PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Everything about Brandt Snedeker moves at warp speed, including his rapid rise into golf's elite.
He talks so fast that he always seems to be a few words short of a complete sentence. He plays fast, giving his hips a quick swivel to set his position before pulling the trigger. Even his putts go into the hole quickly, most of them struck with purpose instead of hope.
Rory McIlroy is now in his 34rd week atop the world rankings, and owns the eight-longest reign at No. 1. The seventh-longest holder of the top spot is Nick Price at 44 weeks.
1. Rory McIlroy
2. Tiger Woods
3. Luke Donald
4. Brandt Snedeker
5. Justin Rose
6. Louis Oosthuizen
7. Adam Scott
8. Lee Westwood
9. Bubba Watson
10. Phil Mickelson
But when he reached the 18th tee box at Pebble Beach, he had to wait for the fairway to clear before taking a victory stroll up one of the prettiest closing holes in golf.
And that was OK with him.
''There's not much better place to be on the planet with a three-shot lead on that tee box,'' Snedeker said Sunday. ''It felt pretty special there.''
Indeed, Snedeker is in a special place. He’s moved up to a career-high fourth in the Official World Golf Rankings, with only No. 1 Rory McIlroy, No. 2 Tiger Woods and No. 3 Luke Donald.
Snedeker entered last week ranked sixth, and his move to fourth bumped Justin Rose down to fifth and Louis Oosthuizen down to sixth. Right below them are Adam Scott, Lee Westwood, Bubba Watson and Phil Mickelson, all of whom held onto their previous berths.
The second 10 includes No. 11 Ian Poulter (up from 12th), No. 12 Jason Dufner (down from 11th), No. 13 Steve Stricker, No. 14 Sergio Garcia (up from 125h), No. 15 Keegan Bradley (down from 14th), No. 16 Charl Schwartzel (up from 18th), No. 17 Dustin Johnson (down from 16th), No. 18 Webb Simpson, No. 19 Graeme McDowell and No. 20 Peter Hanson.
Also last week, Richard Sterne of South Africa climbed up to 55th from his previous spot at 94th after winning the Joburg Open on the European Tour.
Snedeker, with his 10th consecutive round in the 60s on Sunday, finally had a trophy to show for his astounding start to the 2013 season. He knew the opening seven holes were critical, and he made an eagle and three birdies to build a quick lead. He realized a late birdie would give him a cushion, and he fired at the flag on the par-3 17th to 10 feet below the cup and holed the putt. He closed with a 7-under 65 for a two-shot win over Chris Kirk in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
It was the fifth win of his career, and his fourth in the last 22 months. But it's the last six months that have really turned heads.
He captured the $10 million FedExCup prize with a win at the Tour Championship, where he held off the likes of McIlroy, Woods and Donald going into the final round. He played in his first Ryder Cup. He started this year with a third-place at Kapalua, and runner-up finishes in consecutive weeks to Woods and Mickelson, both of whom had big leads going into the final round.
Go back to the start of the FedExCup playoffs last August and Snedeker now has six top 3s in his last nine starts. Since missing the cut at the PGA Championship, he has broken par in 33 out of 37 rounds. No wonder he now is No. 4 in the world, the best ranking of his career.
''Just hard to put into words, to have a stretch of golf like I had the last couple of months,'' Snedeker said. ''Something you dream about. Something you think that you can do, but you don't really know until you actually put it together. And I have.
''I'm really enjoying this, and hopefully can parlay this into the best year of my career.''
Snedeker set the tournament record at 19-under 267, one shot better than Mickelson (2007) and Mark O'Meara (1997), who each had a 20-under 268 when Poppy Hills (par 72) was part of the rotation. It has been replaced by Monterey Peninsula, which is a par 70.
''I definitely didn't want to do anything but win today,'' he said. ''I was out there for one purpose and one purpose only, and I was extremely focused all day. I did a great job of staying patient and I did a great job of playing the golf course the way you're supposed to play it.''
And the outcome was just what he expected. The way he has been playing, it shouldn't have been any surprise to anyone.