Stricker has Final Four, Badgers on mind


HUMBLE, Texas – Steve Stricker wore his cardinal-colored polo Wednesday at the Shell Houston Open.

“Getting it out of the way early,” he said, smiling.

This season, golf fans have seen Stricker more at Wisconsin basketball games than the golf course. He figures to get even more airtime Saturday night, when he is set to watch the Badgers play Kentucky in the Final Four.

Stricker has tickets for both Saturday’s semifinal game and Monday’s championship. With the Badgers in the late game (8:49 p.m. ET), Stricker figures he can get to the Dallas arena by game time, even if he’s in the final group here. It’s only a 40-minute trip by private jet, and Stricker is bringing his entire family and perhaps a few lucky PGA Tour players.

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Last week, with his kids on spring break, Stricker flew to California for a whirlwind trip – the NCAA Tournament, Disneyland and Legoland, and the Titleist Performance Institute, where he was set up with a new set of AP2 irons.

“Everybody had a little bit of something,” he said.

This is Stricker’s third start of the season, following a first-round exit at the Match Play and 57th-place finish at Doral. Last year, Stricker finished in the top 10 in eight of his 13 starts.

“I’m a little rusty,” he conceded, “but I’m getting back into some shape, and I can get my focus now on playing a little bit more and getting some tournaments on the schedule.”