Most guys on the PGA Tour deem a season to be a success or failure based on the number of made cuts and top-10 finishes they're able to rack up during an 11-month span.
Nick Watney used to have those very same goals when he reached the summit, also known as the PGA Tour, in 2005. For a young guy coming out of Fresno State, it was all about surviving, until 2007 when he won the Zurich Classic.
That's when the game officially changed. Since his first win on tour, Watney's gone on to win three times in the last five years, including multiple wins just last season. Unlike most, the 31-year-old no longer considers a season full of top 10s to be a success. It's all about wins.
If you would've asked him prior to The Barclay to rate his season, Watney probably would've given it a passing grade; but by no means was it a successful year for a rising star. His best finish an eighth-place showing at the Wells Fargo, Watney was looking for a win to salvage his mediocre season.
He managed to get exactly what he was looking for on Sunday at Bethpage Black, coming from two shots back to win for the third time in the last two years. The win also vaulted Watney into the top spot in the FedExCup rankings and all but assured he'll be in the running for the $10 million payday next month at the Tour Championship.
"I'm just very, very happy right now," Watney said. "It's been not quite the year I would have wanted, but this really makes it all forgotten."
While Watney's win made him FedExCup relevant, it also did something else on Sunday: It made him Ryder Cup relevant again. Before Sunday, the five-time PGA Tour winner was likely not on Davis Love III's radar for the biennial matches.
For a guy who looked a lock to make the team at the beginning of 2012, he wasn't even being mentioned as a potential captain's pick coming into the week. Obviously, that all changed following his victory.
Watney had more than enough to worry about heading into the Deutsche Bank -- he's in line to potentially win $10 million, which is kind of a big deal -- but following The Barclays, he can add "impressing Davis Love III" to his already-full plate.
Winning the FedExCup would be a big deal, but you have to believe Watney would love to make his first Ryder Cup appearance next month at Medinah. This season was officially deemed a success following his win, but making the American Ryder Cup team would definitely make 2012 a year to remember.