MARANA, Ariz. – Nick Watney has never played Tiger Woods at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, although he’s weathered an equally tough draw playing, and beating, Lee Westwood the last two years on Day 2.
In fact, since Watney joined the Tour in 2005 he’s been paired with Woods just once, during the third round at the 2010 WGC-HSBC Champions where he shot 73 to clipped Woods by a stroke.
“I just told him to pay more attention to himself than Tiger and not get caught up in all the Tiger stuff,” said Dr. Morris Pickens, Watney’s sports psychologist. “Have fun with it, a lot of people would love a chance to play Tiger.”
Had he been inclined, Watney could have also talked with swing coach Butch Harmon, who worked with Woods earlier in his career and famously advised pupil Phil Mickelson on some of Woods’ strategies during matches and head-to-head pairings, like putting out first so his opponent must deal with the large galleries that begin jockeying for positions on the next hole.
The two tee off at 11:37 a.m. (MT) at Dove Mountain and, for the record, Watney is the higher-seeded player.