Diehard fan Watney talks 49ers football

Stan Badz/PGA TOUR
Will diehard 49ers fan Nick Watney be smiling late Sunday night after Super Bowl XLVII?
January 30, 2013


By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM Chief of Correspondents

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Sunday's final round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open is scheduled to conclude at 6 p.m. ET, which gives Nick Watney -- perhaps the biggest San Francisco 49ers fan on the PGA TOUR -- some time to find a TV so he can cheer on his team as it faces the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII starting at 6:30 p.m. ET. Of course, if he ends up winning at TPC Scottsdale, he'll have the post-round obligations that go with a victory on TOUR -- but that would be a nice problem to have.

As Watney -- fresh off a fourth-place finish on Monday at the fog-delayed Farmers Insurance Open -- prepared for the Waste Management Phoenix Open, PGATOUR.COM caught up with him to ask a few 49ers-related questions.

PGATOUR.COM: You grew up in Sacramento, which is about 90 minutes from San Francisco, so I guess it's only natural that you're a Niners fan. What are your earliest memories?

WATNEY: My first memory of football, really, is the 49ers winning. They beat the Bengals in '89 -- Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, John Taylor, all that stuff. My first memory of football was them winning and I kind of thought that's the way things were. I just thought that's how football was. I was 7 at the time. It was great. They won the next year and it was kind of off and running and they won again in '94. So that's kind of what I grew up with -- the Niners were always competing for titles. Then they had about 10 or 12 years of struggles here and there, which was kind of a shock to the system. So I'm super excited. I'm really glad we're starting early on Sunday so I can see the game. I'm very cautiously optimistic.

PGATOUR.COM: How come?

WATNEY: Well, I want them to win. I think that they're a better team -- more explosive and all that stuff. But definitely you don't want to be overconfident. I'm really excited to go watch them.

PGATOUR.COM: Do you get to go to many Niners games in person?

WATNEY: I haven't been to a Niners game in awhile. Traveling as much as we do I kind of just like to stay home and watch it. But I am really pumped that they're back and they look really good.

PGATOUR.COM: Do you have anything special planned for this weekend -- like a couple of years ago when (Packers fan) Mark Wilson wore the cheesehead when he got to the 16th hole?

WATNEY: For this week? Well, I don't actually right now. But that's a good idea. I'll see if it's OK with these guys (tapping his bag of Nike clubs) if I throw on a hat or something. That would be fun. I usually try not to rile up (the fans at) 16, but I've got to do something to represent, I guess.

PGATOUR.COM: Will you be nervous on Sunday? Will it be hard to play?

WATNEY: It would be if we were missing it. But I think I'm going to be more excited than anything. I think it's cool that they actually start (the Waste Management Phoenix Open) early because there's no sense going up against (the Super Bowl). I think it will be good that we're done and I can get all situated.

PGATOUR.COM: Have you made any bets with Ravens fans?

WATNEY: Actually, a guy I went to school with is a Ravens fan so we have a bet going. But out here (on TOUR), I'm not sure if anyone cheers for the Ravens. I don't know why you would.

PGATOUR.COM: You say you think the 49ers are more explosive than the Ravens. Can you talk about some of the players you think could come up big in the Super Bowl?

WATNEY: The Bay, anyway, has (Colin) Kaepernick fever. I mean, the kid can do no wrong right now. He's amazing. He went to Nevada-Reno, which is a rival of Fresno State, and he beat us a couple of times, at least. So I've known about him for awhile. I didn't know he was going to be this good. He's an amazing athlete. I love the defense, too. I love the two safeties the Niners have -- Donte Whitner and Dashon Goldson. It should be a good matchup.

PGATOUR.COM: Did you ever play football?

WATNEY: I never did. My dad didn't want me to. I don't think I would have been any good but it would have been fun to suit up once or twice.

PGATOUR.COM: Is there any trash-talking going on out here on TOUR?

WATNEY: Not really because I think they look so good. There's not really much to say. They beat the Packers convincingly. They beat the Falcons after being down, so there's not many holes in their game right now. But I'm sure once the game gets closer a few guys will say something.

PGATOUR.COM: So was that game in 1989 when the Niners beat the Bengals 20-16 your favorite memory?

WATNEY: Probably. I mean, they were down and Joe Montana -- I was Joe Montana for Halloween three years in a row -- so for him to come back, I mean, lead the team back and win the game like that (made it special). I mean they played the Broncos the next year and they beat 'em 55-10, so that one didn't even seem like a Super Bowl. It was just a blowout. But the game against the Bengals -- yeah, I can remember, I was with my parents, where we were, everything about it. That's my best 49er memory ... so far.