Stricker hoping to learn from another loss

By Doug FergusonMarch 18, 2010, 4:26 pm

PALM HARBOR, Fla. – A golf magazine asked Steve Stricker to take part in its survey on the best putters, and when he had finished his list, the world’s No. 2 player was asked if he would include himself.

That would seem like a no-brainer.

Stricker blushed.

Looking at a small group of reporters listening to him, he started to laugh and weakly said, “I’m all right.”

It was a moment like this that illustrates why Stricker is unlikely to return to the deep slump that derailed his career. He has played golf better than anyone except for Tiger Woods over the last two years and refuses to take any satisfaction.

Stricker learns as much from failure as success, and memories remain fresh from the Transitions Championship, which starts Thursday on the tough Copperhead Course at Innisbrook.

Stricker rallied from a four-shot deficit in the final round and was tied for the lead, but he couldn’t finish it off. He flew the green from a bunker on the 17th and missed the 18th green from the middle of the fairway, closing with two bogeys to tie for fourth.

It was the third time Stricker had at least a share of the lead on the back nine and failed to win.

“It was disappointing bogeying the last couple of holes, but you know, I learned a lot from it,” Stricker said. “I took a lot away from it, and I think it helped me the rest of the year. … I think you learn just as much from disappointments as you do from positive things that have happened. It kept me motivated and gave me confidence.”

It paid off down the road, for sure.

Stricker won at Colonial, the John Deere Classic and the Deutsche Bank Championship during the FedEx Cup playoffs, giving him his best year on the PGA Tour. Another victory at Riviera moved him up to No. 2 in the world, a spot he still occupies.

Stricker is part of a strong field at Innisbrook for the Transitions Championship, a tournament on the rise despite being stuck between a World Golf Championship at Doral and a tournament hosted by Arnold Palmer.

He is among four of the top 10 from the world ranking – the others are Ian Poulter, Jim Furyk and Padraig Harrington – and 14 of the top 25. Most of them are expecting a test as difficult as always.

Over the last five years, no other PGA Tour on this Florida swing has produced higher scores. There isn’t a lot of water – Innisbrook really doesn’t need much – for the emphasis is on being in the right position to approach greens that are firm and fast.

“A few of these greens are outrageously fast,” Kenny Perry said.

Poulter is making his debut at Innisbrook, mainly because he is not playing next week at Bay Hill or the week after in Houston, and the Englishman did not want a long break before the Masters.

“I like the way it sets up,” Poulter said. “There’s going to be some tricky tee shots out there, you’re going to have to move the ball right-to-left and left-to-right, which is good. It’s all about positional play. And the way the greens play, there’s a lot of emphasis on distance control of your irons. If you can keep it below the hole on most of these greens, you’re going to have a great chance.”

One guy will have a long break before the Masters – five months – and he isn’t playing anywhere in Florida.

For Tiger Woods, that’s truly a road less traveled.

He announced Tuesday that he would end his seclusion from a sex scandal by returning at the Masters, his first competition since winning the Australian Masters at Kingston Heath on Nov. 15.

Stricker is as curious as most how Woods will fare after such a long layoff.

“I would imagine he’s going to be a little rusty,” Stricker said. “He has not played a round of golf since November. Doesn’t matter who you are – you’re going to be competitively under the gun. You’re going to be a little bit rusty. How long is it going to take? Who knows? It could take nine holes for him to get back into it. It could take him a couple of holes. It could take him a couple of rounds.

“He’s a great player, great competitor, and so I expect him to be there at the end. The place – obviously, only Nicklaus has won more green jackets there – so he loves the place, and he feels good going around there. I expect him to do well and be there at the end.”

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

Getty Images

Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


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