This week before the Masters tees off, we'll be sizing up the green-jacket chances of many of golf's top players. We continue with a guy that hits it long and is having his best year so far on tour.
Current world ranking: 17
So far this year: The start of the year was fantastic for Bubba, who had a top 25 in Hawaii and then won at Torrey Pines, holing a lengthy par putt on the 18th green that forced Phil Mickelson to attempt to hole a wedge from the fairway for a playoff. He followed up his second career win with a semifinals appearance at the Accenture Match Play before being ousted by Martin Kaymer.
Record at Augusta: He has played in two Masters, making the cut in both. In 2008 he finished tied for 20th, great for someone playing their first Masters, but a 48th place was all he could muster in 2009. Bubba didn't make the field last season.
Why he could win: Because lefties have had a ton of success at Augusta National the last few years, and Bubba has the perfect ball flight for this golf course. Also, he's long, which matches up well here, and his touch has been incredibly precise this season, another bonus. Bubba comes off as a more controlled John Daly back when Daly had game; someone that can bomb it for miles, but has great touch around the greens. Also, he seems to be able to control his nerves better this season than any other, and he's coming off a playoff loss at the last major championship, meaning he's been there and can take positives from that experience.
Why he could fall short: Because it's the Masters, and you have to keep a level head for 72 holes to have a chance. Watson has done a lot better job this season at getting frustrated, but you can't let the golf course get the best out of you. If Bubba has trouble controlling his temper, he could drop some unneeded shots, and that could do him in at Augusta.
Our take: I think Bubba is going to have a great week, and I think the golf course sets up perfectly for him. I expect a top-10 finish for Watson, especially with how he will be able to attack the par-5s.
Your turn, friends. Your take on Watson's chances at Augusta this year?