Two years ago, Nick Watney was one golf ball revolution away from taking Phil Mickelson to a playoff in what was then known as the WGC-CA Championship. This year, besides the tee shot in the water the 18th hole on Saturday, Nick Watney was in full control of his game. On Sunday, he drained a birdie putt on the 72nd hole to win the WGC-Cadillac Champioship. The birdie was technically not needed, but knowing Dustin Johnson had piped it down the middle behind him, he knew if he holed the putt, Johnson would have to hole it out from the fairway.
On Saturday, when Watney hit his tee shot in the water on the 18th hole, I thought surely he would not recover from that and be able to compete on Sunday. Boy was I wrong. Nick made two clutch par putts down the stretch on Sunday and scrambled his way around to shoot a 5-under 67. Dustin Johnson just could not close it out again and finished with a 71. Johnny Miller made a comment in the final moments of NBC coverage that really stood out to me- Nick Watney is ranked #1 in scrambling on the PGA Tour. What was so surprising is that last year Watney was ranked #156 in scrambling, which is a huge improvement.
This win by Watney will start raising the question of who is actually the best American golfer right now? With another top 10 finish by Matt Kuchar, and a 2nd place finish by Dustin Johnson, and Hunter Mahan hanging around all weekend, who actually is the best America golfer. ? I touched on this about a week ago and I think this makes it just that much more cloudy. Nick Watney is definitely a solid player, and Johnson is still on everyone’s radar to dominate into the future. But I just don’t think the best American golfer question can be answered right now. The Europeans are clearly at the top of the golf world if you look at the World Golf Rankings right now. I am just not ready to write off the young American players just yet.
I think the world rankings will look much different by the end of the year.