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Stricker suffers hamstring injury during ski trip

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AKRON, Ohio – Steve Stricker made headlines earlier this month when he opted out of the British Open to spend time with his family as he and his wife celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary. As it turns out, that decision may have had more consequences than Stricker originally intended.

Though he remains in this week’s field at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Stricker explained that he’s battling a tear in his right hamstring that occurred while he was on a ski trip with his family during the week of the season’s third major.

“Just a little bit of a freak accident, my right leg kind of went out on me,” Stricker told Golf Channel Wednesday. “I got pulled forward and I felt the pop, and I knew I had done something. I’m fortunate really that it’s not a knee issue.”

Amid a successful – though truncated – 2013 season, Stricker is set to make just his ninth start of the year this week at Firestone. Though the injury has limited the 46-year-old to only nine holes of practice both Tuesday and Wednesday, he noted that his body has responded to treatment better than expected across the last 3-4 days.

“I’m surprised that I’m here; I’m surprised how well it’s recovering. It’s doing better every day,” said Stricker, adding that walking the South Course’s hilly terrain has been the toughest part of coping with the injury thus far. “For as much as I was on it and all the walking I did yesterday ... I was surprised how well it felt this morning.”

While he still expects to tee it up Thursday at 12:40 p.m. ET alongside Martin Kaymer, Stricker admitted the injury has affected his swing heading into the season’s third WGC event.

“The longer clubs are a bit more of a challenge,” he explained, adding that he may experiment with a shorter driver during Wednesday’s practice session. “Just the tightness I’m feeling in my leg trying to get over to my right side and then moving off my right side.”

Currently ninth in the U.S. Presidents Cup standings, Stricker reiterated that his schedule over the next month will be constructed with a goal in mind of remaining in the top 10 and making the U.S. squad for Muirfield Village on merit.

“I’m right there on the edge, on the bubble,” he noted. “So I hope (the injury) doesn’t affect anything. Play here this week, try to get ready for the PGA next week and then probably throw in some Playoff events trying to make the team. That’s kind of my plan right now, and we’ll see how this hamstring holds up this week.”