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Steve Stricker keeping low-key mood in U.S. Ryder Cup team room

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SHEBOYGAN, Wis. – Every captain puts his stamp on a Ryder Cup team, and in the case of Steve Stricker, that identity is predictable: Casual and fun.

In part because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and because it’s Stricker’s goal to reduce the distractions and obligations on players, this week’s Ryder Cup is historically low-key.

“Very casual,” Stricker said when asked his plans for the team each evening. “I don't enjoy getting dressed up or [wife] Nicki, for that matter. She's very casual and I'm very casual, so we're trying to bring this attitude of relaxed and having a good time and being very casual, and we're hopefully rubbing off on the team that we're just here to have a good fun time.”

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Stricker is having team dinners each night without the kind of fanfare that has been an issue for some players in the past. Historically, there has been at least one formal dinner for the players with officials from the PGA of America and European Tour, but the pandemic has forced a tight bubble around both teams.

“My goal coming in was to kind of cut some of that out, and then COVID has kind of helped us do that,” Stricker said. “We're doing the sensible things. We're doing the proper things to stay safe. Within our team zone and within that bubble.”