GREENSBORO, N.C. – Nick Watney didn’t exactly sugarcoat things when asked to evaluate his 2014 season.
“Words that I shouldn’t use when the media’s around,” Watney said after an opening-round 67 at the Wyndham Championship. “It’s definitely been a struggle.”
Typically among the top American names in the world rankings, Watney won four times on the PGA Tour from 2009-2012 and began 2014 ranked 30th in the world. The results have tapered off dramatically this year, though, as Watney’s to No. 75 and began to flirt with the bubble for the FedEx Cup Playoffs.
He finally got his first top-10 finish of the season last month at Reno – an event he entered only because he was not exempt for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational for the first time since 2008 - before adding a T-33 finish last week at the PGA Championship. He made it around Sedgefield on Thursday without a bogey in Round 1. At 3 under, he sits three shots off the early pace set by William McGirt.
“The putts are finally starting to drop,” he said. “When that happens, it makes everything else a little bit easier. This isn’t the position I wanted to be in, but I’m here now and it’s time to make it happen.”
Watney and his wife Amber welcomed a child in March, an addition that the 33-year-old admits he’s still getting used to.
“She travels, so it’s a lot of sleepless nights,” he said. “I took a few weeks off (around the birth). It was tough to come back, and when I came back, I didn’t play very well.”
Despite the self-described “rough patch” this summer, Watney enters this week No. 110 in the FedEx Cup standings, with his playoff fate secure. A high finish in Greensboro could go a long way toward extending his season beyond next week’s playoff opener.
“It’s nice to finally see some results,” he said. “I didn’t expect to be playing so much right now, but now that I am it’s good to be heading in the right direction.”