Date: November 09, 2011
Author: Steve Orme, Sportal

Watney aiming high

He has already won twice on the PGA Tour this season and is widely considered among the most talented golfers in the American ranks, but Nick Watney concedes his resume won&apost be complete without a victory on foreign soil. Watney is coming off a breakout season having collected the Cadillac Championship and AT&T National titles in 2011. The world No.12 last travelled down under in 2004 and has never contested the Emirates Australian Open. But the history of the prestigious event is not lost on the sports-mad 30-year-old, who watched last year&aposs event on television as a fan. “I&aposve seen the list of winners and watched the event when I&aposm at home and there is a lot of history here,” Watney said. “(Past champions) Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer have said to be a truly great player you&aposve got to travel the world and win everywhere.” “It would definitely be a huge feather in my cap to play well here.” “I have come a long way so I would like to make it worthwhile.” He added of the tricky Lakes layout: “I&aposve watched on TV when I have been back at home and it looks like a great test. I was surprised to hear that 19 under won last year. That is really good golf.” Asked to describe the state of his game, Watney, who is coming off a 33rd-place finish at the HSBC Champions event in Shanghai last week, replied: “I would say I am cautiously optimistic. Last week I did not play very well for the majority of the tournament.” “But I&aposve had a decent couple of days preparing here. I&aposd like to say that I feel great but I&aposll give it a &aposgood&apos as of right now. Watney credits his improved putting for his blistering 2011 campaign but concedes he is still coming to terms with the undulating greens at The Lakes. “This is the best I&aposve putted for a year stretch,” he said. “And I am getting more and more used to situations and being in contention, knowing how I react to different situations.” “I think the combination of those two help boost my performance.” “I did not putt so well today, to be honest. The greens, from what I hear, the wind can blow pretty well.” “I think they keep them a little on the slower side so the balls don&apost roll.” “The surfaces are nice and I have one more day to get used to the speed.”