FARMINGDALE, N.Y. — Even after a year that didn't come close to his expectations, Nick Watney wasn't about to give up on his season.
Amazing how one week changed his outlook in so many ways.
He beat one of the strongest fields of the year at The Barclays, on the tough track of Bethpage Black. Winning the opening playoff event for the FedEx Cup guarantees him a good shot at the $10 million prize. And suddenly, playing in the Ryder Cup becomes a lot more realistic.
That all came into play Sunday when Watney didn't miss a green until the 16th hole, turned a two-shot deficit against Sergio Garcia into a three-shot lead, overcame a trio of three-putt bogeys with clutch birdies, and closed with a 2-under 69 for a three-shot victory.
“It's been not quite the year I wanted," Watney said. “But this really makes it all forgotten. Winning a tournament is hard, but winning out here and against this field was very, very difficult. I'm kind of still on a high right now."
U.S. captain Davis Love III has a lot more choices for his four wild-card selections next week.
Watney won by three shots over Brandt Snedeker, who already was part of the discussion as a potential pick. Snedeker, a winner in San Diego and a contender in the British Open, battled to the end and made big putts on the last two holes for a 1-under 70 to finish alone in second.
Dustin Johnson, also under consideration as a pick, shot 68 and tied for third with Garcia, whose bogey on the final hole gave him a 75.
Not even Watney thought he was worthy of being picked for the Ryder Cup going into the week.
“I'm thinking much more now than I was coming in," he said. “Coming in here, I didn't deserve to be in the conversation because I had not played my way in. Someone told me that Davis said he wanted a hot player, and we still have a week to go. But like I said, I'd love to be on the team. But I'm not really concerned with it just because it's out of my control."
Love will announce his picks after the second playoff event, the Deutsche Bank Championship, which ends on Labor Day. Steve Stricker and Jim Furyk are likely to be two of those picks, and the other two suddenly are wide open.
“Ryder Cup is definitely on my mind," Snedeker said. “But I'm not letting it affect the way I play. Try to win every golf tournament. It gives me more motivation to do it, and if I do that, I know I will make the decision easy for them."
Watney, who won for the fifth time in his career, finished at 10-under 278.
In what amounted to a duel with Garcia for so much of the day, Watney fell two shots behind after he three-putted for bogey on the fifth hole and Garcia made a 40-footer for birdie on the next hole. Garcia, going for his second straight PGA Tour win, never had much of a chance after that.
“I hit a couple bad shots at the wrong moments," Garcia said. “And unfortunately, I just wasn't feeling comfortable."
And while it was effectively a two-man race for much of the day, there was plenty at stake in the FedEx Cup. Only the top 100 players advance to the Deutsche Bank for the second of four playoff events. The biggest move belonged to Graham DeLaet of Canada, who started the week at No. 106 and was right on the bubble going into the final round. He shot a 65 to end the tournament in a tie for fifth and is now No. 44 in the playoff standings.
Also on Sunday:
Blake takes Boeing Classic
SNOQUALMIE, Wash. — Jay Don Blake won the Boeing Classic for his third career Champions Tour title, beating Mark O'Meara with a birdie on the second hole of a playoff. Tom Jenkins, the second-round leader who was trying to become the tour's oldest winner at 64, shot a 78 to tie for 21st at 3 under.
Lawrie wins in home country
GLENEAGLES, Scotland — Scotland's Paul Lawrie marked the official confirmation of his return to the European Ryder Cup team after 13 years with a four-shot victory in the Johnnie Walker Championship. Lawrie qualified for the Ryder Cup next month at Medinah along with Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, Peter Hanson, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell, Francesco Molinari and Justin Rose. Jose Maria Olazabal will announce his two captain's picks today.
Stiles tops field in Tennessee
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Darron Stiles won the News Sentinel Open for his fifth career Web.com Tour title, closing with a 4-under 67 for a one-stroke victory.