British Open chances: Can Nick Watney get in the mix?

Jonathan Wall

This week before the British Open (or Open Championship for you across the pond), we will be previewing the top players in the world and their chances at Sandwich. We continue with another American hopeful.

Nick Watney

Current world ranking: 10

So far this year: Watney has been the model of consistency on the PGA Tour, winning twice this year and posting five top-10 finishes to go along with only two missed cuts. With the exception of Luke Donald and Steve Stricker, nobody has matched Watney's level of consistency this season.

Record at the British Open: There's something about the British Open that seems to agree with Watney. He finished T-7 last year at St. Andrews, and posted T-27 and T-35 finishes in his other two appearances. Making the cut in all three starts definitely bodes well for his chances at Royal St. George's.

Why he could win: Because Watney seems to thrive on difficult golf courses. His wins this year came at Doral and Aronimink, two courses that are definitely among the toughest on tour. He has the game to go low, but also knows how to win with pars. Plus, he has some recent success in the Open Championship that leads you to believe he has what it takes to break the American major drought.

Why he could fall short: Sure, Watney has two wins this year, but closing out a tour event and a major are completely different beasts. He had a chance at last year's PGA Championship but collapsed with a final-round 81. It makes you wonder if he has the nerves to handle the pressure, if he gets the lead this week.

Our take: I love this guy's game. He's long off the tee, doesn't make many mistakes, and seems to sneak under the radar at major championships. While I think there's a great chance Watney could be low American at the Open, I think he'll come up short this week and post a very respectable top-15 finish.

Your turn, folks. Do you think Watney has a shot to be low American this week and walk away with the Claret Jug?