Stricker seemed to take as much satisfaction from Woods’ successful round as Woods.
“Tiger was talking about how a couple putts were bothering him, and I always hate to interject, but he was open to it,” Stricker said. “When I left him [Wednesday] night he was really excited. You never know, you could hurt the guy, giving him a tip or two, or you could help him out.”
Stricker was simply paying it forward. He recalled one time at Doral when his driver shots were a mess. He finished a round with playing partner Jack Nicklaus and “he’s like, ‘I’ll meet you on the range,’ ” Stricker said. “I had made the cut and he hadn’t. He just took time to help me figure some things out.
“Although we are competitors, we are friends. And you like to see your friend do well, and sometimes you need another pair of eyes.”
Without Ralph Boston’s selfless takeoff tip to Bob Beamon at the Mexico City Olympics, Beamon would have fouled out of the long jump instead of setting the world record. Likewise, Luz Long helped rival Jesse Owens at the Berlin Olympics.
At Doral, Phil Mickelson, tied for second at 67, talked about how pleasant it was to spend four hours playing against Stricker and Bubba Watson, chatting about their kids, admiring the beautiful weather, chuckling after his unorthodox shot from the cart path. Even Stricker’s wife Nicki, who was his caddie, was integral to the competition.
“She’s one of our favorite wives,” Mickelson said. In what sport other than golf do you hear that?
Kevin Garnett to Carmelo Anthony, while elbow-locked under the basket: “Melo, your spouse is one of my favorites. Want to have beers after the game? We can exchange rebounding tips.”