DORAL, Fla. —
"Thank you to Steve for the putting lesson," Woods said at the trophy presentation. "It was one of those weeks where I felt pretty good about how I was playing, made a few putts and got it rolling."
Stricker, playing a part-time schedule, picked up his second runner-up finish in just three starts. He closed with a 68, and had no regrets about offering Woods some help.
"At times you kick yourself," Stricker said with a laugh. "He's a good friend. We talk a lot about putting. It's good to see him playing well."
Asked if he would have won without that chance meeting with Stricker, Woods hedged a little.
"I would like to say I probably would have, but ..." he said with a smile. "I've been putting at home and it just still hadn't felt right. I still was a little bit off. ... He basically got me in the same position that I was at Torrey. So once he put me in there where I felt comfortable, I said, 'Well, this is not too foreign. This is what I was a month or so ago.' And I started rolling it and it felt really, really good."
The Masters is a month away, and Woods is sure to be the favorite.
"Majors and World Golf Championships are the best because you know you are playing against the best players," Woods said. "That's what makes wins like this special. That's why I love to compete."
Rory McIlroy, the No. 1 player in the world, showed signs of recovering from his rough start to the season. He had a 65 and tied for eighth.
Graeme McDowell, who started the final round four shots behind, made a birdie on the opening hole, but never got any closer. McDowell had third place to himself until he went for the green on the 18th hole and found the water. He made double bogey, shot 72 and fell into a four-way tie for third that cost him $172,500.