Stricker s winning formula I just do what I do

By Associated PressJanuary 10, 2012, 10:35 pm

KAPALUA, Hawaii (AP)—Mention the best American golfers and Steve Stricker is on everyone’s list, just as he was 15 years ago.

The difference is that he bought into it back then.

Now he doesn’t care.

He was the highest-ranked American in the field at Kapalua, where theno-show list of 11 players included three major champions. Stricker was asked atthe start of the week if he saw himself as the main headliner. He smiledsheepishly and said, “No.”

“There’s nobody I would rather watch play golf than Steve Stricker,personally, as a fan,” PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said on Sunday asStricker was leading by five shots in the third round.

When this was mentioned to Stricker, someone jokingly suggested that Finchemwas sipping a Mai Tai when he said it.

“Was he drunk?” Stricker said with a laugh.

Stricker won the Tournament of Champions by three shots on Monday. It washis eighth win in his last 50 tournaments, the highest winning rate of anyone onthe PGA Tour in that span. Martin Laird , the runner-up, called Stricker the mostunderrated player in golf.

His reaction? Another smile.

“You’re asking the wrong guy,” Stricker said.

Winning for the 12th time in his career was special, along with telling hisfamily they get to come back to Maui next year. Having his two daughters greethim with a hug on the 18th green made it even sweeter. The plaudits? The worldranking? Trying to assess where he belong among a global lineup of stars?

It no longer matters to him.

What defines Stricker is what caddie Jimmy Johnson says to him whenever heneeds a pep talk.

“Do what you do.”

“I think that sums it up the best,” Stricker said. “We just go about anddo our thing. It may not be the flashiest thing at times, but I do other thingswell. I chip and putt well. I’m driving the ball well. Everybody has got alittle bit different game, and that’s the way I look at mine. Do the things thatwe know how to do the best.”

It wasn’t always that way.

Just when he was starting to hit his stride, Stricker looked around andstarted to wonder if he was good enough.

“I tried to compare myself to guys when I was playing well back in themid-90s, and I got into some bad things,” he said.

One of those guys was Tiger Woods .

Stricker was regarded as one of the rising Americans in 1996, when he brokethrough by winning the Kemper Open and the Western Open and finished at No. 4 onthe money list. A few months later, Woods turned pro and won twice in sevenstarts.

When he arrived at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am the following February,Stricker was at No. 13 in the world ranking. Woods was one spot behind at No.14. Phil Mickelson was No. 7, the highest of American golfers in their 20s.

Stricker was paired with Woods for three rounds—Stricker had sportscasterBryant Gumbel as an amateur partner, Woods had actor Kevin Costner. Strickerdidn’t make it to Sunday, tying for 66th. Woods was runner-up to Mark O’Meara .

Stricker left the Monterey Peninsula feeling inadequate.

“We were paired together at Pebble Beach, and I walked away from therefeeling my game was not anywhere close to him. And it wasn’t,” Stricker said.“He’s probably done that to other players, too, don’t you think? I just didn’tthink I had the skills or ability he had. But I’m OK with it now.”

That was the beginning of what once looked like the end.

Stricker traveled too much in the offseason after his banner year, going toSouth Africa and Scotland. He typically spends a long offseason home inWisconsin, and when he returned to golf, it felt more like work than pleasure.

He also took advantage of his success by signing lucrative deals withequipment companies, which added to his troubles. And then came the pairing withWoods at Pebble Beach.

Stricker plunged to No. 130 on the money list that year, recovered brieflyin 1998 when he had a back-nine duel with Vijay Singh at Sahalee in the PGAChampionship, the big Fijian’s first major.

There also was a brief return in 2001 when Stricker, who was No. 90 in theworld, got into the Match Play Championship in Australia because more than twodozen players ahead of him decided not to play. Stricker wound up winning,beating Ryder Cup players Padraig Harrington and Justin Leonard in the openingtwo rounds.

And then came the abyss that nearly ended his career, when he lost his PGATour card and only pulled himself out by hitting balls out of a three-sidedtrailer in Wisconsin to a driving range covered in snow.

Why the downfall?

“Some of it was seeing the ability Tiger had,” Stricker said. “Then Istarted trying different things, different equipment. And I played a ton of golfin the fall. I didn’t get away from the game. As you know, you have to be fresh.You have to want to be out there.”

What a renaissance this has been.

Stricker won The Barclays in 2007, the first FedEx Cup playoff event. He wonthree times in 2009, twice more in 2010 and 2011, and started the 2012 seasonwith yet another trophy. He has risen as high as No. 2 in the world. When he wonthe Deutsche Bank Championship in 2009, it was his first win with Woods in thefield.

It’s different now.

He was paired with Woods at the start of every playoff event in 2009. Theywere represented by the same agent (Mark Steinberg) for years, but never wereparticularly close until that year. Stricker still noticed a difference in theirability. But he knew he was capable of good golf himself.

“I had built up some confidence, and I wasn’t worried about what hethought, or how I played with him,” Stricker said. “Then we started gettingpaired together, and then were partners in the Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup. Andwe became … well, we are friends. And now, it’s like going out to play with myfriend. I don’t care about that stuff anymore.

“I just do what I do.”

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Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.

Masters victory

Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative

Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ

Green jacket tour

Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket

Man of the people

Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief

Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together

Ace at 17th at Sawgrass

Growing family

Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018

Departure from TaylorMade

Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade

Squashed beef with Paddy

Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'

Victory at Valderrama

Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm
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Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

Well, this is a one new one.

According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

“No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

“If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

“I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.