FARMINGDALE – Even after a year that didn’t come close to his expectations, Nick Watney wasn’t about to give up on his season.
Amazing how one week changed his outlook in so many ways.
He beat one of the strongest fields of the year at The Barclays, on the tough track of Bethpage Black. Winning the opening playoff event for the FedEx Cup guarantees him a good shot at the $10 million prize. And suddenly, playing in the Ryder Cup becomes a lot more realistic.
That all came into play Sunday when Watney didn’t miss a green until the 16th hole, turned a two-shot deficit against Sergio Garcia into a three-shot lead, overcame a trio of three-putt bogeys with clutch birdies, and closed with a 2-under 69 for a three-shot victory.
“It’s been not quite the year I wanted,” Watney said. “But this really makes it all forgotten. Winning a tournament is hard, but winning out here and against this field was very, very difficult. I’m kind of still on a high right now.”
U.S. captain Davis Love III has a lot more choices for his four wild-card selections next week.
Watney won by three shots over Brandt Snedeker, who already was part of the discussion as a potential pick. Snedeker, a winner in San Diego and a contender in the British Open, battled to the end and made big putts on the last two holes for a 1-under 70 to finish alone in second.
Dustin Johnson, also under consideration as a pick, shot 68 and tied for third with Garcia, whose bogey on the final hole gave him a 75.
Not even Watney thought he was worthy of being picked for the Ryder Cup going into the week.
“I’m thinking much more now than I was coming in,” he said. “Coming in here, I didn’t deserve to be in the conversation because I had not played my way in. Someone told me that Davis said he wanted a hot player, and we still have a week to go. But like I said, I’d love to be on the team. ”
Love will announce his picks after the second playoff event, the Deutsche Bank Championship, which ends on Labor Day. Steve Stricker and Jim Furyk are likely to be two of those picks, and the other two suddenly are wide open.
“Ryder Cup is definitely on my mind,” Snedeker said. “But I’m not letting it affect the way I play. Try to win every golf tournament. It gives me more motivation to do it.
“Davis has an extremely difficult choice with a bunch of guys who did not play well enough over the last two years to be on the team. You can’t go wrong with any of them. I think that it’s certainly helped everybody who played well this week.”
Watney, who won for the fifth time in his career, finished at 10-under 278.
Blake goes overtime
SNOQUALMIE, Wash. — Jay Don Blake won the Boeing Classic on Sunday for his third career Champions Tour title, beating Mark O’Meara with a birdie on the second hole of a playoff.
Playing the par-5 18th hole for the third time in less than an hour, Blake tapped in for birdie after O’Meara’s 15-foot birdie attempt missed on the low side of the hole. Blake and O’Meara also birdied the hole in regulation for matching 4-under 68s that left them tied at 10-under 206. They missed short birdie putts on the first extra hole.