Leading up to The Masters, we'll offer up our thoughts on some of the game's best players and their chances to win at Augusta. We continue with an Englishman who's still looking for his first major championship.
His 2012 so far: Westwood has been his usual, consistent self so far this year, posting a second-place finish at the Dubai Desert Classic, and a fourth at the Honda Classic. Even with the top-5 finishes, he's still without a win this year, which may or may not be a big deal going into the Masters. It really depends on who you talk to.
His Masters record: He's a Masters vet, having made 12 starts in the past 15 years. It's hard to believe Westwood has been coming to Augusta National for that long, but his local knowledge has certainly paid off in recent years with three top-15 finishes in his last four starts, including a second in 2010. He finished T-11 last year.
Why he could win: Because he's been close before, and conventional wisdom tells you that a player of his caliber is going to break through at some point. Westwood knows Augusta National, so it's not like he's at a disadvantage this week. He hits the ball a mile off the tee and is relatively solid around the greens, two things that should serve him well this week. The only question is his mental game on Sunday, but if he gets a lead, watch out.
Why he could lose: Because he still doesn't have a major championship, which makes you wonder if the questions and self-doubt could force him to press if he gets close on Sunday. Westwood certainly has all the tools to win at Augusta, but being so close so many times, maybe this just isn't the major he's supposed to win.
Our take: You can almost take Westwood posting a top 10 finish to the bank, but beyond that, it's hard to say what he's going to do on the weekend. He hasn't won a big tournament of note since the 2010 St. Jude Classic, and that could be a problem. Even with the mid-tier wins of late, that doesn't necessarily mean his game is ready for the big stage. We see another strong finish in his future, but no Green Jacket.
Your turn, friends. Your take on Westwood's chances at Augusta this year?