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Stricker busy as ever with hard work still to come

Few gamers are maintaining a busier schedule than Steve Stricker, and he still has 5 months to go earlier than he captains the American crew within the Ryder Cup.

It’s by no means removed from his ideas, even with a lot on his plate.

Take final week, for instance. Stricker determined to transfer from his winter house in Naples, Florida, and it offered so shortly that he and spouse Nicki had to pack up and transfer out. That ordinarily wouldn’t have been an issue, besides that Stricker was in the midst of taking part in the Chubb Classic on the PGA Tour Champions.

“Golf was the calming part,” he stated Tuesday. “We were packing this pod we had in the driveway, and then we’d get in the car to go to the course. It was interesting. I didn’t even think about golf when we were at the house.”

Maybe he ought to attempt that extra typically. Stricker closed with a 5-under 67 and held off a pack that included Bernhard Langer and Fred Couples for a one-shot victory, his sixth PGA Tour Champions title.

Then it was again to his everlasting house in Wisconsin. He spoke Tuesday whereas making the two-hour drive to Whistling Straits to examine modifications to the Ryder Cup course.

The course is still closed, even with inexperienced grass for what Stricker described as an early spring in Wisconsin. He did not point out the character of the modifications besides to say it was “nothing huge.” The function was to make certain it was coming collectively, and a uncommon week at house afforded him a while.

Then it is off to Ohio this weekend the place his oldest daughter, Bobbi Maria, is taking part in for Wisconsin within the Big Ten Championship. From there, the 54-year-old Stricker will head again to Florida for the Valspar Championship on the PGA Tour and an opportunity to break up duties.

He desires to keep watch over U.S. gamers who could be taking part in for him in September at Whistling Straits. He additionally desires to play nicely for himself so he can hold taking part in in August. Stricker desires to make the PGA Tour postseason one final time. In solely eight PGA Tour begins, he’s No. 124 within the FedEx Cup.

As for his crew, Stricker is watching and ready, equal components.

Six gamers will qualify on their very own. Still to come are three main championships and two FedEx Cup playoff occasions earlier than qualifying ends. And then after the Tour Championship, Stricker will add the opposite six.

That’s a great distance off, although each week the record appears to get longer.

Stewart Cink received at Hilton Head for his second PGA Tour title this season. At age 47, he’s the oldest participant to win a number of occasions in a season since 48-year-old Kenny Perry in 2009. Is he within the combine to return to the Ryder Cup as a participant for the primary time since 2010?

Jordan Spieth is again within the combine. He has top-4 finishes in 5 of his final eight tournaments, together with a win within the Texas Open and a tie for third within the Masters.

And then there’s Will Zalatoris, already being speaking about as a Ryder Cup participant although he still does not have a full PGA Tour card. With his runner-up end on the Masters, the place the 24-year-old confirmed loads of moxie with no bungle of nerves, Zalatoris is No. 28 on the earth.

He obtained a silver medal as the runner-up and some textual content messages from the Ryder Cup captain.

“I’ve never met him,” Stricker stated. “I’ll probably play a practice round with him somewhere soon. He’s a kid that could potentially be on the team.”

That could possibly be stated for lots of gamers. In the 2 years and two months since Stricker was appointed captain, there was no scarcity of options.

That was notably true on the Match Play final month, received by Billy Horschel, who has by no means performed on a Ryder Cup or a Presidents Cup crew. It wasn’t simply Horschel. Based on the commentary and social media, it appears any participant who received a match was deemed a Ryder Cup prospect. There’s room for less than 12.

“You drive yourself crazy if you start listening,” Stricker stated.

All he has to do is suppose again to the final Ryder Cup, held exterior Paris in 2018, when he was an assistant to Jim Furyk and Europe received for sixth straight time on house soil. Stricker can have to resolve between gamers greatest fitted to Whistling Straits and people who are taking part in nicely.

Even then, what issues is how they carry out over three days.

“I’m responsible for a lot of things, and I want to make sure I get it right,” Stricker stated. “For me, it’s about the golf. It’s not about the fluff. My whole goal is to make sure we have the right team and we’re prepared to play.”

Stricker was a Ryder Cup assistant captain the final 3 times — one house victory, two highway losses — and the profitable Presidents Cup captain in 2017. He was impressed with Furyk — “There wasn’t one thing he didn’t do right,” he stated — besides that the Americans did not play nicely, or Europe performed higher.

“It was beautiful except we didn’t win,” Stricker. “That’s the most important part. That’s what we remember.”


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