by Jeff Skinner
As the PGA Tour professionals move on to Tampa or head home for a week off I can’t help but wonder how many are muttering Steve Stricker’s name. Stricker may have unleashed a monster this week. His putting lesson with his good friend Tiger Woods allowed Tiger to find the secret to his putter that has been missing for so long.
Tiger’s short game is now where he needs it to be as he has a good handle on his wedge and irons. His driver will always be suspect but he is hitting it long and finding more than half the fairways so that’s all he really needs.
Even though he won three times last season his distance control and his putter held him back. Now, thanks to a grooved swing by his coach and a quick tip from his buddy Tiger’s game looks complete.
So I wonder if the rest of the tour wants to grab Stricker and scream “What were you thinking! See, he beat you by two measly putts!”
But that’s Stricker, he’s a friend to Woods, and to most everyone in the game and if he can help you he will regardless if it may come back to bite him later on.
It’s an odd match Stricker and Tiger. Tiger carries an ego the size of his palatial estate. Stricker looks to have no ego at all. Tiger keeps the media at two arms length and rarely offers any true insights to himself. Stricker is an open book and spends plenty of time giving the press everything they ask. Tiger likes to step on the throats of his opponents. Stricker gives them advice. Tiger likes to fist pump when he wins. Stricker usually cries at his.
Stricker is the quintessential mid-westerner. He has no airs, speaks his mind, politely of course and cares about his friends and neighbors. And more than just talking the talk, he is walking the walk. This season he’ll play less than a dozen tournaments so he can stay home and work on his charitable foundation and spend some time with his family. It’s not all about winning for Stricker.
Two different golfers: two different men.