Friday, September 13, 2013

The Man from Vandy -- Two in a Row?

Last year, Brandt Snedeker -- who had won three tournaments in his career -- won the Tour Championship in Atlanta to take home the FedEx Cup and $10 million in prize money.  This June, in one of the most interesting sports stories I read all year, the New York Times reported that Snedeker had been inspired by the movie Moneyball:

Using statistics as his guide to everything, including which tournaments to enter and which holes to play aggressively, Snedeker has experienced his own star turn.  In six months beginning last September, he won two of his five tour titles, including the 2012 Tour Championship.

This year, Snedeker has had another solid year -- he won two of my favorite tournaments, the Pebble Beach Pro-Am and the Canadian Open.  His six career victories match the total collected by Lou Graham, Nashville's other famous golfer.  And today, Snedeker is leading the Western Open (they may call it the BMW Championship, but it's still the Western Open to me).  If Snedeker picks up this victory, he will be in first place in FedEx points heading into the Tour Championship.

In the past, I've been somewhat dismissive of Snedeker, due mainly to his struggles in the major tournaments.  But as goofy as the FedEx Cup system is, winning it twice in a row would be an impressive accomplishment.


  1. In the heyday of my parents' wheel-thrown stoneware traveling salvation show, Dad had come up with a formula to tell him which types of pieces to take to which shows. This was a key cocktail to concoct in terms of maximizing profitability because their pottery was very heavy (and, therefore, demanded a lot of fuel in transport), because there's only so much room in the back of a Dodge Ram pickup and because what you don't want to do is get to 2 p.m. Sunday 200 miles from home and be sold out of one type of pot and have far more of another than what you're ever going to sell in the last three hours before they start kicking everybody out of the ol' fairgrounds (or wherever). So, Dad--who had done stuff like estimating how much for construction companies to bid on jobs like building the pump stations along the Alaskan pipeline or NASA's Vertical Assembly Building--came up with this formula that factored data such as previous years' sales per product at that given show, product trends in that specific year and even stuff like regional jobs data. Anyway, he worked on this thing for about 20 years, and, by the time I got into college, it was pretty darned effective. I visited them on a Sunday at a show they did at the city park in Dawson Springs, Ky., and I couldn't believe when we got to 5 p.m. It took about 30 minutes to break down the tables and the tent, to load up the wheel and to slide 30 or so empty McDonald's pickle barrels into one another and throw into the back of the Ram. Almost every piece of pottery that they had brought (and they never left any space in the back end of the truck) had been sold. We ate like champs at the Pennyrile buffet that night.

  2. It's never easy for Vandy. Jim Furyk just shot a 59 -- a 59! -- to tie Snedeker at 11 under par.