Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker go way back, so when the semi-retired half of the perennial Ryder Cup duo urges his partner to "take ownership of his swing," his words of wisdom carry some weight.
Stricker, who plays an even more limited schedule than his opening-rounds playing partner at the Greenbrier Classic, stopped short of saying Woods should ditch current swing consultant Chris Como. But he added his to the many voices opining that the 14-time major champion should trust himself more than anyone else when it comes to his game.
"I think the main thing is that he needs to come up with his game plan," Stricker, who has frequently tutored Woods on his putting, told Golf Channel’s Gary Williams ahead of this week’s PGA Tour stop at The Old White TPC. "This is what Tiger needs to do: Do it himself."
"I’m not saying that he can’t have a teacher or anything like that, but it needs to come from him and ‘This is the things that I want to change,’ and take ownership of his swing," Stricker said of the struggling former ace who has plummeted from No. 1 in the world to his current 220th ranking. "He surely knows how to swing a club and knows how to play."
Woods' critics might disagree, pointing to his recent record of a missed cut at the U.S. Open following a career-worst 36-hole score at a major and a last-place finish at the Memorial (after starting the year with an MC in Phoenix and an early withdrawal from Torrey Pine, with a T17 at the Masters mixed in).
So far, so good, during Wednesday’s Greenbrier pro-am, though Woods has had problems taking his game from the range and practice sessions to the course when it counts.
Tiger has had issues taking it from practice to competition, buuut...he hit every FW & green on front nine. Shot 32 on own ball(par 34). So.— GC Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) July 1, 2015
In any case, Stricker, who is 48 years old to Woods' 39, hoped to see his old friend rebound from the doldrums of his prolonged slump and give the talented kids who are stealing the headlines from the old guys a dose of the erstwhile Woods mystique.
"We need him out here. We need him out here playing well," Stricker said. "We want the old Tiger back, playing at a high level to challenge these younger kids, [top-ranked] Rory [McIlroy], and [reigning Masters champ] Jordan [Spieth], and [U.S. Open runner-up] Dustin Johnson. Hopefully he gets it back."
Woods, Stricker and David Lingmerth kick off their Greenbrier Classic on the 10th tee on Thursday at 8:10 a.m. ET.
SB Nation video archives: Urban golfing with a U.S. Open champ (2012)