After finishing second at the Deutsche Bank Championship and earning an automatic spot on the Presidents Cup, Steve Stricker wasn’t sure if he was going to play in the Tour Championship, the finale of the FedExCup Playoffs (and the $10 million wheelbarrow for the winner).
Earlier in the season, Stricker, who announced his semi-retirement at the start of the year, sounded like he was leaning against playing in the post-season at all — he skipped the first of the four legs, The Barclays — but on the eve of this week’s BMW Championship, Stricker had put some thought into it and opted for golf instead of an elk hunting trip with his buddies in Colorado.
Stricker, who is making his 12 start of the season, admitted he’d prefer the hunting trip, but it’s also hard to walk away from the chance at a big payday, according to GolfChannel.com’s Will Gray:
“I’m going to be playing next week,” explained Stricker, who enters this week’s BMW Championship eighth in the overall FedEx Cup points race. “I had a good talk with (wife) Nicki on the way home right after Boston and thought it was pretty important for me to go and play and not go hunting instead.”
“It’s our marquee event. It’s the Super Bowl of our year,” noted Stricker, who earlier this year opted out of the British Open to vacation with his wife for their 20th wedding anniversary. “For me to just kind of say, you know what, I’m in the top 10 and I’m not coming, to walk away from that I think would have been foolish.”
His pals are giving him a hard time, but all in good fun. Besides, Stricker could even come in last place in the 30-man field at the Tour Championship ($128,000) and pick up the entire tab the next five trips to make up for canceling this time.
“I am catching a lot of grief. They were actually rooting against me at Boston if you can believe it,” he added. “It’s a good problem to have to try to make the decision between the two things.”
Exactly, you can’t lose, either way. Though he’s cutback on events, it doesn’t seem to have impacted his play, but perhaps he wouldn’t mind the extra practice before the Presidents Cup, the biennial matches against the “Internationals,” which will be held at Muirfield Village during the first week in October.
Excluding the match play exhibition, Stricker will have played 13 PGA Tour events in his first year of semi-retirement, which is just one more than his estimated “10-12″ in January.