Nick Watney is a strange bird. I have trouble making up my mind if the 31 year old PGA Professional Golfer from Sacramento, California was just a one year wonder, or has the potential to someday contend for a couple of major championships. The Fresno State grad turned pro in 2003, and has won over $20 Million dollars on the PGA Tour, with his best season by far, coming in 2011.
He won both the WGC-Cadillac Championship, and The AT&T National at Congressional in that year, and had ten top 10 finishes, mostly coming during the West Coast Swing. He didn’t fare too well in the majors, with a 46th place finish at Augusta, and T 12 at the PGA Championship, but missed the cut in both the US, and British Opens.
Watney had a terrible 2012, with one win coming at The Barclays during the FedEx Cup playoff. His attitude and whole demeanor changed the following week when he wasn’t selected for the Ryder Cup as a Captains pick. He finished the the remainder of the playoffs with a T 20, T 45, at the Duetche Bank, and BMW Championship respectfully, and a sole 28th place in the Tour Championship.
I felt Nick, Brandt Snedeker, and Hunter Mahan should have been afforded more consideration for the Ryder Cup by Captain, Davis Love III, but based on what I saw in his game, would have taken Snedeker, and Mahan, and probably not have taken Nick as well. I certainly would have left Jim Furyk, and Steve Stricker at home, and take at least two of the three to Medinah.
Watney’s best finish in the new season, was a fourth place finish at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, his only top ten finish. The remainder of the year has been mediocre at best. He had a T 49 at the WGC-Cadillac last weekend, a tournament he dominated in 2011. He missed the cut in Pebble Beach, and was eliminated in the second round at Dove Mountain.
Nick Watney is a two trick pony. He possess a good drive, and is an excellent putter. Until he makes the commitment to get his short game together, he will not be able to make the next step. This is why he suffers at the US and British Opens. He likes to grip it and rip it, and let his putter bail him out when he gets in trouble. Like most of us, however, sometimes the putter just isn’t there either.
Without having his putter spot on, he can’t seem to manufacture the kind of shots around the green that helps make a decent round when he doesn’t have his A-Game. When, and if, he ever decides to put in the effort to improve that part of his game, he will advance to the next level, and will probably make the Ryder Cup without having to wait for a Captains Pick.
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