Las Vegas, Nevada (April 7, 2011)–There is a pretty decent argument out there that Las Vegas PGA Tour pro Nick Watney is playing the best golf of anybody in the world right now. Watney has a win, a long streak of top 10 finishes, plus a memory bank of on-course lessons that has him ready to win his first major championship. The question? Will it be this week in Augusta at The Masters. –By Brian Hurlburt.
"Whistling Straits was a very bad day on the scorecard," Watney told the media gathered in Augusta. "But I learned a lot that day just about how I handle situations and I think that helped me in Doral. To beat that field, and I think I heard that everybody in the top-50 was there; so to beat that field was an honor and it was kind of — validated what I feel I need to address. I'm very excited for this tournament, but I'm the type of player that it's nice to think about that, but I need to kind of focus on the here and now forward to perform. (At the PGA) I was going very, very fast, swinging fast, walking fast, thinking way ahead. And so I think what I learned is that I'm never going to be able to block out those feelings; I just have to learn how to handle them. I don't have it, but I'm getting there." Watney took a 3-shot lead into the final round of the PGA Championship in 2010 but fired an 81 on Sunday. Click here for more information about Las Vegas PGA Tour pros.
But that is behind him and Watney made a statement that the past was done earlier this season when he won at Doral. He also had a streak of seven-straight top 10 finishes in official PGA Tour events dating back to 2010. Watney's names is near the top of the PGA Tour stats in several categories. He is ranked second in putting (1.687 putts per round), first in scoring (68.92 per round average), first in birdie average (4.8 birdies per 18 holes), and first in the All-Around ranking. And, oh yeah, he is second on the PGA Tour money list and fourth in the FedEx Cup rankings. Watney opened at 15/1 odds to win the Masters. Click now for more information on the Las Vegas golf betting odds at The Masters.
"My game is coming together," said Watney. "I worked a lot in the off-season on my chipping and putting, and that's the reason for my improved scoring. So I've done some preparation with that. And my caddie, Chad, has a lot of experience around here, so looking forward to getting the week started." Watney lives in Henderson, Nevada, a suburb of Las Vegas and works with fellow resident and Golf Digest top-ranked teaching pro Butch Harmon. Harmon operates the Butch Harmon School of Golf at Las Vegas' Rio Secco Golf Club, a Las Vegas resort golf course. Watney is one of several golfers in the Masters field that has strong ties to Las Vegas golf courses. Others include residents Alex Cejka and Kevin Na, former UNLV golfers and Las Vegas residents Charley Hoffman and Ryan Moore, and former Rebel Adam Scott. Also in the field: Johnny Vegas! (No official ties to the city but we love the name!) Quotes courtesy ASAPSports.com.