Steve Stricker doesn't have the luxury of practicing year-round like most guys on tour. While most of his peers live in the Southwest or Southeast, giving them the opportunity to play golf whenever they want, Stricker continues to spend his time in Wisconsin, a state that enjoys golf weather about seven or eight months out of the year.
For Stricker, the winter months are usually spent hitting off a mat in a heated bay and, as we found out on Thursday, putting on some green carpet in his basement. Forget splurging for a custom green, Stricker went out and bought some carpet from Home Depot to work on his game.
"Actually, you know, my carpet there's no imperfections. It rolls perfect. These greens are just like my carpet. I mean, they're so good. The speed is pretty similar, too," Stricker said. "Mine may be a touch slower, but it's pretty quick and, you know, it's just getting the feel. Putting longer putts. I can't maybe putt a 20-footer at home."
Hey, whatever it takes to get your game in order before the first major of the year. After one round it looks like his putting sessions are paying dividends. He's currently five-under and in contention after one round at the Shell Houston Open.
Stricker admitted he was using this week to find out where his game stood going into Augusta. After one round, it appears things are in good shape after not playing since the WGC-Cadillac Championship. Even though he hasn't played a lot leading up the Masters, Stricker is the kind of dark horse major pick that could make some noise.
He's got a rock-solid swing and has won a handful of marquee events. The only thing missing from his resume is a major championship. Who knows, maybe those longs hours spent in his basement will pay off soon enough with a victory on the biggest stage of all.
- Steve Stricker