By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
Josh Teater's first three seasons on the PGA TOUR were by all accounts a success -- he qualifield for the FedExCup Playoffs every year and twice finished with more than $1 million in earnings. The only thing missing was a win.
Last week in San Diego, he nearly got it (save for Tiger Woods' runaway victory). The runner-up finish by Teater was a career best for the 33-year-old. And it's a result he might not have achieved if not for some putting advice he received from Steve Stricker at last year's John Deere Classic.
Stricker spent 30 minutes with Teater on the putting green, and the the two later played a practice round together during the Playoffs.
"(He got me) to take better control over the putter," Teater said Wednesday in an interview with John Swantek on Talk of the TOUR on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. "It's given me way more consistency. It made me a world of difference."
Case in point: The last two years, Teater ranked 142nd and 132nd in strokes gained-putting. He was also 174th and 99th in total putting and 135th and 79th on putts inside 10 feet.
This year, Teater ranks 16th in strokes gained-putting, 15th in total putting and 10th on putts inside 10 feet.
Always a good ball-stiker, the short game was the one area Teater needed the most work on. Enter Stricker, one of the best putters in the history of the game, and his advice.
At Torrey Pines, Teater one-putted his final eight holes and led the field in strokes gained-putting.
"Last year I feel like I turned the corner," Teater said. "(The advice from Stricker) is what kept me in there last week."
And possibly headed toward that elusive first victory.