THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Steve Stricker had a harder time getting over the Ryder Cup than any other disappointment he has faced in 24 years as a pro, including those dark years when he lost his PGA Tour card.
Stricker and Tiger Woods didn't win a match all week, and Stricker lost the singles match to Martin Kaymer that allowed Europe to retain the cup. Most painful was failing to get up-and-down from a standard chip behind the 17th hole.
''I feel a lot of responsibility there for not winning a point, Tiger and I not winning a point,'' Stricker said Tuesday. ''The first week or two it wasn't much fun just trying to sleep, to tell you the truth. But yeah, that one hurts, and I think it still hurts a lot of us just because of how it all played out.''
Europe rallied from a four-point deficit on the last day to win the cup for the second straight time. Stricker still hasn't watched highlights of the final day, even though he has been told everything fell into place for Europe.
Stricker has said there are plenty of failures in golf, and the key is how a player can pick himself back up. He went from having limited status on Tour to winning Comeback Player of the Year – two years in a row – and reaching No. 2 in the world.
''When I struggled a lot with my game in the mid-2000s, that was disappointing, but the only guy I was letting down was really myself,'' he said. ''It takes on a new level when you've got a team to deal with, and you're letting other guys down. I wish we could change it, but they did all the right things that day, and we did some poor things that day. We'll all learn from it and hopefully move on.''
PAR IS YOUR FRIEND: What would happen if a Tour player shot even par at every tournament? At the very least, he'd still have his card.
Throw out the Tournament of Champions at Kapalua, the four major championships, and count the tournaments opposite the World Golf Championships. Count the money earned for finishing at even par. The total comes out to $817,142, which would be the equivalent of finishing 111th on the money list.
The biggest check for finishing a tournament at even par was $119,867 at the Memorial, followed by $113,750 at the AT&T National. Tiger Woods won both those events.
DIVOTS: The European Tour schedule features a couple of changes, including the Malaysian Open moving from one week after the Masters to the same week as the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill. Louis Oosthuizen is the defending champion in Malaysia. Also, the Omega Masters in Switzerland is no longer the starting point for Europeans earning Ryder Cup points. That distinction goes to the Wales Open. ... Jake Higginbottom, the 19-year-old amateur from Australia who won the New Zealand Open last week, has turned pro for this week's New South Wales PGA Championship. Higginbottom also will play the Australian Open and Australian PGA Championship.
FINAL WORD: ''I know how it feels when you win a major championship, and it feels incredible. And that's something that I would like to have happen again.'' – Woods.