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American odds-on favorite for rookie award

"Being a rookie, you really don"t know where you are going to get in,"" Snedeker said. "My goal for the year was to try and play as many events as I could on tour, see where I liked to play, what fit my eye, what didn"t fit my eye. I kept playing better through the second half of the year and just wanted to keep playing. "

The result was all good.

"It"s been overwhelming to say the least, I wasn"t expecting it,"" Snedeker said. "I was just trying to make sure I had a job for next year. The only downside now is that I"ve got to try to improve on it next year.""

And "next"" year begins now, says Snedeker.

"After my eight-week break, this is really the beginning of my year, to get my game going and find out where it is,"" he said. "We"re in the middle of summer here, great weather. It hasn"t felt great the first two days, but I"m hoping it"s better on Thursday.""

Snedeker celebrates his 27th birthday on Saturday - when he hopes to be mixing it with Adam Scott, Rory Sabbatini, defending PGA champion Nick O"Hern and Stuart Appleby on a golf course that reminds him of the manicured Florida layouts.

O"Hern is happy to see Snedeker here.

"It"s fantastic - the more international players we can get down here, obviously the better,"" O"Hern said. "I think the public will see guys they haven"t seen before and I"m sure by the end of the week they"ll remember who they are.""

Having such a strong first year has predictably made Snedeker"s time in Japan and Australia feel all the more sweet. He even finds a positive in jet lag.

"Finding out how your body reacts and how your golf game reacts to traveling can never be a negative thing,"" Snedeker says. "We travel coast to coast in the States and over to Europe for the British Open. I think it can"t do anything but help us.""

But he doesn"t begrudge other Americans or PGA tour regulars who decide to stay home after a long season.

"If I had three kids at home and they were in high school and I was missing three weeks with them, it would be a different story,"" he says. "I"m young, I love to travel. I have no excuse not to.""

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