Each week, PGATOUR.COM will take a look at one of the FedExCup contenders in the field and break down his past performances at that week's event, FedExCup history, and potential for success in the 2013-14 FedExCup chase.
Making his first start since early November this week, Nick Watney travels to Torrey Pines this week, site of the second of his five PGA TOUR triumphs. This trip marks the 32-year-old’s 10th start at the Farmers Insurance Open where he boasts five top-10 finishes (including four in the last five years) to go along with his 2009 triumph.
At 108th in the FedExCup standings, Watney will start an event outside the FedExCup top 100 for the first time since 2008 when he tees off Thursday morning. That’s as much a product of the new wrap-around schedule as it is Watney’s early season performances. In three fall starts, Watney posted three finishes between 30th and 50th to amass just 94 FedExCup points. Expect that number to go up this week, however, as Watney has missed just one cut in his previous nine trips to La Jolla, Calif.
A fixture in the FedExCup Playoffs, Watney’s quest to win the FedExCup really starts this week. He has qualified for all seven previous editions of the FedExCup Playoffs, competed in at least two events each year, and is one of just three players (Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson) to finish each of the last five seasons inside the FedExCup top 15. Not bad, especially when you consider Watney has the fewest wins of the trio over that span with four, including the one at Torrey Pines.
Consistency has been key for Watney, who has at least four top-10 finishes and at least 10 top-25 finishes in each of the last five seasons. Starts won’t be a problem as he’s averaged more than 24 starts over that span but putting may be. Watney has ranked outside the top 50 in strokes gained-putting in every year of his TOUR career except his two-win 2011 campaign.
That said, if Watney gets the putter rolling, he’s a threat to compete week in and week out. He’s one of the longer hitters on the PGA TOUR and finds greens in bunches. He’s got the game to contend, and win, on just about every course but the greens will remain the place to watch Watney this season. If those putts are disappearing, expect to be hearing his name often as the TOUR works its way toward East Lake and the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola.
Watney's FedExCup finishes
2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 41st 109th 12th 12th 9th 4th 15th
• Watney is one of 35 players to compete in all seven editions of the FedExCup Playoffs • In 25 Playoff starts, Watney has six top-10 finishes including a victory at the 2012 Barclays. • Watney has competed in at least two events in each edition of the Playoffs and qualified for the last five TOUR Championships at East Lake. • Since the inception of the FedExCup, he has amassed all five of his victories and 35 top-10 finishes overall. • Watney has finished inside the FedExCup top-15 for five consecutive years. Only Watney, Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson can make that claim.
Watney's Farmers Insurance Open results, FedExCup standings
Year FedExCup before Farmers result Points earned FedExCup after 2007 44th T9 625 25th 2008 21st MC 0 32nd 2009 37th WON 500 2nd 2010 60th T9 67.83 29th 2011 N/A T6 91.66 45th 2012 46th T60 9.5 62nd 2013 49th T4 122.5 15th