Cool story. It was simply a compliment to go along with a little criticism. Nobody is saying he should fit his stats to his handicap. Short game technique correction is not just treating a symptom, it is a cause as well, unless you hit every green or hole every approach. That is a bad metaphor for this. Ultimately, a little technique correction on the short game up front can make the game more fun to play while you focus more time on your long game. Not everyone has the time or money to do this though. I went from a 15+ to a 4.5 in two years by hitting a cut in play, hacking it up by the green and getting up and down. I probably was more effective than a lot of other people focusing on their long game for that stretch of time. I did not take a single lesson during that period, because I did not have the time. All I had the time for was to get up at 5:00 am and play nine holes before work as I was going through a job transition. Sure what Erik is saying it the best way, but it cannot always be done that way at first. It is not quick nor is it the cheapest, which makes sense that it is the best. My first post was bad, oh well. You'll get over it.
You're right about it not just being a symptom, obviously nobody is hitting every green. And your original advice is not wrong ... I even said so in the first sentence of my first post! :))
I just wanted to reiterate to the OP that neglecting the long game at the expense of the short game is not going to get him very far in the long run. (That's why I thought Harmonious said it best originally)