Poulter: Woods won't finish in top five
English golfer Ian Poulter said Tuesday that Tiger Woods will not finish in the top five at this week's Masters -- a claim the former world No. 1 brushed off.
Woods, now ranked seventh, has finished in the top five in five of the past six years at Augusta, Ga., but world No. 16 Poulter did not expect Woods to land near the top of the leaderboard this weekend.
"The shots he was hitting at Doral, they were very inconsistent," said Poulter, the English Ryder Cup star. Woods came in 10th at the WGC-Cadillac Championship a month ago.
"You can't afford to hit shots like that round this golf course and get away with it.
"I don't think he'll finish in the top five."
But Woods, without a win now for almost 17 months and also in the process of changing his swing again, gave a sharp response to Poulter's prediction.
"Well, Poulter is always right, isn't he?" the 14-time major winner said.
"My whole idea is to try to win the golf tournament and that's what I'm trying to do.
"My whole idea is to prepare. I've prepared all year to peak four times a year and that has not changed, and that's what I'm trying to do."
On whether he felt ready to take a fifth green jacket, Woods simply nodded and replied, "Mm-hmm."
Then, when asked what part of his game was ready, he smiled and said, "Everything."
The last top-five finish Woods had was in December at the Chevron World Challenge in California. He led by four with a round to go, but lost in a playoff to U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell.
The Northern Irishman will be one of his two playing partners this week -- the pair joined by Australian Robert Allenby, who played with Woods at Doral last month.