CASARES, Spain -- Deprived of his clubs and sleep following an emergency landing en route to Spain, Brandt Snedeker's first appearance in Spain isn't exactly going as planned.
The 26th-ranked American's journey from Miami to Madrid ahead of the Volvo World Match Play Championship in Spain was interrupted on Monday when his plane was forced to land after a passenger suffered a heart attack.
VOLVO WORLD MATCH PLAY CHAMPIONSHIP
Paul Lawrie becomes the 22nd player to make 500 or more starts on the European Tour this week. The record is 706 starts by Sam Torrance.
When he eventually arrived in Malaga on a connecting flight, he discovered his clubs and suitcase had been lost along the way, forcing him to use a makeshift set for Wednesday's pro-am.
''It's been weird,'' Snedeker said. ''It's been a long couple of days, but it's worth it to get here.''
Snedeker -- the only American in the tournament's 24-man field -- is hoping to have his clubs delivered in time for the first of his two matches in the round-robin stage, against Denmark's Thomas Bjorn on Thursday. A good night's sleep will come in handy as he starts his bid to become the first U.S. player to win the event since Mark O'Meara in 1998.
''We had to make the emergency landing in the middle of the ocean out in the Azores and spent three or four hours on the runway dealing with that situation,'' said Snedeker, who missed the cut at The Players Championship last week. ''So I'm a bit tired. I'm trying my best not to nap before tonight, that will be the main thing.''
Snedeker's other opponent in the group stage is South African rookie Branden Grace, who has already won three events on the European Tour this year.
Snedeker took advantage of Kyle Stanley's final-round meltdown to win the Farmers Insurance Open in a playoff in January, but his only top-10 finish since came at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in February.
That bodes well for Snedeker in the $3.5 million showdown. A successful few days by Snedeker could give U.S. Captain Davis Love III a nudge ahead of the Ryder Cup against Europe in September.
''I love match play,'' said Snedeker, of Nashville, Tenn. ''The one-on-one situations, when you can dictate the match by how you play, there is a lot of strategy involved.
''I love having one man to beat instead of 130-140 other guys. There's a lot more pressure on every putt, which I kind of like.''
Snedeker missed out on selection for the 2010 Ryder Cup and is currently just outside the top eight on the U.S points list that will guarantee qualification for the match at Medinah.
He believes he's in good shape to make the team for the first time.
''There's a long way to go before that, but that's a main goal of mine this year,'' he said. ''There's a lot of golf left, but winning this week would be a step in the right direction.
''I'm trying to get back into form after missing the cut at the Players last week, but I'm not too far off. I have been playing some good golf and my short game's in good shape.''
The laid-back Snedeker should feel right at home in the sun and relaxed environment of the southern Spanish coast.
''I love coming over to Europe, the culture and the lifestyle. It really is my cup of tea here. I just always play bad, for some reason,'' said Snedeker, who has missed the cut in all three of his appearances at the British Open. ''I'm going to really need those clubs to arrive.''