Torrey Pines welcomes pro golfers for Farmers Insurance Open

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TORREY PINES, Calif. – The Farmers Insurance Open welcomes the best golfers in the world to Torrey Pines this week.

With a backdrop of the Pacific Ocean, perfect weather and blue skies, all eyes will be on San Diego and world-famous weather. But the weather was not what these golfers were talking about.

“It would be like Roger Federer, the world’s greatest tennis player, not being able to hit his second serve in the ball box,” said Dr. Michael Lardon, a sports psychiatrist, who works with Phil Mickelson and just published a book called Mastering Golf Mental Game.

But he’s not talk about tennis – he’s talking about Tiger Woods.

“That’s the million dollar question. We’re going to find out if Tiger really developed the ‘yips’ or if this is just a technical problem he can work through.”

While the course at Torrey Pines looks and feels serene, the game of golf can be a pressure cooker and right now, no one knows that better than Tiger Woods.

“Tiger's first game of the year, he had difficult time with short game,” said Lardon. “For a guy of his stature who really has one of the greatest short games, that was pretty unusual.”

Then at last week's Phoenix Open, Tiger missed the cut, posting his worst career score ever.

"Tiger hacked the ball, he chunked the ball, he did what we called ‘yipp’ the ball,” said Lardon, “That is highly unusual.”

Peter Crone is a mind coach. He helps golfers get out of their own way to reach their fullest potential. He said pressure is the quickest way to ruin your game.

“Regardless of if it’s golf, or baseball players, business executives or even actors, the degree to which you have a perception of pressure is the degree to which the mind is going to move quicker," Crone said.

“So my first approach is to get guys or girls to a place where they are not going to be affected by circumstance.”

No one knows for sure what’s going on with Tiger Woods. He has yet to be seen at Tuesday practice rounds, but the speculation is rampant.

“He’s 40 now and he’s had knee problems and back problems,” said Lardon. “He’s rebuilt his swing five times. You can only go to the well so many times.”

The Pro-Am is Wednesday, followed by the PGA Tournament Thursday through Sunday.