U.S. Open chances: Why Lee Westwood could win at Olympic Club

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 Lee Westwood, another Englishman who's still looking for that elusive major championship win.

Lee Westwood

His 2012 so far: For the most part, it's been an uneventful year for Lee Westwood. He picked up his first win of 2012 just last week at the European Tour's Nodrea Masters, and has five top-5 finishes in 11 stroke-play events. But other than that we haven't heard a whole lot from him this year. Still, we're pretty sure most golfers would kill for that kind of consistency.

His record at the U.S. Open: It's actually quite good. His last four starts have consisted of two third-place finishes and a pair of top-25s; that's the kind of track record that would lead you to believe Westwood would be a decent pick this week. Even better is the fact that he finished T-7 the last time the U.S. Open was hosted at Olympic Club in 1998.

Why he could win: Look, we all know the U.S. Open is about hitting as many fairways and greens as possible. That's why it makes sense to pick a golfer who can keep the ball in play -- especially at a course like Olympic Club. Based on stats alone, Westwood could be that guy. He currently leads the tour in greens in regulation, and ranks sixth in ball striking and birdie average. And even though his seventh-place U.S. Open finish was all the way back in 1998, it shows he has some positive history at Olympic.

Why he could fall short: Remember who we're talking about here: this is Lee Westwood, the guy who holds the "Best player never to win a major" title. Can we seriously trust him to close the deal? He's been close on numerous occasions, but every time he gets into contention on the weekend, it's like he realizes the magnitude of the moment and completely loses it. He may be one of the best golfers on the planet, but it always feels like there's something that keeps him from winning a major.

Our take: We know what you're thinking: nobody is crazy enough to take Lee Westwood this week. Well, friends, we're going to be the village idiot and go with the one guy who's broken our betting hearts on numerous occasions. Lee Westwood has the game to win at Olympic Club, and the way he's playing at the moment, it's finally time for him to take his rightful place in the winner's circle.

And you? What's your take on Lee Westwood's chances this week?

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