by Jeff Skinner
Going into the final round of The WGC-Cadillac Championship there may have been some doubts about Nick Watney’s ability to close out a tournament. After all, Watney blew his lead at last year’s PGA Championship when he stumbled in with a career stunting 81. But this is a new and improved Nick Watney. He worked with mental coach Dr. Morris Pickens and he has a new attitude on the greens. He also has a caddie that keeps him loose on the course. With his performance this season, five top tens and a WGC win he is off to the best start of any American golfer. Tim Rosaforte called him the best American player right now. If he can putt like this at Augusta he’ll be contending for his first major.
Golf is such a fickle game. For awhile there Luke Donald looked like he could walk away with this one. His downfall started with a bogey on eighteen on Saturday and he couldn’t keep up with DJ and Watney on Sunday but with that iron game and his greenside skill he’s going to contend at some majors this year.
Matt Kuchar just keeps smiling and keeps racking up those top tens. Seven starts, seven cuts made and five top tens. That’s not a bad start for last year’s money leader.
Dustin Johnson was a different player with the driver on Saturday and Sunday compared to the first two rounds. After bopping his grandfather in the head with his opening drive on Thursday, yes his grandfather, he barely hit half his fairways in the first two rounds. Then he spent some time with coach Butch Harmon on Saturday morning. Take note Tiger and Foley: he hit 75% of his fairways the rest of the tournament. Unfortunately he couldn’t hole a putt on Sunday and took second. With his long game he could do a Phil Mickelson imitation at Augusta and bomb and gouge his way to a green jacket.
Speaking of Phil Mickelson.. is it time to hit the panic button on Phils’ game. After teasing us with his second at Torrey Pines he hasn’t had a sniff. With his Holy Grail right around the corner he needs to get his game under control, although he wasn’t much better last year at this time and he found a way to win at Augusta.
Tiger’s game showed some life on Sunday but he knows he is a long way from where he wants to be. Tiger and Phil know Augusta as well as any players in the game. He says he is progressing but Sunday was really the first time he showed it. He even switched to his Nike mallet putter and shelved his Scotty Cameron. He has to be the longest of long shots at this stage but you never know with Woods.
What is the deal with Anthony Kim? This was supposed to be the year that he rededicated himself to the game and he opens with an 80 and finishes 22 strokes off the lead. Is it his focus, or lack of it? Whatever it is he is fast becoming an American Sergio Garcia.