March 27 2013
By Melanie Hauser, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
HUMBLE, Texas – Honestly, it wasn’t anything Steve Stricker hasn’t said before.
He and Tiger Woods have talked about putting a lot but ... just not when the cameras were rolling, not when they spent an hour together on the practice green and not when Tiger was justthisclose to putting it all together.
By all accounts, Stricker’s private tutoring session the Wednesday of the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship was the last piece of the puzzle.
In other words, some say with tongues firmly planted in their cheeks, it’s all Stricker’s fault that Tiger has now won the last two tournaments he’s played. It’s either that or chatter that Stricker could be the next Dave Stockton Sr.
“It's a little blown out of proportion, I think,’’ Stricker said, grinning. “Not that his -- not his putting stats and that he's putting good. But we've talked putting a lot before and whether something really clicked this time for him, I don't know.
“I mean, he seemed happy when I left him on that Wednesday, and to throw me a bone like did at the end of the tournament, it was very nice. He doesn't do that very often, so that was nice. But, yeah, no, I didn't see that coming. You know, it's something, like I said, something really hit home with him there when I spent that time with him, and it's good to see.’’
When asked what he told Tiger, Stricker grinned.
“Can’t tell you,’’ he said with a smile.
Whatever it was, he hasn’t been able to walk too far this week without someone asking him about a lesson.
“Some are joking,’’ he said. “I think some are serious.’’
That, of course, drew a big laugh.
“I talked to Dave Stockton Sr., last night on the putting green,’’ he said. “He said he experienced that same thing when he was out on TOUR; that he would give some putting lessons and guys would have some success.
“... And he said, what you have to do is, if you're going to help a guy is just tell the guy you never got help from me, so the word doesn't get out. That's not the way I am, I guess.’’
Stricker, one of the best putters on TOUR, refuses to get caught up in the buzz. He’s got enough going on managing his game now that he’s trimmed his schedule back, although he has finished in the top 5 in the three events he’s played in 2013.
“There's a fine line there watching out and taking care of yourself and making sure if somebody asks for help that you still can give it to them,’’ he said.