PEBBLE BEACH -- Brandt Snedeker, the nice guy who finished first at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am last year, says his main goal this year is to stay injury-free.
That might not be as easy as it sounds for the devoted family man who will defend his title at the Feb. 6-9 event at Pebble Beach, Monterey Peninsula Country Club and Spyglass Hill.
After knee and rib injuries plagued him in 2013, Snedeker, 33, pronounced himself "100 percent" healthy at Thursday's media day event at Monterey Peninsula.
An encouraging sign: He finished tied for 11th at the grueling Tournament of Champions in Maui on Jan. 6, feeling no ill-effects from a freak knee injury he suffered jumping off a Segway in China in November. He was diagnosed with a strained ACL and bruised tibia.
"Injuries are a part of my career story so far," Snedeker said. "I'm trying to put that all behind me, but that's part of who I am at this point. But I feel like I've played some great golf over the past two years, and I think the best is yet to come."
Snedeker shut it down for six weeks after winning the 2013 AT&T event, dealing with a rib injury he suffered the week before. He gutted out a brilliant 65 on the final round at Pebble.
Unfortunately for him, the shudown came when he was red-hot. He'd finished second in in back-to-back events before the AT&T tourney.
"After Sunday (at Pebble) I knew there was something really wrong," he said. "Luckily, I was able to hold on and play well under those kinds of circumstances and get the 'W.' ... It's unfortunate. I was playing the best golf of my career. I felt I like I'd figured something out and was on the right path. I take six weeks off and kind of had to start over again."
Evidence shows that Snedeker, a dead-eye putter, enjoys the layouts in Monterey County. Moreover, Snedeker, a Nashville, Tenn., native, feels at home on the road traveling with his wife, Mandy, and their two young children, Lily and Austin.
"It's been great, a great distraction for me," he said of his family life. "It puts in perspective what's important in life and what's not. Even though golf is extremely important to me and my career is important, I realize those two little kids and my wife are what's important. It's really helped me a lot."
Pebble Beach seems to touch his golfing soul.
"It's great to be back here at Pebble, which is obviously a special place. That goes without saying," said Snedeker, a six-time winner. "It's one of my favorite places in the world. I love coming here and playing golf. Seeing Monterey Peninsula this morning brought back a bunch of great memories, and I can't wait to get back here in a month. ... It has so much great history. I'm kind of shell-shocked to see my picture back up there with some of the great champions that are on this list of champions."
He said his schedule is groomed for success at the majors this year.