The PLAYERS: Steve Stricker Q&A on TPC Sawgrass, Ryder Cup, extra

Twelve-time PGA Tour winner Steve Stricker will make his twenty third begin at The PLAYERS Championship this week. He final performed at TPC Sawgrass in 2021, when he missed the lower due to a poor second spherical by which he shot a 5-over 77.

However Stricker hopes to enhance upon that efficiency this week.

He’s within the subject at TPC Sawgrass due to his win on the Kaulig Corporations Championship—previously often known as the Senior Gamers Championship—on the PGA Tour Champions a season in the past.

The Wisconsin native went on to win another time in 2023 and is off to a stable begin up to now in 2024.

As such, we caught up with Stricker and talked about TPC Sawgrass, his success on the PGA Tour Champions, the Ryder Cup, and extra.

(Please observe this dialog has been barely edited and modified for readability and readability)

Steve Stricker and The PLAYERS Championship

Taking part in By way of: The place does The PLAYERS Championship rank in your checklist of favourite tournaments?

Steve Stricker: You understand, it’s proper up there. It’s a kind of tournaments that you simply need to be at come March.

You need your sport prepared—typically to the purpose of over-preparing and getting an excessive amount of in your individual approach. And it’s a kind of tournaments you actually need to play nicely at and be at.

It’s simply an iconic golf course, too. You understand, 16, 17, and 18, actually, however clearly, the seventeenth pulls everyone in. Everybody likes to observe it, even me; I’ll sit there and watch. It’s like a prepare wreck ready to occur, proper?

You simply glued in watching. So it’s it’s a number of enjoyable and I’m excited to be lastly going again there.

Steve Stricker, PGA Tour, THE PLAYERS Championship

Steve Stricker hits his tee shot on the seventeenth gap in the course of the third spherical of the 2018 PLAYERS Championship.
Photograph by Richard Heathcote/Getty Photographs

PT: I used to be taking a look at your outcomes there, and your finest end got here again in 1999, whenever you tied for sixth. You’ve got had some struggles there, 9 missed cuts, and solely 5 top-20 finishes in 22 begins. Is there a attribute about TPC Sawgrass that appears to stump you?

Stricker: I haven’t had the very best of information going round there. I simply by no means actually had an opportunity to win, and I don’t know why that’s. I don’t know if it’s the quantity of bother that’s across the golf course, or if it’s the disasters ready to occur, however you need to be okay with that.

I am going again to the programs I grew up taking part in as a child in Wisconsin. I by no means performed round a number of water or a number of hazards. So, I am going to TPC Sawgrass, and it’s like, whoa, you need to steer away from it, after which typically steering away from it leads into extra bother.

Over time, I’ve gotten extra snug with elements of that golf course, nevertheless it’s nonetheless a problem.

PT: As former Ryder Cup captain, what did you make of Rome final Fall?

Steve Stricker: It was disappointing. I used to be over there, watching all of it unfold, and, yeah, it was disappointing. I’ve a few concepts on what occurs right here versus abroad for us. I feel, notably with this Ryder Cup, the period of time these guys had off between their final match and the precise Ryder Cup performed an enormous position. Our guys simply weren’t that sharp.

It confirmed as soon as the competitors began, however within the crew room, the bunch of men on these groups get alongside so nicely and have such time with one another that it’s a disgrace they’re not getting the job executed abroad.

Steve Stricker, Brooks Koepka, PGA Tour, 2023 Ryder Cup

Steve Stricker shakes fingers with Brooks Koepka on the 2023 Ryder Cup.
Photograph by Scott Taetsch/Getty Photographs

Stricker’s Large Success on PGA Tour Champions

PT: You had an amazing 12 months final 12 months, with six wins and 15 top-10 finishes. What was the explanation behind your success on the PGA Tour Champions?

Stricker: I feel it was as a result of I made a decision to play full-time on the market. I performed 16 instances, which was just about a full schedule. I used to be going to play a pair extra on the finish, however my dad was struggling somewhat bit.

However yeah, I feel simply taking part in a full schedule. That was my first 12 months the place I performed that many occasions on the PGA Tour Champions, and I dedicated to it.

I didn’t play something on the PGA Tour, and I attempted to problem myself to see what number of instances I might actually get in rivalry and attempt to win.

PT: How completely different is the vibe on the PGA Tour Champions in comparison with the PGA Tour?

Stricker: It’s lots. I can go to an occasion on Wednesday, and hit a couple of balls on Wednesday.

You play the Professional-Am on Thursday, after which bang, you’re proper into the match. It’s much more informal. Guys are nonetheless grinding, don’t get me fallacious. And I do too.

We’re nonetheless very aggressive and need to play nicely. There are guys who’re nonetheless grinding it out and competing exhausting to attempt to win. In order that’s the cool half, too, that it nonetheless means lots to everyone on the market, they usually’re nonetheless attempting to do their finest.

Steve Stricker, PGA Tour Champions, Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai

Steve Stricker hits a shot in the course of the 2024 Mitsubishi Electrical Championship.
Photograph by Chris Condon/PGA Tour by way of Getty Photographs

PT: I’ve lengthy admired your placing. Should you had any ideas for any novice golfers who’ve been scuffling with placing, or, heck, possibly it’s even Scottie Scheffler Shuffler—he’s clearly struggled together with his placing the final 12 months or so. What recommendation would you present to any person who’s struggling on the greens?

Stricker: That’s one as a result of it has gone so many various methods these days.

These days, you virtually have to start out along with your tools first. There are such a lot of completely different alternatives. Possibly face stability is best for you, or possibly extra rotation is best for you.

It’s good to putz round with that.

There are grips that may allow you to these days, you realize, just like the outsized grips. These appear to be fairly standard. I’ve struggled with these, however a number of guys like them. However there are such a lot of completely different avenues to attempt to get a distinct really feel in your fingers to start out with.

If that doesn’t work, then clearly, you need to take a look at your mechanics, and it’s best to all the time take a look at that, too.

However through the years, I feel the explanation I’ve been constant is that I actually haven’t modified my method to placing for shoot, 40 years.

PT: Wow.

Stricker: Properly, I can look again at after I first obtained on the PGA Tour within the early Nineties and even late Eighties after I performed school golf… my rules are the identical. I actually haven’t modified.

I really feel just like the simplistic method that I’ve taken has executed me nicely, and I proceed to do the identical issues 12 months in and 12 months out, as I did 40 years in the past.

Steve Stricker, PGA Tour, Cologuard Classic

Steve Stricker traces up a putt in the course of the 2024 Cologuard Traditional.
Photograph by Christian Petersen/Getty Photographs

PT: What do you consider guys like Will Zalatoris and Lucas Glover, who frankly had the yips however then found somewhat one thing with the longer putter?

Stricker: I feel that’s clearly nice for them.

I’m not a giant fan of them having the ability to get a putter that’s the longest membership in your bag. I feel there needs to be a dimension restrict to your putter virtually. However that may harm a couple of gamers, and that’s not what I’m saying.

I feel it’s nice for them that they have been capable of finding their placing sport once more and play nicely. Each of them are nice guys, Will and Lucas, nice folks. I’m so joyful for them that they have been ready to do this.

It’s made a giant distinction for certain.

PT: Galleri Traditional developing at Mission Hills in the direction of the tip of the month. You performed nicely there final 12 months, tying for fifth. How excited are you to get again there? Do you assume you’ll be able to win this time round?

Stricker: I hope so! However as I’ve mentioned to different folks earlier than, I’m a giant fan of the LPGA. I watch a number of LPGA Occasions, they usually have had a storied historical past there at Mission Hills with the ladies. For us to be there, I’d like to dip into Poppy’s Pond, identical to the ladies did for all these years of their first main of the season.

LPGA, ANA Inspiration

Patty Tavatanakit celebrates by leaping into “Poppy’s Pond” after successful the 2021 ANA Inspiration.
Photograph by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Photographs

I don’t know if David Toms took a bounce in there or not, however I’ve women, so I feel they’d be pushing me in or attempting to get me to leap in if I win.

Stricker on significance of the Galleri Take a look at, Galleri Traditional

PT: Talking of the Galleri Traditional, which is known as after GRAIL’s multi-cancer early detection check, is there any person in your loved ones or somebody near you who has been affected by this horrible illness? Maybe they impressed you to get entangled with GRAIL and assist develop consciousness about this check.

Stricker: We simply began this relationship, and I’m enthusiastic about what they’re attempting to do with these most cancers screenings. Particularly now that I’m of a sure inhabitants and age the place folks needs to be extra on alert for most cancers and getting examined for it.

I misplaced my school roommate, Kevin Fairfield, 20 years in the past already. He was in his youthful thirties, and he had a uncommon type of most cancers in his abdomen. Ever since then, now that I’m in my fifties, I’ve all the time been fascinated about that. Thankfully, we haven’t had—knock on wooden— another relations affected by most cancers, however undoubtedly associates and associates of associates.

You hear the tales, and I simply assume it’s an amazing alternative for us to get the phrase out, about this blood check.

It’s a easy blood check, proper?

You are able to do it along with your physician, get a prescription for it, and for folks 50 and older, and, as I mentioned, for that demographic, it’s an amazing alternative.

I’m going to take it on Tuesday of the match. I’m enthusiastic about that, and I really feel like being proactive with my well being is necessary. So, if I can study something earlier fairly than later, I’m going to attempt to do this, after all.

Jack Milko is a golf workers author for SB Nation’s Taking part in By way of. You’ll want to try @_PlayingThrough for extra golf protection. You’ll be able to observe him on Twitter @jack_milko as nicely.

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