Sep 29, 2012; Medinah, IL, USA; United States golfer Tiger Woods is paired with Steve Stricker during the afternoon session of the 39th Ryder Cup on day two at Medinah Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Tiger Woods Has New Putting Coach


After watching Tiger Woods struggle with his putter at The Honda Classic last week, Steve Stricker offered the world’s number two golfer a putting tip earlier in the week that seems to have done the trick. Woods rolled in nine birdies on Thursday at The WGC-Cadillac to shoot a  -6 under, 66 which was good for a share of the first round lead.

Earlier in the week, Steve Stricker was working with Woods on the shaft angle of Woods’ putter to better align it with his ball position at address. It must have helped, because nine birdies is just one shy of his record of 10 birdies which he made twice, at the 2005 Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines’ North Course and at the 2003 Bay Hill Invitational.

Tiger only need 23 putts in his round on Thursday which included 11 one putt greens. Tiger hit 13 greens in regulation.

“Whatever he says, I’m going to do,” Woods said of longtime friend Stricker. “He’s one of the best putters that’s ever lived. He can see things that are off a little bit because he knows my stroke so well.

“Did it help me today? Yes, it did, certainly. It was nice to be able to hit putts like that again today.”

Steve Stricker is in the world class field this week, but is only playing select events in 2013 due to a reduced schedule. He plans to take more time off this year, to spend with his family. He has his wife on the bag this week at Doral.

“I think I’m going to have a contract with him because he’s only going to play, what, five tournaments this year,” Woods joked. “I’ll bring him out in his off weeks.”

Tiger also changed out his 5-wood this week at The Blue Monster. He took his Nike SQ out of the bag, and replaced it with the new Covert.

“This one they made was a little deeper face, which is very similar to what I had, and something where I could get it out there,” Woods said. “I finally put one in play that I felt comfortable with. There’s a little bit bigger gap between the 3‑iron and the 5‑wood, but I can hit this 5‑wood a little bit higher, so I can actually take something off it and throw it up in the air.”

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