U.S. Open chances: Can Bubba Watson keep his Slam chances alive?

Leading up to the U.S. Open, we'll offer up our thoughts on some of the game's best players and their chances to win at Olympic Club. We continue our coverage with Bubba Watson, a guy who's only made two starts since his dramatic Masters victory.

Bubba Watson

His 2012 so far: With the exception of a missed cut at the Memorial, Watson has been the model of consistency this season. His playoff win at the Masters was, without question, the highlight of his season. But the career year doesn't stop there for the lefty, who also has a second-place finish and nine top 25s in 10 starts. That's Matt Kuchar-esque.

His record at the U.S. Open: It's been a mixed bag for Watson at the U.S. Open. In five starts, he's missed the cut twice and finished T-63; but he also has a T-5 (2007) and T-18 (2009). It's hard to say one way or the other if Watson has the game to win a U.S. Open, because he doesn't have enough appearances in the major to paint an accurate picture.

Why he could win: Because he's played well on tough U.S. Open tracks in the past, posting top-20 finishes at Oakmont and Bethpage. Knowing how difficult Olympic's going to be playing this week, having that kind of past success is never a bad thing. Plus, if Bubba can keep it in the fairway (and that's a big if), he's always a threat with his length off the tee.

Why he could fall short: The U.S. Open favors golfers who can hit fairways and greens on a consistent basis -- two things he has trouble doing. Bubba enjoys going for broke and firing at impossible pins, but if he tries to do that at Olympic, he could find himself in a world of trouble. Simply put, we don't think he has the patience to stay in the tournament and grind for 72 holes.

Our take: It'd be fantastic to see Watson keep his Grand Slam hopes alive with a U.S. Open win, but let's be honest, this course just doesn't suit his game. The narrow fairways and thick rough are going to cause him a lot of trouble off the tee, and his lack of tournament reps in the last few months makes you wonder if he's in form. We see a top-30 finish in Watson's future.

And you? What's your take on Bubba Watson's chances this week?