What they said: Nick Watney

March 16, 2011
PGA TOUR staff

MORE INTERVIEWS: Transitions Championship transcript archive

PHIL STAMBAUGH: We are joined in the interview room this afternoon by Nick Watney. Nick, quite a start to the year culminating thus far with a win at the WGC Cadillac Championship last week moving you up to second in the FedExCup points race.

Maybe a few thoughts about coming back to the Transitions Championship and Innisbrook.

NICK WATNEY: Well, I mean, I love this golf course, and I feel like Transitions has really made it a great event. So I am looking forward to the tournament.

PHIL STAMBAUGH: You've had a couple of days off maybe to reflect on last week's victory, maybe talk about that coming down the stretch with Dustin.

NICK WATNEY: Obviously it was the biggest day of my golfing career and I was it was a different feeling for me just because I felt so kind of keyed up and amped up; that it's just now starting to sink in it.

But, I'm very proud of the way that I played and of the field that I was able to beat and just want to try to soak as much of it in as possible before the gun goes off again tomorrow.

PHIL STAMBAUGH: Before questions, you just got done with your Pro Am round, maybe a little bit about the course.

NICK WATNEY: Well, it's a bit softer now than I'm used to coming here. But I'm sure that will change as the week goes on. Very green. The course is in great shape. Should be a good week.

Q. Does the win last week allow to you relax a little bit or is it right back to the grind tomorrow??

NICK WATNEY: Well, it's definitely just a bit of a different feeling. But I would like to play well here and be in contention again, so you know, I'll definitely I think I'm going to take this afternoon off and just kind of relax and reflect a little bit.

But once tomorrow comes, I'd like to have a chance again come Sunday. So it would be back to business as usual.

Q. You talked Sunday, also, a little about how you were proud of the way you handled it down the stretch. Does that suggest that in the past, you didn't do that very well? Even though you've won twice before, and had been in contention were there some instances of tournaments, maybe the PGA, that you just felt it got the best of you?

NICK WATNEY: The PGA definitely got the best of me. And it was a horrible day in terms of the score and you know, just a huge letdown. But I felt like I learned a lot that day.

As far as winning in the past, I think I had handled it well, but I didn't really understand what I had done differently than any other tournament. And this time, especially after the PGA, after Saturday even, I feel like I had learned and not that I hadn't, but I was able to identify that I was going to be nervous; I was going to be excited.

But I was able to kind of calm down and focus on the task at hand, and I think that Doral was the first time that I understood those feelings and I was able to deal with them.

Q. If you're fortunate enough to go on through the year and come out on top in the FedExCup, what would you do with the $10 million?

NICK WATNEY: (Chuckling). I had not thought about that to be honest.

Q. Vacation home, boat??

NICK WATNEY: Gosh, with $10 million, I guess you could do all of those things.

I know it's kind of dodging the question, but that's so far off. Maybe I'd get a car. Maybe I'd get some kind of Bentley car or something (laughter).

Q. We just asked Jim Furyk the same question. This time of year, you just played Doral and next year over at Arnold's and then Shell and then a place called Augusta. Where at this time of the year does the Masters start creeping into the brain??

NICK WATNEY: I went up there and played last week, or two weeks ago, I'm sorry, during the Honda. So it's definitely on my brain. I just love the event. I love the place. I always love to have a chance there come Sunday. But I'm the type of player that I just need to kind of, you know, just focus on the here and now, and I don't do well when I get too far ahead of myself.

Q. Having said that, is there anything about this place or Doral that you can carry over and say, hey, that would work at Augusta or that is the kind of shot I need to hit at Augusta, like the second shot into 18 at Doral, that's a shot that can work four or five places at Augusta??

NICK WATNEY: Yeah, I think more than physically, I think just mentally being in contention, being under the gun like we already talked about, but executing shots when you're nervous like that, can only help once the majors come around.

Q. When did you and Chad start playing that game of the pressure valve game of, you don't care, I don't care, they don't think you care, the running joke. It must have been after the PGA; was it this season, or do you really recall??

NICK WATNEY: It was actually before the PGA.

Q. Just forgot about it on Sunday??

NICK WATNEY: Yeah, it didn't quite work so well. But, Dustin's caddie, obviously they were well in the tournament, but I was one of the greatest things about Chad is that he doesn't on Sunday at Doral or Thursday in wherever we are, he's the same.

And so Sunday, I was shooting a million, and one of the holes late on Sunday, he asked me, he said, "Do you care."

I was like, "No, I don't care."

And Bobby Brown, Dustin's caddie, heard that, and he thought that we had quit or thrown in the towel. He didn't know the whole story. But, it had actually started I think maybe the week before in Akron last year.

That was probably the first time that he broke that out. I didn't really get it the first time either. I was like, of course I care; what are you talking about. He's like, no, no.

So anyway, it was probably Akron last year.

Q. Just kind of a stress of having, I guess, for lack of something else to keep you from getting too white knuckled??

NICK WATNEY: Yeah, just acknowledging that, sure, you want to make this, sure you want to hit a good shot here, but you know, trying to do that and really trying to force that is not going to help anything.

So obviously we care but if you can swing and putt like you don't, then I mean, we all do it that on a 3 footer when we are playing with our friends; they are easy. And then you get out here, and it counts, and it's hard all of a sudden.

So I think that's kind of mind set we are trying to get when we do that.

Q. Speaking of that Sunday at Whistling Straits, curious, did you ever talk to Dustin after that whole deal afterward, obviously we all know what happened to him that day, too, and pretty sure we were talking to you about it that Sunday; have you guys, has that ever come up??

NICK WATNEY: It hasn't really. I was in there with him. I mean, I felt awful for him. I really honestly believe he didn't think it was a bunker. I mean, obviously, why would he ground his club I guess if he did. But I think he just I think one of his best traits, and he's won since then; I don't know if he talked much about it that after that day. He was there and he was in position, some weird ruling, and I think he's over it. I don't know how much he would have thought about it, if you had asked him.

Q. Can you imagine dealing with that easily, or do you think that something like that would stick with you for a while??

NICK WATNEY: I don't think I could do it as quick as him, I know that. That day was hard for me in a different sense. I don't really think about it too much. But the way that that all happened, I think that would be I think it would be harder for me than it would for him for sure.

Q. What's the key to having success this week here at Copperhead??

NICK WATNEY: I think if you look at the type of players that have won here, most of them are very precise I would say. The greens will get really fast. So putting will be key. But putting is the key every week. I think putting your tee shots in play will be the biggest key. Then you can maneuver the ball heading into the greens, as opposed to just from the rough, you can't control it very well. So I think putting the ball in the fairway is the biggest key.

Q. You talked about how you would feel if you were Dustin and getting over it. You got over pretty quickly at Doral from Saturday on 18 to Sunday at 18. That's a pretty quick get over it.

NICK WATNEY: I understand what you're saying, but at the same time, if I had been tied for the lead at Doral, heading into a playoff, and I don't know scraped some sand or something.

Q. For all us hacks, you have that selective memory; if we were standing on 18 tee Sunday, you were not thinking about 18 tee Saturday. Or are you??

NICK WATNEY: Well, I thought about it, but I thought about why that happened and I wasn't going to let that happen again.

So you know, Dustin obviously great player and he'll be fine. He is fine.

Q. Curious when you win a tournament, I know there's a banking account and all, do you check Monday morning to make sure the number gets popped in there? Do they withhold or did 1.4 million show up in your checking account Monday morning or Sunday night?

NICK WATNEY: You know what, I didn't look. (Laughter) If I find out it didn't go in, I'll have some questions. Previous check has gone in, so I'm assuming that one will, too.

Q. Just direct deposit, basically??


Q. You've improved every time you've played here. Do you think you've pretty much got the course dialed in, the site lines, where you need to hit your tee shots??

NICK WATNEY: I feel like I know my way around the place. I finished fourth last year. I would love to improve on that. Yeah, I feel like I've been around enough. I understand how to play the course.

Q. Is that the goal this week, to beat fourth??

NICK WATNEY: Well, the goal is to win, but there's only a couple of spots ahead of fourth.

Q. After Dustin, you said he probably didn't think about the bunker thing after that day; so I guess you could call his approach to the game pretty simplistic. Do you think that could hurt him in the long run??

NICK WATNEY: I don't think so. I don't know what he's ranked, does anybody know? He's Top 10 in the world, 27 maybe, 26.

Q. Like, over time??

NICK WATNEY: I think he'll be fine. I think he'll be I think everybody that would not have worked for Nick Faldo because he's so analytical. That would not have worked for Tiger probably. But it works great for him. That's just how he plays, I guess.

Q. You and Butch have been working on a lot of different things since you've worked with him. What do you think was the in what you've been working on with Butch was the key to last week's victory??

NICK WATNEY: I think last week was the culmination of a lot of things that Butch and I have been working on. But probably mostly, most recent would be my wedges and that's we kind of sat down in the off season and had a meeting and kind of tried to determine where the best players beat me. And I think that wedges and short game is where they do.

So we tried to address that and it's paid off so far. I mean, I still need to continue to improve in those areas, but I think that last week was because of that.

Q. How often do you see him??

NICK WATNEY: Well, when we are both at home, which during the winter is four or five days a week. And it's not super serious all the time, but just kind of a check in; I'm feeling this, try this, or whatever.

So it's definitely beneficial.

Q. Where do you live in Vegas??

NICK WATNEY: I live about a mile and a half from Butch's school.

Q. So it was not a coincidence that you it moved there; that was because of him??

NICK WATNEY: Yeah, he was a large reason.

Q. Gambling being the other??

NICK WATNEY: (Laughter). Heavy gambling. It was a business move.