Tiger Woods believes his game is slowly coming together as he prepares to start the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Akron which could end with him being dethroned as world number one.
The 34-year-old last won a title at the BMW Championship in September 2009, two months before Woods took a break from the game. He is still looking for his first win since he returned in April but he feels there are reasons for optimism as he looks to claim his fifth consecutive Firestone title.
"I've been through stretches when I haven't won and it's a matter of putting the pieces together and being patient, it's not something that happens overnight," he said. "I'm not one of those players who plays really badly and then really well. You start seeing trends and I've started to put things together and I am very excited."
Woods appeared unconcerned by the threat to his status which could see him replaced as number one by either Lee Westwood or Phil Mickelson.
Mickelson could reach the number one spot for the first time with a top-four finish providing Woods is well down the field, but if he wins the tournament there is nothing Woods can do to prevent the end of his latest five-year reign.
Westwood, runner-up in the Masters and Open this season, has to finish first or second just to have a chance of overtaking the two Americans.
However, he refused to focus too much on the possibility of losing his number one ranking, saying: "Am I conscious of the pack closing in? Yes, because every tournament you guys remind me.
"You just keep playing - how I got here in the first place was playing golf tournaments and how I sustained it was by winning golf tournaments.
"Winning tournaments takes care of a lot of things. Being number one is one of them."