U.S. Presidents Cup captain Fred Couples might have to find a replacement for a hurting Steve Stricker, along with a new partner for Tiger Woods, in the biennial matches held at Royal Melbourne in November. Stricker, who scrambled to card an even-par 70 in the second round of the Tour Championship, has a herniated disk and a bone spur that have gotten increasingly worse over the last two months.
Last week Stricker withdrew from the BMW Championship because of the nagging pain in his neck and left shoulder/arm. He had a cortisone shot on Monday, which usually takes a few days to kick in, but unfortunately for Stricker, he’s still hurting — so badly that he can’t guarantee his participation at the Presidents Cup, according to CBSSports.com’s Steve Elling:
Looking for any sort of help, Stricker, 44, played with an adhesive brace on his shoulder during a second-round 70 that left him five shots off the lead.
“My whole upper body feels cruddy,” Stricker said. “There’s no strength at all.”
Stricker said he has scheduled a follow-up appointment with a shoulder specialist in Madison for Tuesday and expects to take an MRI. He hardly seemed resolute that he was a lock to play in the Presidents Cup, set for Nov. 17-20, and said he would wait until the exam and then see what the doctor prescribed for his treatment regimen.
K.J. Choi, who was paired with Stricker, said he told Choi he wasn’t feeling 100%.
“(Stricker) didn’t have any senses in his left hand, so I told him he should get a lot of rest because I know what it’s like being hurt and not being well,” said Choi through an interpreter after shooting a five-under 65 to jump to second place at the halfway mark. “I’ve been hurt before, too, and it’s definitely not a good feeling.”
I watched the two play the last three holes and Stricker was visibly in pain. He also had trouble finding the fairway, hitting only two of 14 at East Lake Golf Club. All things considered, Stricker’s 70 wasn’t so bad.
If it turns out Stricker has to pull out from the Presidents Cup (which would be a huge lose for the U.S. squad), Couples could have two picks out of the three frontrunners — Keegan Bradley, Brandt Snedeker and Bill Haas, whose father Jay is the assistant captain and onsite this week in Atlanta.
(AP Photo/Dave Martin)