DORAL, Fla. (AP) — Steve Stricker is playing a part-time schedule this year. He might consider becoming a part-time putting coach for Tiger Woods.
Stricker is among the best putters in golf, and he has given advice to Woods when asked. So when Woods approached him on the putting green on the eve of the Cadillac Championship, they worked together for about 45 minutes.
And it seems to have worked.
“Whatever he says, I’m doing to do,” Woods said. “He’s one of the best putters that’s ever lived.”
Woods said his posture was a little off from where it was at Torrey Pines, where he earned his 75th career victory. Woods took only 23 putts in the first round and was 18th out of 65 players in the key putting stat on the PGA Tour. It led to a 6-under 66 and a share of the lead.
“He can see the things that are off a little bit because he knows my stroke so well,” Woods said. “Just gave me a couple little things to talk about and, lo and behold, I started feeling just like I did at Torrey.”
Stricker, who is playing only about 11 tournaments this year, said he told Woods on Wednesday that if he were on the payroll, he could play even less.
“Did he say he putted good?” Stricker asked after he shot a 67.
This is not the first time Stricker has worked with Woods. He also gave him some advice at the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne, and that worked out well for Woods.
“He was talking a little yesterday that a couple of putts were bothering him,” Stricker said. “I always hate to interject anything with him, but he was open to it. You don’t want to screw a guy up, either. But when I left him last night, he was really excited and it looked like he was rolling it really good then.
“I was glad to see him shoot 6 under.”
Stricker said changes to Woods’ long swing and his chipping occasionally creeps into his putting stroke. He said Woods’ putting grip can get strong, and in this case, he noticed Woods’ hands were behind the ball.
“Just tried to get him set up in a better position where he could feel like he could accelerate down through the line a little bit,” Stricker said.
Woods wasn’t perfect. He missed four birdie chances inside 15, including two inside 12 feet when he was picking up some momentum.
For the longest time, Woods’ primary putting coach was his father, who died in May 2006. Stricker, however, has known Woods for some 15 years and says they have the same philosophy when it comes to the putter, even if they go about it differently.
“He’s open to hearing what I have to say sometimes, which is flattering to me,” Stricker said. “We try to help each other out, and he’s helped me out a bunch of times, too.”
And this probably won’t be the last time.
“I’m think I’m going to have a contract with him because he’s only going to play what, five tournaments this year?” Woods said, exaggerating Stricker’s limited schedule. “I’ll bring him out in his off weeks, put his ball away for a week and come out. No, that’s what friends do. Friends help each other out, and Steve and I have been friends for a long time.”
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