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Jonathan Wall

Nick Watney is the hottest golfer on the planet

Jonathan Wall
Devil Ball Golf

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Martin Kaymer may be the top golfer on the planet, and Mark Wilson may be the only multiple winner on the PGA Tour this season, but neither is the hottest golfer on the planet.

Nope. That title goes to Nick Watney, who won the biggest tournament of his career on Sunday by beating a loaded field at Doral to pick up his first win in two years. Coming into the tournament, Watney was ranked 31st in the World Golf Rankings and wasn't even considered one of the top American golfers in the world -- which is hard to believe when you see his eye-popping stats from this season.

In the first five events in 2011, Watney hasn't finished outside the top 10, his worst finish a tie for ninth at the WGC-Accenture Match Play. So why is he not being mentioned with the likes of Matt Kuchar and Bubba Watson?

It's because Watney hasn't been able to seal the deal. While his finishes have been high, the California native hasn't been able to win, usually settling for a solid week and a nice paycheck. Watney was a perfect pick for your fantasy golf team, but he clearly wasn't worth betting on if you needed to pick a guy to win a tournament.

But that all changed after this weekend. After banging on the door for his third PGA Tour victory, he was able to close things out at an event that could be the perfect springboard for a run at his first major championship. His seventh-place finish at last year's Masters shows he has the game for Augusta National, and judging by the way he's currently playing, who knows, we could be looking at the best pick to win the first major of the year.

That's assuming Watney can handle the spotlight. For a guy who speaks softly and tends to shy away from the limelight, Watney now finds himself in uncharted territory. No longer an underdog after beating the best in the world, we now get to see how he plays as a frontrunner.

Even with the increased pressure, there's no reason to think he won't thrive in this situation -- especially with the way he's putting and making birdies in bunches at the moment. Sunday's win at Doral could be the start of a very special season for one of the quietest guys on tour.

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