x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Tour Championship win like a lottery for Brandt Snedeker

American golfer won $11 million, and plans to use winnings to "make a difference and help a lot of people out in Tennessee".

Brandt Snedeker won the Tour Championship in Atlanta.
Brandt Snedeker won the Tour Championship in Atlanta.

American golfer Brandt Snedeker admitted he felt like a lottery winner last night after victory at the Tour Championship in Atlanta earned him a staggering $11 million (Dh40m).

"It's a little bit crazy," said the 31-year-old from Nashville after denying world number one Rory McIlroy the title of FedEx Cup champion to go with everything else he has done this season.

"I'm not by any means a flashy guy. I drive the same car I've had since I've been on the PGA Tour - I've had it four and a half and it's got 24,000 miles on it.

"Of anybody that I know I do not need $11 million [Dh40m].

"So there are going to be things we can do to really help people. That's the way I look at it - I really think we can make a difference and help a lot people out in Tennessee and the surrounding areas.

"I've got a little boy on the way in a month. My life is about to change drastically not because of this money, but because I'm going to have two kids."

Before then - this week, in fact - Snedeker also has a first Ryder Cup to enjoy. He is one of the four American wild cards.

"I know it's going to be a pressure-packed week, but I'm going to use this as a huge thing to fall back on. I'm playing the best golf of my career."

The $11m is the same that McIlroy has earned in a year which has included his second major victory and three other tournament wins.

But with Justin Rose finishing runner-up in the event and moving to a career-high fifth in the world it is Europe who will have four of the world's top five on view at Medinah in the Ryder Cup.

The 24 players are all in the game's top 35, prompting Rose to say last night: "I think it's set up for a great week. It's probably as strong as it's ever been between two teams."

McIlroy tops the rankings, of course, but after four play-off events in five weeks - and victories in the middle two of them - the 23-year-old Northern Irish superstar said: "I just hope we are fresh.

"I think everybody is going to take a day off (today). It's a draining week on and off the course."

On seeing Snedeker snatch the big prize off him he added: "I'm a little disappointed to be honest.

"I didn't play the way I wanted to. I only hit three fairways (none in his first 10 holes) and you can't do that around this place.

"But at the same time Brandt really deserves to win. If you look at his stats (especially the one showing he missed only one putt under eight feet in the 72 holes) he played the best golf.

"He needed to come in here and win. He controlled his own destiny just like I did and he was able to do it."

There will still be those who believe McIlroy should have been given more of an advantage entering the final play-off event, but the points were reset to allow the top five to win the cup with a victory and Snedeker was in fifth place after finishing second, sixth and 37th in the previous three.

If Rose had won McIlroy would have taken the £6.1million and when they saw each other after finishing McIlroy said to his team-mate: "I wish you had done me a favour."

Snedeker looked as if he might be about to throw it away when he followed McIlroy into the lake on the short sixth and double-bogeyed, but he birdied four of the next 11 holes and so could easily afford a closing bogey.

"I'm not going to complain and I'm not going to criticise the format - you've got to play well every week," added McIlroy.

"It's been a great year and I'm very happy with how I'm playing still.

"I'm very excited about next week."

So is Luke Donald after two 67s at the weekend lifted him into a tie for third with American Ryan Moore, who bogeyed the last three holes after drawing level with Snedeker.

The world number three said: "One, it's the Ryder Cup and some of my best moments in golf have been during that event and obviously being in Chicago, the place I've lived for the last 15 years.

"Hopefully I can take away a small percentage of the home crowd support."

Lee Westwood stays fourth in the rankings despite finishing 30th and last way down on 15 over par, 25 strokes adrift of Snedeker.

He did come second to McIlroy in the third play-off event, however, and stated: "The speed of the greens came as a bit of a shock this week, but my game's not far away.

"It was my first time in the play-offs and I'd only played Bethpage before."

The astronomical sums on offer were such that even bringing up the rear in the tournament and dropping to 10th in the overall standings earned the 39-year-old nearly £400,000.

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