If you are a golf fan in Middle Tennessee, odds are good you have heard of PGA player Brandt Snedeker. The Nashville native attended Montgomery Bell Academy and Vanderbilt University and won the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship in 2003. After Brandt won that title, he proudly displayed the trophy in the clubhouse at McCabe Golf Course, the public Nashville course that was his home track growing up. Since turning pro in 2004, Brandt has won nine PGA tournaments during his career, including two victories apiece at the legendary West Coast courses: Pebble Beach and Torrey Pines. In 2012, Brandt was crowned champion of the FedEx Cup after winning the prestigious year-ending Tour Championship and a cool $10 million payday.

Always dedicated to his hometown of Nashville, where he still lives with his wife Mandy and two children, Brandt decided to use some of his prize money to set up The Snedeker Foundation. Through his foundation, Brandt has raised more than $1 million for Middle Tennessee charities supporting the community on social and athletic fronts. Among the causes that Brandt has helped is Our Kids, an organization providing medical evaluations and crisis counseling services in response to concerns of child sexual abuse while also working to increase community awareness, education and training about child maltreatment.

On the golf front, Brandt partners with the Tennessee Golf Foundation to support the Sneds Tour, a year-round junior golf tour in Tennessee aimed at allowing kids to learn, play and enjoy golf, while also making the competition more affordable through lower entry and registration fees. He has also established a local tournament featuring players from the PGA’s second level Korn Ferry Tour to raise money for his foundation and its good works.

Previously known as the Nashville Golf Open, the tournament has been renamed the Simmons Bank Open for the Snedeker Foundation after signing an eight-year partnership deal with the Arkansas-based bank as the title sponsor. The tournament will return to Nashville Golf & Athletic Club in Brentwood for the fifth time April 30-May 3, 2020, with 156 players competing for a $600,000 purse.

As he prepares to compete in the auspicious Players Championship on March 12-15 at the TPC Sawgrass course in Ponte Vedra, Florida, Brandt answered 10 questions about that important tournament and his hometown.

10 Questions With Brandt Snedeker

Why is The Players Championship so important to you, and what would it mean to you to win it?

It’s The Players’ major: the deepest field in golf, the best field in golf. It’s at our own course, TPC Sawgrass. It seems to identify a great champion every year. You know you’re going to have to play your very best to get that trophy. To be on that list of champions would be something very special.

Why is it important to you to live in Nashville when so many other players move their home bases to warmer parts of the country?

Nashville is great! It’s home. I grew up here and went to school here, and I love it. It’s a great place to raise a family. It’s a great city. You get four seasons, and I enjoy the weather, I enjoy the people, and I enjoy the town. At some point, you have to put the quality of life over your job, and that’s kind of what I did.

Brandt Snedeker crouching down on golf course

Brandt it a lifelong Nashvillian who proudly chooses to call Music City home. Image: Ben Jared, PGA TOUR

What are some of your favorite places around Nashville to hit up when you’re in town?

I don’t go downtown very much anymore because I’ve got kids. But I try to make sure to see a Preds game when I’m home at that time of the year. It’s a great atmosphere. There are a bunch of great restaurants and bars right around the arena downtown, so you can’t really go wrong with that. Out where I live is The Loveless Cafe. I try to go by there and have breakfast at least once a week when I’m home.

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As a Nashville native, how do you feel about the changes happening in town, and how do you handle them?

Like I said, I avoid downtown a lot more than I used to just because it’s gotten so crazy. One of the great things about Nashville being such a cool city to live in is that it brings in a lot of people who want to experience it. But for all the negatives, I’ll take the positives and try not to dwell on the traffic too much.

Who are some of your favorite Nashville sports teams and players?

I love every Nashville sports team, the Predators, the Titans. I was a huge Derrick Henry fan after what he did last year. Brett Kern’s a buddy of mine. He’s probably the best punter in football. All the hockey players love playing golf, so I’ve gotten to know Ryan Johansen pretty well, and Austin Watson and a few other guys on the team. They probably like golf even more than I like hockey, so it’s fun to go down there and hang out with them and watch a game.

Brandt Snedeker in golf tournament

Brandt tells us this year’s Simmons Bank Open creates fan interest while raising money for The Snedeker Foundation. Image: Ben Jared, PGA TOUR

Can you share some details about this year’s Simmons Bank Golf Open?

We’re excited having Simmons Bank come in with an eight-year sponsorship. It gives us some stability, and we’re going to be able to raise the profile of the event. We can do some more things for the players to make it more of a player-friendly atmosphere. We’ll be able to generate some more fan interest out there this year and raise more for the foundation to do a lot of great stuff for junior golf and children around the Middle Tennessee area. We’ll be able to get some of those children out there to watch some of the greatest players in the world, so it’ll be pretty cool for them. We’ve got a lot of great things going on right now.

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How important is it to have a long-term sponsorship from Simmons Bank?

It’s huge! When you have that kind of eight-year stability, it allows you to do some things kind of long-term that you probably couldn’t do otherwise. We’ve got four great presenting sponsors that allow us to grow the event up. Hopefully, we’ll be able to do some really special things.

Can you tell us a little bit about The Snedeker Foundation and who it helps in Middle Tennessee?

When I won the FedEx Cup in 2012, it became my time to ask what I could do for Middle Tennessee. Growing up here, going to school here, and living here, I wanted to make sure whatever I did would really impact the people here. Not so much nationally but more locally. We partnered with Our Kids, who do a lot with sexual abuse and raising awareness. My wife’s really involved with that.

What should readers know about the Sneds Tour?

My passion is obviously junior golf and helping kids who played the tour that I did growing up: the Tennessee Junior Golf Tour. I sponsored that tour about five years ago. Now we have 1,600 kids playing 91 events, giving kids the chance to play on great courses across the state. We give lots of scholarships, need-based scholarships for college. It’s something I’m passionate about just because it got me out here playing on the PGA Tour. Growing up, kids were playing great events across the state of Tennessee when my parents were working, and I couldn’t travel. I’m excited to be able to help kids across the whole state of Tennessee and growing it and making it special.

What are your opinions about the chance of Nashville receiving a PGA tournament sometime soon, and how does your tournament figure into that possibility?

I’m very excited about that opportunity, and I think it’s going to happen. Whether it happens sooner or later, I couldn’t tell you. I think the Simmons Bank Open we have coming up is a huge test case for Nashville. Can we support it? Can the local community get behind it? If they do that and show the Tour that we’re ready, willing and able to support a Tour event, they’ll be all about it! Sponsorship I don’t think will be an issue. The only issue we have right now is finding a course that can host the full footprint that a Tour event brings with it when it comes to town, so hopefully, we can figure that out!

Watch Brandt Snedeker tee it up against the greatest field in golf at The Players Championship March 12-15 on NBC and The Golf Channel. And make plans to attend Brandt’s local tournament, the Simmons Bank Golf Open at Nashville Golf & Athletic Club in Brentwood April 30-May 3.

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