Yips or no yips, Tiger is too technical: experts

Mon Feb 2, 2015 10:58am EST
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Whether or not Tiger Woods is suffering from the chipping 'yips', several mental game experts agree that the former world number one is paying a steep price for becoming too technically focused on his swing.

Woods stunned the golfing world last week when he missed the cut at the Phoenix Open, posting the worst score of his professional career as he struggled to a mind-boggling 11-over-par 82 in the second round at the TPC Scottsdale.

Playing only his second event in five months after enduring back problems for much of last year, Woods was especially poor with his chipping and hit shots fat or thin while occasionally resorting to a putter or a bump-and-run approach instead.

Some analysts are saying the 14-times major champion, once renowned for his sublime skills around the green, is suffering from the yips, an involuntary movement of the muscles.

Others see his struggles as confidence and mental issues.

"The yips are defined by a kind of flinch at impact and I didn't see a gross expression of that in what I saw of Tiger," Dr. Joe Parent, who helped major winners Vijay Singh and Cristie Kerr reach top spot in the world rankings, told Reuters.

"What I did see was a lack of confidence and what I would describe as overly mechanical thinking. He is having trouble finding the right angle to come in at the ball and therefore he doesn't want to risk those high-lofted clubs."

Woods, who has not won a major title since the 2008 U.S. Open, is still adapting to the fifth swing change of his career, this time with new consultant Chris Como.   Continued...

Tiger Woods walks through the gallery after recording the worst round of his professional career, carding an 11-over-par 82 during the second round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale. Jan 30, 2015; Scottsdale, AZ, USA;  Rob Schumacher-Arizona Republic via USA TODAY Sports