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Struggling Snedeker hopes to have game together to defend Canadian Open title

Brandt Snedeker of the United States poses with the championship trophy after winning the Canadian Open in Oakville, Ont., on Sunday, July 28, 2013. It's been a rough season for Snedeker but the 2012 Fed Ex Cup champion hopes to have his game ready to defend his RBC Canadian Open title in July. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

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Brandt Snedeker of the United States poses with the championship trophy after winning the Canadian Open in Oakville, Ont., on Sunday, July 28, 2013. It's been a rough season for Snedeker but the 2012 Fed Ex Cup champion hopes to have his game ready to defend his RBC Canadian Open title in July. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

MONTREAL - It's been a rough season for Brandt Snedeker but the 2012 Fed Ex Cup champion hopes to have his game ready to defend his RBC Canadian Open title in July.

Snedeker's best result so far this year is a tie for eighth place at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March. He sits 113th in FedEx Cup standings and has dropped to 31st in world rankings — not the results expected from a player ranked fourth in the world only two years ago.

"My golf game is not quite where I want it but I'm getting closer," Snedeker said Monday on a conference call. "I have another month to get ready."

The Canadian Open returns to Royal Montreal for the 10th time July 24-27. It will be the 60th anniversary of the last victory by a Canadian at the national open. The course's club pro Pat Fletcher won in 1954.

Tournament director Bill Paul announced that Snedeker, Ernie Els, Graeme McDowell, Luke Donald, Matt Kuchar, Jim Furyk and Hunter Mahan as well as Canadians Graham DeLaet, Mike Weir, David Hearn and Stephen Ames will be there.

Snedeker is confident he will find his best game soon.

"I go through peaks and valleys," the Nashville, Tenn., native said. "I'm not a very consistent player, but you have to ride through the rough patches.

"I feel I've ridden the rough patches out and I feel a hot patch should start soon. I'd love to play my best all year, but you have to have the mental fortitude to fight through it."

He is entering perhaps the most important part of the schedule, with the U.S. Open at Pinehurst in North Carolina June 12-15 and the British Open at Royal Liverpool in July, followed immediately by the Canadian Open.

Snedeker plans to play 10 of the next 12 weeks.

Last year's Canadian Open victory at Glen Abbey near Toronto was his sixth PGA Tour win and was particularly special because his caddy Scott Vail, is from Oshawa, Ont.

"I felt a lot of pressure last year on Sunday trying to pull it out for him," Snekeder said of his caddy of the last eight years, who got to take the Canadian flag from the 18th pin home as a souvenir. "He's been a good friend for a lot of years."

He caught a break when tournament leader Mahan pulled out after two rounds to be with is wife as she delivered a baby.

"Golf is a funny thing, you never know what's going to happen," he said. "Any time you win you have breaks go your way.

"It gave me a chance and when it happened, I took advantage of it."

Snedeker has a strong history at the Canadian Open. He tied for seventh at his first one in 2007, when he was PGA Tour rookie of the year, and tied for fifth in 2009.

He's never played at Royal Montreal, an old-style, tree-lined course in Ile-Bizard, Que., but said he saw it on TV as the Americans defeated the World team in the 2007 President's Cup and is looking forward to trying out its Blue course.

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