Watney's wife steps in for caddie
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP)
When heat stroke felled his caddie late in the first round of the CIMB Classic, Nick Watney's wife, Amber, stepped in to help.
His eventual win Sunday in the $6.1 million tournament was a long way off when she volunteered to pick up the bag when regular caddie Chad Reynolds was taken to the first-aid room and put on an I-V drip at the steamy Mines Resort.
She isn't a golfer and admits she doesn't have a clue about how to read a yardage book, but she gave plenty of moral support when she heaved the bag on the 18th hole and walked with her husband to the end of his first round Thursday.
Watney used a local caddie for the second round Friday. Then Reynolds was fit enough to return for work on the weekend.
Amber Watney said as the daughter of a seasoned tour caddie, she was willing to negotiate on the fees after her husband won the $1.3 million first prize. Watney narrowly missed out on a 59 in the last round when he bogeyed the last hole. Perhaps it will come into Watney's calculations when he's buying her a gift for their second wedding anniversary, which is Tuesday.
Amber joked that the fact it was only one hole — he made par on the 18th with her on the bag — didn't detract from her contribution.
''I was behind the rope, watching the round. Nick just waved me over and said, `Chad's going to go to the first-aid tent,' '' she recounted Sunday. ''I said `I'll carry the bag.'
''He's like, `Are you sure?''
Her father, Rusty Uresti, is a tour caddie in the United States. Her uncle, Omar Uresti, is professional golfer who has had a top-10 finish on the PGA Tour and two titles on the Web.com tour.
''So Nick was telling me, `It's in the blood, it's in the blood,' '' she said. ''I put in my application for Friday's round, but I was denied. I was OK with that!''
Reynolds was back on the bag for the third and fourth rounds — when Watney shot 65 and 61 to win by a stroke— saying he didn't fly 24 hours to just sit in his room all weekend.
Watney had 11 birdies in the first 17 holes Sunday and needed only one more to join an elite club of players who've gone under 60 in a competitive round on a major tour. He had a bogey on the last hole, but it didn't bother him because, he said, the win was more important. And he praised Reynolds' contribution for keeping him level-headed.
On the 11th, Watney said Reynolds convinced him to lay up instead of going for the green, and that was the key to his birdie.
''Then, on the very next hole, I wanted to hit a 7-iron, he said it was an 8, and I hit it about 4 feet and made another birdie,'' Watney said. ''He definitely helped me. And it's good just to have somebody you're comfortable with coming down the stretch.''
As for Amber, she's planning on enjoying her first trip to Malaysia. Watney has won five times on the PGA Tour. His win in the CIMB Classic, which will become an official event on the PGA Tour next year, was his first in Asia.
''My wife carried the last hole (Thursday), so she can say that we won the tournament when she caddied,'' Watney said.