Commentary

Snedeker's putting gaffe proves costly

Originally Published: September 13, 2009
By Bob Harig | ESPN.com

LEMONT, Ill. -- There are a lot of ways to look at what making a mess of the final green at Cog Hill cost Brandt Snedeker on Sunday.

Let's look at the cold hard cash. By 4-putting the 18th green, Snedeker cost himself approximately $100,000 from the $7.5 million BMW Championship purse, dropping from what would have been a tie for eighth to a tie for 10th.

[+] EnlargeBrandt Snedeker
Scott Halleran/Getty ImagesBrandt Snedeker took full responsibility for thinking too far ahead while playing the 18th hole Sunday. "Shows you what I need to work on. It's 100 percent mental. It's nothing physical at all. We'll work on it and hopefully be stronger next year."

Then there are the FedEx Cup points he missed out on, which dropped him from 28th in the standings to 33rd. That means he misses out on a spot in the Tour Championship, which takes only the top 30.

So Snedeker also misses out on a minimum of $120,000 or so -- last-place money in Atlanta -- plus the bonus money that goes to those who compete for the FedEx Cup, which is an additional $175,000.

And to add more pain, by qualifying for the Tour Championship, Snedeker would have been assured a spot in the Masters, U.S. Open and British Open next year.

"I just showed you why 3-footers that mean something are a lot longer than they look," Snedeker said.

"I just started thinking about the wrong things, man; I didn't concentrate over the bogey putt and I was thinking about all the stuff the Tour Championship comes with, and I did everything you're not supposed to do. I'm sure Doc [Bob] Rotella and I will have a nice long talk tonight and he'll tell me everything I did wrong and we'll learn from it."

Snedeker began the day tied for second, 7 strokes behind eventual winner Tiger Woods. He played the front nine in even par, then made two bogeys on the first four holes of the back nine.

On the 18th hole, Snedeker was in 28th place in the projected points, and he asked NBC's Roger Maltbie what he needed in order to stay in the top 30 after having to lay up in front of the pond.

"I thought I had to make par and he told me bogey would get in," Snedeker said. "Shouldn't have affected me. Shows you how weak mentally I am. Shows you what I need to work on. We'll work on it and we'll be back next year."

After hitting his third shot on the green, Snedeker had a 12-footer for par and left himself a 3-footer for bogey that would have gotten him into the Tour Championship. After he missed that putt, Snedeker fell asleep on the tap-in, leading to the 4-putt.

"I just yipped it," he said of the second putt. "I mean, it was a full-out yip. I haven't seen the replay yet. I'm sure it will look pretty bad on replay. But it's unfortunate. I played really well for 95 percent of the week and the last hole got me. I had a lot of chances today and just didn't make any putts. Period."

Snedeker missed two months this year with a rib injury and has played 13 of the past 14 weeks to put himself in position to make the Tour Championship.

He said he had not thought about that all day until seeing Maltbie in the 18th fairway.

"It's probably something I shouldn't have asked him. I probably should have gone on my merry way and tried to make par," Snedeker said. "Shows you what I need to work on. It's 100 percent mental. It's nothing physical at all. We'll work on it and hopefully be stronger next year."

The mistake allowed John Senden -- who thought he had blown his chance by making a double-bogey at the 17th hole -- to sneak into the 30th and final spot by less than 1 point over Ian Poulter.

Bob Harig covers golf for ESPN.com. He can be reached at BobHarig@gmail.com.

Bob Harig | email

Golf Writer, ESPN.com

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