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Masters Countdown: Bubba Watson goes for two in three years

By Kyle Porter | Golf Writer

Bubba Watson, grinder? (Getty Images)
Bubba Watson, grinder? (Getty Images)

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As part of the Eye on Golf Masters preview we will look at a few of the top golfers in the world and what their chances are of winning the 2014 Masters.

You could argue Bubba Watson has had as good a year as any other golfer inside the top 20 in the world this year. A win and two near-wins will do that for a fellow.

But as we've seen again and again, form often means little as the scene turns to north Georgia. How will Watson fare in the 2014 Masters?

Let's take a look.

World rank

No. 12: Watson actually got as low as No. 30 earlier this season but bounced back after finishing second in Phoenix and winning the Northern Trust Open.

Odds of winning

20-1: These are pretty fair odds for him, though I wouldn't put any money (fake or otherwise) on him winning it.

Why he'll win it

Watson will have to putt immensely to win this tournament again which is good because he currently has a 255-hole streak going without a three-putt. Yes, Bubba Watson.

That speaks to the bigger picture, though, that Bubba has to be in total control of his mental game for 72 holes and he has of late. He has grinded top 10s like he's Ernie Els or Matt Kuchar out there.

Plus, he's one of only a handful of favorites who can call himself a Masters champ.

Why he won't win it

Nobody has ever doubted his supreme talent but his major record (two top 10s and a win in 25 events in his career) hasn't suggested he's the best mentally in the biggest four weeks of the year.

Case in point: His 10 in the final round at Augusta last year. He only made nine bogeys total the week he won it in 2012.

He hits it forever and Augusta National is wide open so he'll have as many chances as anybody but if something goes badly that Bubba Meltdown is usually only a few strokes away.

Quotable

"What do you think about the gap over here?"

Stat you should know

One of my favorite weird stats about this year's Masters is that outside of Tiger Woods, the only right-handed American to win it since Mark O'Meara in 1998 is Zach Johnson in 2007. What does that have to do with Bubba? He was one of the left-handed Americans wearing green in that time.

Another stat: Only eight golfers have won two Masters in a three-year stretch. Those are Horton Smith, Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo, Tiger Woods, and Phil Mickelson. Watson can become No. 9.

Recently at Augusta...

2009: T42
2010: DNP
2011: T38
2012: Won
2013: T50

Recently on the PGA Tour...

Watson has had a terrific season so far. He has five top 10s in eight events including two top twos and a win. He dropped out of his most recent tournament (the Arnold Palmer Invitational) with allergy problems.

Prediction

I think Watson makes the cut but finishes outside the top 20. He just hasn't been strong in majors over the course of his career save that fantastic week two years ago. He'll either win or not even be in the mix.

More predictions: Phil Mickelson | Adam Scott | Rory McIlroy

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnGolf and @KylePorterCBS on Twitter or Google+ and like us on Facebook.

 
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