The Norman Transcript

National Sports

April 9, 2013

Stricker hoping Tiger returns favor

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Steve Stricker wouldn’t mind if Tiger Woods returned the favor, only it’s not that easy.

Woods is back to No. 1 in the world, a return to the top that received a boost last month at Doral when Stricker worked with him for nearly an hour on the putting green.

He noticed that Woods needed a slight adjustment in his setup, and when the light came on, Woods seemed to hit warp speed. He won Doral, he won Bay Hill two weeks later and showed up at the Masters as the favorite to win.

Now if only Stricker can get Woods to show him how to win a green jacket.

The Masters is the only major in which Stricker has never been in serious contention. He was runner-up in the PGA Championship at Sahalee. He played in the final group in the British Open at Carnoustie. He was tied for the lead going to the back nine at Oakmont in the U.S. Open.

For some reason, Augusta National has his number. He tied for sixth in 2009, his best result, though he was never a factor that day.

“I’ve had a couple decent tournaments here,” Stricker said Monday. “For the most part I’ve struggled here a little bit. I’m starting to feel a little bit more comfortable going around here, but there’s still a few things I haven’t figured out — or I’ve gotten in my way a few times here, too. Just not committing to shots, not committing to lines, feeling a little overwhelmed about this place at times, I think.

“So there’s been some issues, not only physically, but I think mentally here, as well,” he said. “It’s a challenging spot and it’s a challenging course.”

Time is not on his side.

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