LAKE FOREST, Ill. – Not one to shy away from skipping a big event in favor of a standing commitment, Steve Stricker appeared poised as recently as two weeks ago to miss the season-ending Tour Championship in favor of a previously-scheduled elk hunting trip with friends. Upon reflection, though, the 46-year-old has decided to reschedule the vacation and instead go after a FedEx Cup title.
“I’m going to be playing next week,” explained Stricker, who enters this week’s BMW Championship eighth in the overall FedEx Cup points race. “I had a good talk with (wife) Nicki on the way home right after Boston and thought it was pretty important for me to go and play and not go hunting instead.”
Though he admitted he would “rather go hunting” than tee it up among the exclusive field at East Lake, Stricker noted that the prestige of the season’s final event weighed heavily on his decision to alter his plans.
“It’s our marquee event. It’s the Super Bowl of our year,” noted Stricker, who earlier this year opted out of the British Open to vacation with his wife for their 20th wedding anniversary. “For me to just kind of say, you know what, I’m in the top 10 and I’m not coming, to walk away from that I think would have been foolish.”
Though the decision means Stricker is in line for a lucrative pay day – Lee Westwood made $128,000 for finishing last among the 30-man field in Atlanta a year ago – the veteran noted that his change of heart has still resulted in some gentle ribbing from his jilted hunting buddies.
“I am catching a lot of grief. They were actually rooting against me at Boston if you can believe it,” he added. “It’s a good problem to have to try to make the decision between the two things.”