Stricker’s winning formula: ‘I just do what I do.’

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Why the downfall?

“Some of it was seeing the ability Tiger had,” Stricker said. “Then I started trying different things, different equipment. And I played a ton of golf in the fall. I didn’t get away from the game. As you know, you have to be fresh. You have to want to be out there.”

What a renaissance this has been.

Stricker won The Barclays in 2007, the first FedEx Cup playoff event. He won three times in 2009, twice more in 2010 and 2011, and started the 2012 season with yet another trophy. He has risen as high as No. 2 in the world. When he won the Deutsche Bank Championship in 2009, it was his first win with Woods in the field.

It’s different now.

He was paired with Woods at the start of every playoff event in 2009. They were represented by the same agent (Mark Steinberg) for years, but never were particularly close until that year. Stricker still noticed a difference in their ability. But he knew he was capable of good golf himself.

“I had built up some confidence, and I wasn’t worried about what he thought, or how I played with him,” Stricker said. “Then we started getting paired together, and then were partners in the Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup. And we became … well, we are friends. And now, it’s like going out to play with my friend. I don’t care about that stuff anymore.

“I just do what I do.”

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