Much like Stockton in the latter stages of his playing career, Stricker is considered a putting guru from whom other players have sought help. Never was this more under the microscope than a few weeks ago, when he gave Tiger Woods a tip prior to the WGC-Cadillac Championship only to watch his de facto pupil beat him by two strokes.
“[Stockton] 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,” Stricker said. “So he did a lot of that when he was out on Tour. 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.”
He punctuated the last part of that statement with a laugh, but Stricker’s potential prowess as a short game instructor is no joking matter.
“I've had three, four, five guys come by today and ask if they could get a putting lesson,” he revealed Wednesday afternoon. “I'm hearing it all over the place.”
Stricker does understand the need to say no every once in a while – if only to be able to concentrate on preparing his own game rather than those of his peers.
“You still have to pay attention to what you're doing, otherwise you get up in everybody else and what they need to fix in their game and your game goes by the wayside all of a sudden,” he explained. “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.”
As for his buddy – and (sort of) pupil Woods – Stricker said he is humbled by the recognition he’s received for working with him, but doesn’t believe he should take too much of the credit.
“We've talked putting a lot before and whether something really clicked this time for him, I don't know,” he said. “I mean, he seemed happy when I left him on that Wednesday, and to throw me a bone like did he at the end of the tournament, it was very nice. He doesn't do that very often, so that was nice.
“I didn't see that coming. Like I said, something really hit home with him there when I spent that time with him, and it's good to see.”