No head case: Stricker says neck 'no problem'


MELBOURNE, Australia – U.S. Presidents Cup captain Fred Couples’ confidence in Steve Stricker’s ailing neck seems to be well placed. On Monday Stricker played a practice round at Royal Melbourne for the second consecutive day.

From 10 yards away Stricker knew the question and left no ambiguity when asked about his much-talked-about ailment: “The neck feels great. Really a non-issue. No problem at all.”

Stricker said he’s been at home in Wisconsin since the Tour Championship undergoing treatment, including traction to relieve pressure on his spine, and preparing for this week’s matches.

He played twice a week for about 10 days after East Lake and spent last week in Arizona practicing and “playing a lot of golf” before flying to Australia.

That’s good news for Couples and Tiger Woods, who Stricker teamed with two years ago at Harding Park to go undefeated and will likely be paired with again.

Stricker has not had another cortisone shot since before the Tour Championship and traveled with a device that allows him to undergo treatment on the road.

What’s next for the American depends largely on what happens the next few weeks. After the Presidents Cup he plans to play the Chevron World Challenge and Franklin Templeton Shootout before deciding on whether he will have surgery to alleviate the ailment which has caused weakness in his left arm.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do. If I can do it without surgery I will go that route,” said Stricker, who did not have his physical trainer travel with him to the matches.

Watch wall-to-wall coverage of the Presidents Cup live on Golf Channel beginning Monday at 6PM. Tournament air times: Golf Channel Wednesday 9PM-2AM, Thursday 7:30PM-2AM, Friday 3PM-2AM and Saturday 6:30PM-12:30AM. NBC coverage Saturday at 8AM and Sunday at noon. (Note: all times are ET)