February 4, 2015 / 9:55 PM / 4 years ago

Struggling Tiger says focus is on being ready for Masters

LA JOLLA, California (Reuters) - Tiger Woods, coming off his worst score as a professional, was not overly concerned with his less-than-stellar pro-am showing on Wednesday, saying instead he is focused on peaking in time for the Masters.

Tiger Woods chips onto the second green during a practice round for the Farmers Insurance Open at the Torrey Pines South Course. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Rather than talking up his chances of winning his 80th PGA Tour event at this week’s Farmers Insurance Open, Woods was focused on the April 9-12 Masters, the year’s first major.

“The whole idea is to make sure that I’m ready for Augusta, so I got a lot of rounds to play between now and then,” Woods said at Torrey Pines, site of the Farmers Insurance Open.

“I’m always making progress, it’s just that I just still need to stick with it and keep doing it. This is going to be a tough week.”

Woods has won eight tournaments at Torrey Pines, including a U.S. Open, but the 14-time major winner appears more likely to miss the cut this week after a troubling pro-am.

Coming off his worst performance as a professional last week in Phoenix, Woods continued to struggle with his swing and short game during in a fog-shortened practice round.

Woods spent much of his nine-hole pro-am practicing his short game off to the side as he battles what many experts are calling chipping yips.

If his chipping troubles persist, Woods could easily dip lower than his current world ranking of 56th, putting his place at next month’s WGC-Cadillac Championship in serious doubt.

Woods must return to the top 50 by the completion of the Honda Classic on March 2 otherwise face the reality of missing WGC eligibility for the second time in his career.

The 39-year-old says all of his problems stem from being stuck between his old swing pattern and his new one.

“When I have to hit shots, or shape shots, I’m caught right dead in between (patterns). They are so polar opposites, the movement patterns, that when I do half of one or half of the other, it’s pretty bad,” Woods said.

“I’m battling through that, battling through those times and trying to come with feel, even if I do happen to make a bad swing.

“I want to get this. I want to be ready come Augusta and the rest of the majors, but we still got some work to do.”

Editing by Frank Pingue

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