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Golf Tidbits: Snedeker moving to another level

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Updated: 7/30/2013 9:44 am

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - In his seventh full year on the PGA Tour, Brandt Snedeker is starting to make the move to another level.

Snedeker picked up his second win of the season last week in Canada, and that made it two straight years with more than one win. The next step will be to win a major or a World Golf Championship event. He has that opportunity in each of the next two weeks.

Can we just give him one now? Of course not, but he is gaining experience that will help him win one sooner, rather than later.

Snedeker, 32, has finished in the top 20 in five of the last six majors that he played. Not many can match that record.

However, his record in the World Golf Championships leaves plenty to be desired. He was a third-round loser at the WGC - Accenture Match Play in 2012, and that tie for ninth was his best finish in seven WGC appearances. Otherwise, he doesn't own a top-25 finish at a WGC.

The multiple wins in the last two seasons have moved him to second on the points list for the American Presidents Cup team. His spot on that team is guaranteed as players can only accumulate points this week and next at the PGA Championship.

Surprisingly, that will mark just his second national team appearance. He was a captain's pick for the 2012 U.S. Ryder Cup team, where he posted a 1-2 record.

With a WGC and a major in the next two weeks, it is time for Snedeker to grab a hold of that mantle as being one of the best putters on tour. He needs to come through these next two weeks, then again at the Presidents Cup, the first week of October, to really make that move to the next level.

One key for Snedeker, outside of his putting, will be how well he drives the ball these next two weeks. He ranks 114th in total driving, distance and accuracy combined. If he can improve that number within the top 50 in each of the next two events, look out.

From there, he can use his iron game and putting stats to carry him. Snedeker is 23rd in greens in regulation, 10th in strokes gained putting and second in birdie average.

Those numbers add up to him ranking seventh in scoring average.

Now is Snedeker's time to prove that he should be talked about as one of the best in the game.

Though the system may be flawed, Snedeker has risen to seventh in the world golf rankings, ahead of such luminaries as Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia.

At seventh in the rankings, he is the fourth highest ranked American, behind Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Matt Kuchar. With his strong play in limited appearances, Steve Stricker could remain in the conversation to be among the best four Americans.

But Snedeker has earned his way into the conversation. He has four straight top-20 finishes and shares the tour lead with eight top-10 finishes on the season.

Eight top-10s in 16 starts. Even with my fuzzy math, that means he's been in the top 10 in 50 percent of his starts.

The numbers say he'll post a top-10 in one of the next two weeks. If he plays his numbers correctly, maybe one of them will be a first-place finish.

HOW LOW WIll THEY GO ON THE WEB.COM TOUR?

My former co-worker, Gerard Gallagher, created a 59-file to keep track of who shot 59 and when. We also would leave in there players that scared that magical number.

But just how magical is the 59 anymore? Twice in the last three weeks, someone on the Web.com Tour has posted that number.

Before we look at that round, let's examine the numbers at the Boise Open. In round one, there were two 62s and a 63. Round two gave us Russell Knox's 59, two more 62s and seven 63s. On to round three, where there was a 61, a 62 and three more 63s. In the final round, there were five 63s to match low round of the day honors.

For the week, that adds up to 23 rounds of 63 or better. No wonder they set the tour's one-day scoring record in back-to-back days.

Knox joined Will Wilcox as the two recent members of the 59 club. In Knox's round of 59, he carded two eagles and eight birdies. He parred the last two holes.

Wilcox posted 10 birdies and an eagle in his 12-under 59. He birdied the final two holes to post that magic number, but also parred a par-5 along the way.

There are 25 players averaging under 70.00 on the Web.com Tour compared to 13 on the PGA Tour.

The Web.com Tour has been the proving ground for hundreds of PGA Tour winners and several major champions. But, they need to start making these events a little harder.

The winning score has reached 15-under par or lower 12 times on both tours. For the PGA Tour, it took 31 tournaments to reach that number, while the Web.com Tour needed only 17 events to get there.

Tighten the fairways and speed up the greens. The guys on both tours need to be able to grind out more wins at 5- or- 6-under par.

MINI-TIDBITS

* Hunter Mahan didn't leave millions on the table by walking away from the second-round lead at the Canadian Open because his wife went into labor, but he walked the walk. Players say they would walk off on the back nine of a major, even if they were leading, to be there for the birth of a child. They may never come to that decision, but Mahan got close to that and did the right thing.

* She deserves more than the final tidbit, but Inbee Park is going for her fourth straight win in a major championship this week at the Women's British Open. It will be a fascinating watch at the home of golf, St. Andrews.

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