By CHRISTOPHER POWERS
There’s only one, very simple swing thought you need when standing on the tee at Pebble Beach’s iconic par-5 18th: don’t go left. Put your ball in the Pacific Ocean and par is best-case scenario, depending on where it last crossed land.
As we saw with the long-hitting Rory McIlroy a year ago, some guys can still knock it on and steal a birdie. And by some guys we mean Rory and a handful of others:
For players like Brandt Snedeker, who don’t possess the length needed to simply take your drop and still hit the green in regulation, going left at Pebble’s 18th usually spells doom. Unless of course the ball hangs up on the beach and the waves don’t happen to be crashing into the rock wall down the left side. In that case, hop on down there, play an extremely gutsy shot back over the wall, put the next one on the green and make your four.
It’s a simple game, really:
Just like he drew it up. Sure, it was an aggressive play that could have gone horribly wrong, but these guys know what they are doing.
That early birdie-of-the-year candidate capped off a bogey-free, three-under 69 for Sneds on Thursday, putting him just four shots off the lead.