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Steve Stricker: Tiger Woods robbed me of my confidence, meaning as a golfer



Steve Stricker penned a piece for the Players Tribune reflecting on his more than 20 years on Tour. The ultimate point of Stricker’s article, titled “My Big Lesson,” is to go with what you got you there and play your own game. But in arriving at that lesson, the Wisconsin native suffered several major blows to his confidence as a golfer.

The first of these, as Stricker relates, came the first time he played with then 22-year-old Tiger Woods in 1997.

“You never really forget the first time you hear Tiger hit a golf ball.

Several times, I would really connect with a drive only to be stunned to see that Tiger’s ball had landed 40 to 50 yards beyond mine.

After the first round had ended, I told Nicki, my wife and caddy, what I had been thinking since the moment we left the course: “I can’t compete with that type of game. I just can’t compete with that.”

This was the first big blow to my confidence as a golfer.

My round with Tiger made me introspective, and for the first time I began to doubt myself. All the early mornings on the range hitting balls until my hands were torn with calluses; all the hours spent practicing during the frigid Wisconsin winters; all the memories I had of being on the course with my father; in my mind, at that moment, it truly seemed as though all of the time and effort I had put into the game of golf had been rendered utterly meaningless.”

Stricker may be one of the few professionals to convey how deeply Tiger Woods’ explosion onto the scene shook him. But you can bet the sentiment was widely shared.

While much will be written (including this article) about Strick’s statements about Tiger’s influence, it’s worth remembering that the veteran’s advice to upcoming golfer’s has application well outside of the game of golf.

“I realized that I was exerting too much of my time and energy trying to play golf like someone who I wasn’t, which led me to question my passion for the game.”


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  1. Dave Baker

    Jul 2, 2016 at 8:14 am

    Stricker has not won much so I miss the point, now if had been someone like Phil or Duval then it would have been shocking but i sense those guys were not all that robbed of their confidence. Phil did finish 2nd in the open about 6 times so that is pretty good seems to have kept his confidence. Duval won some and then went into a what is life all about type phase so mind games shortened his career.
    A true competitor is not robbed of their confidence by someone else but actually becomes even more competitive which we are seeing with todays players. Even though guys like Johnson and Day are blasting 350 drives it does not seem to bother Jordan who certainly cant compete with those distances but has his own way of winning

  2. 300 Yard Pro

    Jun 27, 2016 at 4:40 pm

    Everyone chugging along with their B Game in the 90’s ran into the same buzzsaw.

  3. Mrs Smizzle

    Jun 20, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    Playing with Tiger woods made me doubt about Mr Smizzle

  4. Jack

    Jun 19, 2016 at 4:07 am

    Stricker must have been raised by a an effeminate uncle or several female relatives to be so soft. A good poster child for the sad state of the tour on the late 90s!

  5. Johny Thunder

    Jun 19, 2016 at 2:27 am

    Stricker may have been blown away on the course – as were so many by Tiger – but one wonders if Tiger would give some of that up to have no destroyed his family… Stricker had a worse time on the course, but probably better birthdays and Christmasses and such, and still isn’t hurting for cash I’m sure. It’s the same mindset and personality that made Tiger “invincible” on the course that made him “invincible” in his private life (until Elin’s 9 iron smashed that dream).

    In the end, he likely goes down in history as having made a run at Nicklaus’ and Snead’s records, but falling short. And as the guy who cost everyone from Mickelson to Stricker their more illustrious careers. (Duval? Els? etc?)… Unfortunately, what it seems to leave is “almost”, “sex addict” and “back surgeries” as a big part of the legacy. Assuming they keep their personal lives a little more realistically behaved, I’d be more envious of Day, McIlroy and Spieth, even at their current levels of success.

  6. Double Mocha Man

    Jun 18, 2016 at 10:21 pm

    I sorta had that feeling when I played with Tiger, too. But later, when he went into his regression I was able to outdrive him and kick his sorry butt in scoring.

  7. Mr Smizzle O'Smizzle Schmizzlehausen

    Jun 18, 2016 at 12:13 pm

    got cousins everywhere 😀

  8. Mr Smizzle O'Smizzle Schmizzlehausen

    Jun 18, 2016 at 12:11 pm

    seems like I got cousins everywhere 😀

  9. michael johnson

    Jun 18, 2016 at 10:51 am

    what an embarassing statement by a professional athlete. this is why stricker never shot 62 at oakmont like i did a couple of weeks ago.

  10. Cga Smizzle

    Jun 18, 2016 at 10:40 am

    For Schizzle..

  11. Smiz Lord

    Jun 18, 2016 at 6:20 am

    On the money again Smiz-bags.

  12. Jack always

    Jun 18, 2016 at 6:12 am

    Had the superman mind set plus superman ability would hold up in any generation

  13. Captain Smizzo IV

    Jun 18, 2016 at 6:11 am

    Shut your smiz-hole.

  14. mo

    Jun 17, 2016 at 11:46 pm

    Tiger did this to a lot of players. Namely Ernie Els. IMO Tiger destroyed Ernie and a lot of others. Chris D Marco would be a hall of famer if not for Tiger. Tom Kite would’ve won the 97 Masters and on and on.

    • Jack

      Jun 18, 2016 at 11:37 am

      Alcoholism destroyed Ernie’s golf game.

      LOL Chris (3 win) DiMarco a hall of famer — LOL! Yeah, just look at that all-star leaderboard from the 97 Masters, including 100 year old Tom Kite, 100 year old Bernahrd Langer, and 100 year old Tom Watson — as well as the murder’s row of Tommy Tolles, Costantino Rocca, and Paul Stankowski.

      • Dustin

        Jun 18, 2016 at 4:00 pm

        Tom Watson and Tom Kite were 47? Langer was 40? And then you avoid mentioning guys like DL3 and Justin Leonard from the leaderboard that were solid during that time period. I see what you’re trying to do, but don’t be so hyperbolic that you just look stupid.

        • Jack

          Jun 18, 2016 at 5:26 pm

          Justin Leonard had one good season, and finished 4 strokes behind old man Kite and 2 behind old man Watson — so did DL3 who incidentally also admitted that Tiger scared him; so we know what kind of heart he had. Kite was well past his prime, btw. Remind us again of the long list of major winners older than 46?

  15. Jack

    Jun 17, 2016 at 11:41 pm

    LOL. That’s why golfers like you are merely filling up the field so there are enough golfers on the course. The handful of true champions from your generation weren’t scared of anything. How can you admit that you were scared of Tiger to yourself, much less the whole world? Pathetic!

  16. ooffa

    Jun 17, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    Tiger hit it 40 to 50 yards past you because of his steroid use. Sorry to hear it had that effect on you. He’s paying for it now though.

    • ZQ

      Jun 17, 2016 at 10:42 pm

      Yeah his 155lb frame in 97 was sure loaded with roids you idiot

      • ooffa

        Jun 18, 2016 at 7:03 am

        Name calling, Personal attacks, got a bit of roid rage yourself there ZQ?

        • Dale Doback

          Jun 18, 2016 at 2:54 pm

          ZQ is right, you are an idiot. Tigers speed didn’t come from steroids. Tiger is bigger now and little Mcilroy bombs it past him.

          • ooffa

            Jun 18, 2016 at 3:36 pm

            We all bomb it past tiger now. The roids have destroyed him.

          • ooffa

            Jun 18, 2016 at 4:01 pm

            We all bomb it past him now. The roids have done him in.

    • 300 Yard Pro

      Jun 27, 2016 at 4:44 pm

      Tiger was totally juiced in 1997. I think he was probably 135 pounds. Body builders even asked him for advice.

  17. J

    Jun 17, 2016 at 6:21 pm

    Yeah you’re right, you definitely know more about Tiger than someone who has played with him extensively, witnessed his skill firsthand, and is one of his closest friends on tour. Way to keep grinding that axe.

  18. J

    Jun 17, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    You’re right, you definitely know more than someone who has played extensively with Tiger and has witnessed his abilities firsthand. Way to keep grinding that axe.

  19. Leon

    Jun 17, 2016 at 4:56 pm

    It was not about the longer driving distance of Tiger that shook his confidence off. It was about the concentration, dedication, confidence, mental strength and all round golfing skills of tiger that intimate his playing mates. Not a single PGA tour pro cares about the long drive champion (such as Jamie) during a tournament or a pro-am. But they will shake their legs if they see tiger makes impossible save, drains the clutch putt or made eagle/birdie at the critical moment one after another. And they know they could not do that by all means.

  20. Nick

    Jun 17, 2016 at 3:50 pm

    Solid nod to Tiger here by Steve. Cool to read true about someones true feelings when it captures the moment like this.

  21. Rob

    Jun 17, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    I would say it was never really Tigers ability to hit it far but his ability to focus on what he was doing and totally believe he could do what he did….the mental ability to make you physical skills work constantly is what made the greats great…….there are a lot of examples of super skilled players that had what my Mom would call a mental block..their mind overpowered their skills. Need go no farther then John Daly if you want an example of an extremely skillful player that just could not perform at his skill level most of the time.

  22. M Sizzle

    Jun 17, 2016 at 2:54 pm


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Coolest thing for sale in the GolfWRX Classifieds (1/16/24): Cobra Forged One Length irons



At GolfWRX, we are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment of the game in many ways.

It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball. It even allows us to share another thing we all love – buying and selling equipment.

Currently, in our GolfWRX buy/sell/trade (BST) forum, there is a listing for a set of Cobra Forged One Length irons.

From the seller: (@adamwittman): “4-PW, GW, lw. Nunchuk shafts. $350 tyd conusa.”

To check out the full listing in our BST forum, head through the link: Cobra Forged One Length irons

This is the most impressive current listing from the GolfWRX BST, and if you are curious about the rules to participate in the BST Forum you can check them out here: GolfWRX BST Rules

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What GolfWRXers are saying about Kevin Kisner’s new Callaway X Forged CB irons



In our forums, our members have been discussing Kevin Kisner’s new Callaway X Forged CB irons which he has in the bag at this week’s CJ Cup. WRXers have been commenting on the switch and the clubs themselves in our forums.

For lots more photos, check out the full thread here.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • btyh: “Holy offset.”
  • Glf_LU: “These are interesting. Not going to make a rush to judgement until I see them in person. It does look like a little more offset than I would expect to see in this model.”
  • bcflyguy1: “Kisner is not one to make a lot of equipment changes (see the GBB driver he’s still using), so if these do have staying power in his bag that will be interesting to see. I have to wonder if there’s something different about his set, because like others have mentioned there appears to be more offset on his than I recall seeing in the samples I’ve had in hand.”

Entire Thread: “Kevin Kisner’s new Callaway X Forged CB irons”

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WATCH: PGA Tour players play hole blindfolded and it’s hilarious/amazing



As part of a Srixon campaign, four PGA Tour players recently participated in a three-hole challenge, with each hole being a different game; hole No. 1 was blindfolded, hole No. 2 was costumes and distractions, and hole No. 3 was alternate shot with a baseball bat. The teams were Smylie Kaufman and Sam Ryder against Shane Lowry and Grayson Murray.

Watch the full video below, since it is quite entertaining (albeit not the type of golf that Old Tom Morris surely had in mind), but in particular, make sure to check out the first hole where Lowry and Ryder play a full hole completely blind folded. It’s amazing to watch how badly Ryder struggles, and how Lowry nearly makes par.

Cleveland-Srixon’s marketing department has been hard at work crafting these viral-esque ad campaigns; if you remember, former long-drive champion Jamie Sadlowski recently dressed as 80-year-old Grandpa Jamie to fool range-goers. That video has since gathered over 1.2 million views on YouTube.

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