From Comcast SportsNetATLANTA (AP) -- Brandt Snedeker doesn't claim to be the best player in the world, the best player on the PGA Tour or even the best overall player in the FedEx Cup playoffs. All he needed was the best round of his career at East Lake to become FedEx Cup champion, giving him the biggest paycheck in golf.And he's not about to apologize for that."Life is all about timing," Snedeker said with a sneaky grin.He proved to be the right man in the right place Sunday in the Tour Championship. On a tough day on a tree-lined course, Snedeker overcame an early double bogey in the water with four big birdies and closed with a 2-under 68, making him the only player in the final five groups to break par.That gave him a three-shot win over Justin Rose and two trophies in one day -- the Tour Championship and its 1.44 million prize, and the FedEx Cup with its 10 million. That's more money than Snedeker had made in his career going into the 2012 season."You go out there and play that round of golf, with that kind of pressure on that tough of a golf course, and to go through the adversity I had to go through, hitting the ball in the water and making a double bogey early and fighting my way back ... that's what you work your whole life for," he said. "This is about as close as I get to speechless."Snedeker was tied with Rose going into the last round, though he could not ignore the presence of Rory McIlroy, who was three shots behind, and Tiger Woods, who was four back. McIlroy (1), Woods (2) and Snedeker (5) were among the top five seeds in the FedEx Cup going into the final event, meaning any of them only had to win the Tour Championship to capture the FedEx Cup.Never mind that McIlroy had won four times this year against the strongest fields, including a record eight-shot win in the PGA Championship and back-to-back wins in playoff events at Bethpage Black and the TPC Boston that make him the clear-cut No. 1 player in the world.The FedEx Cup was designed to put everything up for grabs in the Tour Championship, with the better odds given to the higher seeds.McIlroy, who had 11 consecutive rounds in the 60s going into Sunday at East Lake, knew that as well as anyone. This is one time the Boy Wonder couldn't deliver. He lost four shots in a four-hole stretch on the front nine -- including a tee shot in the water on the par-3 sixth for a double bogey -- and never recovered.He closed with a 74 and tied for 10th."I'm a little disappointed, but at the same time, Brandt really deserves to win," McIlroy said. "He played the best golf out of anyone. He knew what he needed to do. He needed to come in here and win. He controlled his own destiny, just like I did. And he was able to come and do that. So because of that, he really deserves it."Woods also faded early, missing the fairway with a 3-wood on the opening hole and making bogey. He also found the water on the sixth hole for double bogey, and Woods didn't make a birdie until the par-5 ninth. He ended with a birdie from tap-in range on the 18th for a 72 to tie for eighth."I just didn't have it this weekend," said Woods, trying to win the FedEx Cup for the third time in its six-year history.Snedeker turned his fortunes around with a 40-foot birdie putt on the eighth hole, which was bound to roll some 6 feet by the hole until it crashed into the cup. As Rose kept close, Snedeker poured in an 18-foot birdie putt on the 13th. When Ryan Moore made two straight birdies to tie for the lead at the par-5 15th, Snedeker knocked his approach onto the green for a two-putt birdie.The clincher came on the 17th, when Snedeker chipped in from the front of the green to take a four-shot lead into the final hole. He never looked at a leaderboard all day. He was unaware that Moore finished with three straight bogeys, and only figured he had a comfortable margin against Rose.In his worst swing of the day, Snedeker hammered a hybrid into the grandstands on the 18th, leading to a meaningless bogey.There were times when golf could have felt meaningless. Snedeker had to miss five tournaments this summer, including the U.S. Open, with a rib injury that might have cost him a chance at making the Ryder Cup team. U.S. captain Davis Love III picked him anyway because he wanted good putters.If there were any questions about that pick, Snedeker answered them."He's looking pretty good, yeah," Woods said.More than his own small injury, Snedeker endured a year in which his father had a liver transplant. More recently, the son of his swing coach suffered critical injuries in a car crash. Tucker Anderson, in a responsive coma, was transferred to an Atlanta hospital, and Snedeker went by to see him Sunday morning.The teen couldn't speak, but the message came through."I asked him if he thought I was going to beat Rory McIlroy, and he gave me a wink," Snedeker said.Equally impressive as his win was how Snedeker handled the notion of an 11.44 million payday (1 million of the FedEx Cup bonus goes into his retirement fund). He called a sum that size "like winning the lottery," before explaining a little bit more about who he is and how he was raised.His father always taught him not to buy anything he couldn't pay for, and Snedeker has followed the instruction. He has a house in Nashville, Tenn., that he said was "not grandiose." He still drives the SUV he bought after he made it to the PGA Tour six years ago."I'm not by any means a flashy guy," he said. "Of anybody that I know, I do not need 11 million. So there are going to be things we can do to really help people. So that's the way I look at it. This is unbelievable to be financially stable for the rest of my career. As long as I'm not an idiot, I should be fine, really. I really think we can make a difference and help a lot of people out in Nashville and Tennessee and the surrounding areas."Next up is a tournament that doesn't pay a dime. Snedeker was headed to Chicago on Monday for his first Ryder Cup. A performance like this can only help."I'm not under any illusion of being calm next week," he said. "I know it's going to be a very pressure-packed week. But I am going to use today as a huge thing to fall back on next week. I played against the best in the world this week for 72 holes and I beat them."At just the right time.
Stephen Curry is a two time MVP. Kevin Durant is a one-time MVP and four-time scoring champ. Draymond Green is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year. Klay Thompson, owner of the game’s most picturesque jumper, once scored 60 points in 29 minutes.
The Warriors not only have reached the playoffs in five consecutive seasons for the first time since moving to California in 1962 but also own the single-season wins record and have won two championships over the last three seasons.
All of which explains why fans, athletes and coaches following the NBA tend to shower them with praise. They respect the coaching staff, are impressed with the front office and envy the roster.
Longtime fans know this is a completely new feeling. They recall so many past Warriors teams with sardonic fondness because, well, the bad old days in the Bay were a local joke.
As the team’s play-by-play man since 1995, Tim Roye remembers those days, and we discussed them on this week’s Warriors Insider Podcast. Specifically, I asked Roye to name his personal 13-man roster generated from Warriors between his arrival in ’95 and the drafting of Stephen Curry in 2009.
Roye’s draft picks, along with many of his other observations, are available on the podcast. Mine, which were not given on the podcast, are available here.
In alphabetical order: Gilbert Arenas, Baron Davis, Monta Ellis, Tim Hardaway, Chris Mullin, Jason Richardson and Latrell Sprewell.
Arenas, taken in the second round of the 2001 draft, quickly became a local sensation. He was here for only two seasons and, despite the pleas of local fans, left for big money as a free agent. At his best, his scoring skill was unsurpassed.
Davis, stolen in a 2005 trade with Charlotte, gave the Warriors a much-needed shot of credibility the minute he walked through the door. Following a lot of bad Warriors deals, BD was the best player trade acquisition since Bernard King in 1980.
Ellis, selected sfrom a Mississippi high school in the second round of the 2005 draft, came to California as a shy teenager and eventually blossomed into electricity in sneakers. He was a wonderful scorer with crazy quicks and a deadly midrange J.
Hardaway, drafted out of UTEP in the first round, 14th overall in 1989, was the original crossover king, except he referred to it as the UTEP two-step. Difficult to contain and utterly fearless, he is a Hall of Famer in waiting.
Mullin, drafted out of St. John’s in the first round, seventh overall in 1985, Mullin was a fabulous shooter and a deft passer who became a five-time All-Star as a Warrior. His Hall of Fame ticket was punched in 2011.
Richardson, drafted from Michigan State in the first round, fifth overall in 2001, quickly became the team’s most exciting player. That he won the dunk contest as a rookie, and again the next season, provided a rare thrill for local fans.
Sprewell, drafted 24th overall out of Alabama in 1992, was popular until he jumped coach P.J. Carlesimo and was suspended and shipped out of town in 1997. Over a 19-year stretch ending in 2013, he was the team’s only All-Star. He made it three times.
In alphabetical order: Andris Biedrins, Antawn Jamison, Stephen Jackson, Troy Murphy, Joe Smith.
Selected in the first round, 11th overall, in 2004, Biedrins was only 18 when he came to America. He had good hands, rebounded well and was developing into a solid center before he fell victim to confidence issues and the trappings of the good life.
Jamison, selected in a bizarre draft-day deal in 1998, was the best player on some wretched teams. A good rebounder and scorer -- he once had back-to-back 50-point games -- the power forward became an All-Star after he left the Warriors in 2003.
Jackson was picked up in a January 2007 trade with Indiana and it didn’t take long to see his value at both ends. The small forward who could play big makes this team for one primary reason: He stole Dirk Nowitzki’s soul in the 2007 playoffs.
Murphy was the second of two first-round picks in 2001, 14th overall. He wasn’t particularly athletic but he was an effective rebounder and a good shooter. He’d be a stretch-big, somewhere between Ryan Anderson and Mo Speights.
Smith was the team’s most recent No. 1 overall pick, in 1995. A natural power forward, he was named to the All-Rookie first team and was even better the next season. He faded in his third season, was traded and never reached full potential.
Jamal Crawford. Easy call. A Warriors for only 54 games in 2008-09, that was plenty to see the three-time Sixth Man of the Year could deliver instant offense like few others.
Is it a great team? No. But it’s a playoff team. We needed 13 seasons of history, which feels like cheating until you consider the franchise went more than 10 years, from November 1994 to March 2005, without anyone honored so much as Player of the Week.
Running back Carlos Hyde has proven to be a good fit for Kyle Shanahan’s offensive system.
And the man in charge of stocking the 49ers roster has taken notice of what Hyde has done on and off the field.
General manager John Lynch entered the playing field more than two weeks ago to greet Hyde with enthusiasm after Hyde was ejected for his tussle with Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman Frostee Rucker.
Hyde got involved during the scuffle that ensued after Cardinals safety Antoine Beathea delivered an illegal hit on 49ers quarterback C.J. Beathard as he was sliding.
“I was proud of Carlos because he fought for his teammate. He had his teammate’s back,” Lynch said on The 49ers Insider Podcast.
Sticking up for teammates was a lesson Steve Young and Jerry Rice imparted on the current team when they spoke to the team during training camp in August, Lynch said.
“That’s what I saw from Carlos,” Lynch said. “He got sick and tired of the refs not doing anything about our quarterback getting hit in the head. He finally had enough. I think at some point – particularly when you’re trying to build something – someone’s got to stand up and say, ‘No, we’re not having it. We’re not going to pushed around any more.’
“And did my emotions get the best of me? Maybe. But I was proud of Carlos, and not because he was kicked out of a game, because of the reason why. Because he had his teammate’s back. And I wanted to let him know that. I appreciated that.”
Hyde, whose contract is set to expire after the season, ranks 11th in the NFL with 592 yards rushing while averaging 4.2 yards per rushing attempt. He is sixth among running backs in the leauge with a 49ers-leading 42 receptions for 274 yards.
“Carlos has been fun to watch this year,” Lynch said. “He’s made a big-time commitment to the way we’re asking him to do things -- the way (running backs coach) Bobby Turner and Kyle are asking him to do things. He’s walking around the building with a smile. He’s enjoying playing football. You have to if you're going to have success in this game. We’re really pleased with the way Carlos is both behaving and playing.”