Stricker, Tiger, and The Open
What a weekend for Madison area native Steve Stricker! The top ranked American golfer in the world completed a three-peat at the John Deere Classic in Moline, IL following a final round 69 that took his four-day total to 22 under-par.
Stricker holed a 25-foot putt from the fringe on the final hole for birdie and a one-shot win over PGA rookie Kyle Stanley.
It appeared as if the fourth-ranked golfer in the world would cruise to an easy victory with a five-shot lead and nine holes remaining - but bunker trouble plagued Stricker on two holes. Any time you need more than one shot to get out of the sand, it's a problem - and it happened to Stricker twice on Sunday. But it was a problem that Stricker overcame with a beautiful fairway bunker shot on 18 that set up his winning putt.
It was the second tour win for Stricker this year, and his 11th overall.
Next up for Stricker, and 155 other golfers, will be The Open Championship at Royal St. Georges in Scotland beginning Thursday. Stricker will tee off at 8:10am CST and play with the second ranked golfer in the world, Lee Westwood, and Masters champion Charl Schwarzel.
One familiar face not playing in The Open is Tiger Woods. Lingering knee issues have forced Tiger to miss the major, but might there be more pieces to the Tiger Woods puzzle?
Woods is expected to make a "special announcement" on the Golf Channel Monday morning at 10am CST. The subject or the announcement is not yet known, but some speculate Tiger could be announcing an extended leave from the game.
Forget about his off-course habits, when Tiger was Tiger, his practice habits were unparalleled. Since his knee began giving his issues, his practice habits have taken a slide. He has been forced to play in tournaments where his only practice was a practice round on the tournament course. Perhaps the knee, and personal life need to both be back in a greater semblance of order before he is able to focus 100% on regaining the label as America's top golfer. Until then, Stricker will gladly carry the moniker with class and humbleness.