Westwood, just 0.03 points behind the American in the new rankings, plays his first event since he was runner-up at The Masters.
The Quail Hollow Championship also sees Augusta winner Phil Mickelson and the sport's No 1 Tiger Woods returning to action. They are separated by 2.46 points at the top.
Stricker is hoping to recover in time for next week's Players Championship in Florida, as is Ian Poulter, after fluid on the knee – suffered playing basketball – prevented him playing in New Orleans last week.
"It's an old injury, flares up every now and then, especially when you play basketball," said Poulter on his twitter site. "Won't be doing that again for a while."