Just about 45 minutes before kickoff in Miami, Edgerton native Steve Stricker won perhaps the biggest tournament of his career on the PGA Tour. Not only did he win on an historic course, against a great field, with this, his eighth win, he moved to into the number 2 golfer in the world. Ahead of Phil Mickelson and behind only Tiger Woods.
Steve still lives in Madison and spends his time in between tournaments during the winter hitting golf balls out of a heated trailer into the snow. Not only is he a great golfer, but perhaps the most humble sports figure in the country. National Review's Jay Nordlinger has a great little write-up on Steve in his weekly column, Impromptus:
Speaking of The Weekly Standard: Steve Stricker won the PGA tournament at the Riviera Country Club in L.A. over the weekend. Big tournament, big win. It was Stricker’s eighth. I was there for the first one: at the Kemper Open, outside Washington, D.C. This was in the spring of ’96. And I wrote about the tournament for the Standard (as I recall) — about my playing reporter at it.
As a rule, Stricker sheds tears after winning a tournament — so says this write-up about his Riviera victory. Well, I remember shaking hands with Stricker, after the Kemper: and he did indeed have tears in his eyes. Quite moving. He was a big, big deal in my neck of the woods — I mean, my home region, the Midwest. He is from Wisconsin and played at the University of Illinois. Nobody could touch him. He was one of the great collegians, a god of the links.
After he won the Kemper, there was a little press conference, as there always is, post-tournament. I asked him, “How old were you when you figured you would go on to win a PGA tournament? Were you in junior high, high school? College?” Stricker answered, “I never realized I would win until this very day.” He said this with obvious sincerity. He is a remarkably modest person.
But I’ll tell you this, sports fans: Stricker’s chances of winning on the PGA Tour were basically my chances of consuming a hot-fudge sundae.
Anyway, nice going, Steve — excellent.