Monday, March 14, 2011
So Is Nick Watney Now an Elite Golfer?
On Sunday at Doral, Nick Watney was standing in an awkward lie in a greenside bunker on his back nine. He was tied for the lead with Dustin Johnson, and needed to get this shot up and down for par to keep the momentum going as Johnson watched from the tee box. Watney chubbed his bunker shot just onto the green, and was left with 25 or so feet to save par, a sneaky little putt that turned more than you'd think.
He hit the putt, it rolled towards the cup and generously disappeared for par. It was the type of putt you must make in order to win elite PGA Tour events, and Watney hit it with that "never a doubt" confidence once would need to keep the momentum going his way.
As you know, Watney went on to win the Cadillac Championship, his third PGA Tour win of his career, and a defining moment to a stellar 2011. Watney, now 29, has finished in the top-10 in every single event he's played in this season, and is quickly becoming a giant killer, but is he elite?
It sure seems like it. You could make the case that Watney should probably be winning more if you want to put him atop your list of under-30 golfers that could win multiple majors, but it seems this season especially, he's putting himself in positions you need to get there. He could win at Augusta. He could take down one of the Opens. You wouldn't say that about a lot of the young Americans right now besides Watney, Johnson and probably Hunter Mahan.
So is he elite? I think so. His win on Sunday sure got him in the discussion.
(Oh, and nice job on the wifey, Mr. Watney. Not bad at all.)