There is no place like home and family for Steve Stricker

Steve Stricker has not booked his flight to the British Open, which starts at Royal Liverpool on July 17, and he probably will not. The American ranked No 18 in the world has not made a final decision, however.
Steve Stricker has elected to be a part-time player on the PGA Tour, playing events his family will travel to with him.   Sam Greenwood / AFP
Steve Stricker has elected to be a part-time player on the PGA Tour, playing events his family will travel to with him. Sam Greenwood / AFP

Steve Stricker has not booked his flight to the British Open, which starts at Royal Liverpool on July 17, and he probably will not.

The American ranked No 18 in the world has not made a final decision, however.

“Ask me tomorrow, I could be going,” Stricker said during the US Open earlier this month. “Ask me another day, I could be going home. I’m leaning toward not going.”

Instead, he said, he is thinking about playing PGA events at Greenbrier next week and the John Deere the week after.

“It’s a long trip and I’m not too fired up about it,” he said of playing in England. “But then I look at it, and it’s a major. And I should be going there.”

Stricker operates under a different set of rules these days.

It is unfair to label him as an American who does not want to travel.

He reached a stage in his career where he does not always travel inside his own country.

Feeling as though he owed it to his family to be at home more often, he drastically reduced his schedule last year and became a part-time player.

He will play the John Deere Classic, in Illinois, the week before the Open because it is the closest he has to a hometown event, and because he won it three years in succession, through 2011.

Even so, a part of him that sees a major championship going on and feels as if he belongs.

“When I watched on TV it was like, ‘I should be there’,” he said. “Then I look at it like I’m not a full-time guy on tour, and I shouldn’t worry about. I play the things I want to play.

“My kids and wife might come to Greenbrier. They wouldn’t come with me to the British.”

With a tie for 21st in the US Open, Stricker has moved up to No 124 in the FedEx Cup. He has never missed the Tour Championship since the FedEx Cup began, a streak that is almost certain to end.

With no more than four starts remaining, he is not yet a lock to qualify for The Barclays.

And if he does make it into the play-offs, odds are against him staying very long.

“It’s not a priority of mine,” Stricker said. “If I’m exempt for The Barclays, I’ll probably play. But I do have an elk hunting trip I’ve scheduled.”

He was supposed to go last year, but when he was runner-up at the Deutsche Bank and tied for fourth in the BMW Championship, it was worth playing the Tour Championship for a shot at the US$10 million (Dh36,7m) bonus.

That won’t be the case this time.

“Last year I missed out on it,” he said of the hunting trip. “This year, I’m going to be a part of that.”

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Published: June 25, 2014 04:00 AM

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