ORLANDO, Fla. — When last seen on a golf course, Brandt Snedeker was capping off an amazing run by winning the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. He mentioned his ribs being sore, but never let on that the pain began to increase over the last four or five holes that Sunday.
That was five tournaments ago.
Snedeker, who also missed the U.S. Open last summer because of a rib injury, returns to competition this week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He said his rib muscle was strained on the left side, which was causing the pain. And while the two rib injuries are not related, there is concern about why it keeps happening.
“I had about every test run you can possibly have run," Snedeker said. “The good news is I’m completely healthy. The bad news is I’m completely healthy. So I don’t know why it keeps happening. I was kind of hoping that something would creep up that would lead me to see why this keeps happening, and nothing came up. So just have to chalk it up to bad luck, I guess, and get back healthy."
He could have returned last week in the Tampa Bay Championship but sat out one more week as a precaution. Instead, he added the Houston Open next week, with everything geared toward being ready for the Masters.
His expectations haven’t changed, even though Snedeker surely accumulated some rest over the past month. He was considered the hottest guy in golf, finishing runner-up in consecutive weeks to Tiger Woods (Torrey Pines) and Phil Mickelson (Phoenix) before winning at Pebble.
So strong was his performance that Snedeker remains No. 1 in the FedEx Cup standings, even though Woods has won twice. He remains No. 4 in the world.
Tiger tales: Even if Tiger Woods doesn’t win at Bay Hill and return to No. 1 in the world, he is assured of one record this week.
Woods will be among the top 10 in the world for the 789th week, breaking by one week the record held by Ernie Els. Woods first reached the top 10 after winning the Masters in 1997 (he went from No. 13 to No. 3 that week), and he stayed there for 736 consecutive week until May 15, 2011, when he dropped out of the top 10 after withdrawing from The Players Championship.
He returned to the top 10 after winning at Bay Hill last year and has been there ever since.
Meanwhile, Bay Hill is the first of two chances Woods has this year to tie Sam Snead’s record on the PGA Tour for most wins at one tournament. Snead won the Greater Greensboro Open eight times.
Woods has seven wins at Bay Hill and seven wins at Firestone. He won for the eighth time at Torrey Pines in January, but one of those was the U.S. Open.