Stricker played on three Ryder Cup teams (2008, ’10 and ’12) and compiled a 3-7-1 career record in the biennial matches.
“It was an honor for him to call me and just to be a part of it,” Stricker said at the PGA Championship. “Just to be there and try to have that opportunity to get the cup back, and to play for Tom, for all the guys, is a dream come true.”
Said Watson: “What Steve brings here is a great familiarity with the players who are on the Tour right now. He’s played against them, played with them. So he brings a great deal of understanding of who these players are and their capabilities. That’s the bottom line.”
A year after recording four runner-up finishes in 13 starts, banking $4.4 million and finishing third in the FedEx Cup standings, Stricker has mustered just one top-10 in 10 starts this season. He sits at No. 122 in the FedEx Cup standings, squarely on the playoff bubble, but he has said repeatedly that he’s more focused this year on his family than his performance.
Stricker is also is No. 39 in the Ryder Cup points standings. To qualify for the team he would need a victory at this week’s PGA, which awards $1.8 million to the winner.
With this appointment, he said, “it’s a sign of the times, I guess, that you’re moving on in your career.”
The 47-year-old Stricker joins Raymond Floyd, 71, and Andy North, 64, as Watson’s three assistants for the Sept. 26-28 matches. Their most difficult (and most criticized) decision will come on Sept. 2, when Watson is scheduled to name his three wild-card picks.
Of his assistants Watson said, “I’ll involve them intrinsically with every decision I make on the picks. Steve’s been out there; he’s played against these guys. Andy has been out there watching the guys. Raymond has his thoughts. I’m going to use every bit of information available to me to make those picks. Now, ultimately, it’s my decision to who is going to be there.”