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Watney playing for self, not country

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SANDWICH, England – Nick Watney has come to terms with links golf in a relatively short time. In three previous appearances at the Open Championship, he’s made all three cuts and tied for seventh place last year at the Old Course.

This year, he arrives at Royal St. George’s disappointed that he hasn’t played better in major championships, but excited for this challenge during a year in which he’s won twice on the PGA Tour and collected eight top-10 finishes.

“I really enjoy the different style than we see in the States and I love the fact that you have so many options on different shots,” Watney said. “One of the challenges is to pick the correct one and not just get a yardage and hit it that far. There’s a lot that goes into each shot and I think that’s really fun.”

Watney, 30, is ranked No. 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking and may be the great American hope this week. There’s been so much emphasis on the American “drought” since the red, white and blue hasn’t won any of the last five majors. Watney and Steve Stricker both are U.S. betting favorites and are 33-to-1 at Ladbrokes.

If Watney does win this week, he’ll be more than happy to help Uncle Sam get off the major schneid, but that’s not his motivation.

“I don’t think anybody here is trying to win one for America,” Watney said. “Golf is an individual game. We’re trying to win every tournament. I think the person that wins, whoever it may be, will be doing it for themselves first and foremost.”