Can Bubba Watson Win The US Open?
By: Ross Starkey

Two years ago and you might have laughed at this statement. Since then Bubba golf has proved itself, more than ever with a faultless, almost nerveless performance at The Masters. But can the golfer himself perform at Pinehurst in two weeks time?

It's a bit hit and miss with Bubba; we saw him choke at the Phoenix Open and then bounce back two weeks later with a win at the Northern Trust Open, played on a former US Open track at Riviera. In April we saw a near perfect final nine holes to capture a second green jacket at The Masters. But then, the nerves were back on the 15th at the Memorial, a wild tee shot to someone's back garden that cost him two shots and victory.

Perhaps the biggest stumbling block to Bubba winning at Pinehurst is Bubba himself. He has a tendency to overthink shots:  Of his bad drive at 15 he said, “bad decision, trying to be a hero”. But this is his way and he seems to play his best when he's playing freely because at its heart, Bubba golf isn't about how, it's about how many.

Its about spraying a ball 330 off the tee, missing the green with a wedge and holing a forty footer for birdie, funnily enough, exactly what he did at the first hole of his final round at the Memorial.

Bubba once said that in order to hit a fade he “just aimed right and thought ’fade’”. If he plays as freely at Pinehurst he might well forget its the toughest of golfing tests.

A quick look at his stats would show that accuracy off the tee was Bubba golf's strongest suit this week. He was fourth in fairways hit at the Memorial (he led after three rounds) and second in total driving, trailing only Adam Scott.

So far this year, we have seen Bubba Watson complete tournaments as one of the most accurate off the tee. He doesn't do it every week, but then he doesn't need to. Take a look at Jimmy Walker, three-time winner this year and leading the FedExCup Standings, he's currently 191st in Driving Accuracy.

To win the US Open a player doesn't need to be the most consistent off the tee week in, week out, he just needs to put it together for one week.

At the Northern Trust Open he led the field in Driving Distance and was in the top ten in Driving Accuracy. At The Masters he again led the field in Driving and was 5th in Greens in Regulation.

He's also won on tour at Torrey Pines, also a US Open course and beating a five-time runner-up at the US Open - another swashbuckling lefty, Phil Mickelson.

Perhaps Bubba can win the US Open and as Pinehurst prepares itself by shaving off the rough from around the greens (Augusta-style), it might just play into Bubba's hands.