampa and I really have a lot of confidence in it now.''

Tee shots and putting will be keys at Medinah, the Chicago area course set up to host the 39th Ryder Cup Sept. 28-30.

"It's a major championship golf course. The greens are fast and slippery, which is the way I like them. It's one of those old courses, the kind I like to play,'' Snedeker said.

As far as his length off the tee, Snedeker said he has recently picked up 5-10 yards off the tee just by changing drivers.

The 31-year-old pro with the shaggy surfer dude hair had been searching for an out-of-production Taylor Made driver, one that matched the one he broke the head on during a tournament.

"Some of the Taylor Made guys found one for me. They found it where it had been hidden away somewhere,'' Snedeker said.

So all the stars are aligning for Snedeker, who along with older brother Haymes, grew up here playing Metro courses as kids.

Brandt has been slowed with injuries and had to sit out several weeks this season after breaking ribs.

Love said if Snedeker and fellow captain's pick Dustin Johnson had been healthy all year, they probably would have made the team of eight players who earned their way on by their play.

"It's been very stressful, but now I've got to re-focus and try to play well the next two weeks in the FedEx,'' Snedeker. "This is a big stretch for me. I'm going to try to win it.''

Always strong around the greens, Snedeker's confidence in his game had to get a boost when he learned he made his first Ryder Cup team.

"I'm excited. I was pretty nervous. It didn't get to me until Sunday at Boston. I didn't know if that round would be the one that put me on the team.''

Some would claim Love picked Snedeker because they share the same management company and both have residences and practice at Sea Island, Ga. Those critics would be wrong.

"Davis did what he felt was best for his team,'' Snedeker said.
 
Snedeker has grown a lot since he broke down on Masters Sunday in 2008. Tied for the lead after two holes, Snedeker suffered eight bogeys on the final 16 holes. He was choking back tears in the media building as he faced the music.

Now he can put Ryder Cup member on his resume. The sun is shining bright on Snedeker. Playing for his country, it doesn't get any better.

At least he can get some sleep now.

Contact Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at joebiddle11@gmail.com.

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