Stricker battles iron deficiency
He insisted he’s 100 percent healthy now, however, and chalked up his tie for 58th place at the U.S. Open to mediocre iron play—a problem that has plagued him for weeks—and spotty putting.
Stricker, an Edgerton native who lives in Madison, shot a final-round 73, his best score of the week, and finished at 15-over-par 299.
“I’m not disappointed in the way I played,” he said Sunday. “There were some things I wish I could have done better. My iron play is not where I want it to be yet. I drove the ball great, and if I can continue to drive it like that, I know I can get my putting going.
“But I’ve got to get my iron play a little more solid.”
He switched irons last month and is playing Titleist’s 710 CB model.
“It’s not the irons,” he said. “It’s the swinger of the irons.”
Stricker, ranked fourth in the world, won the Northern Trust Open in early February and hasn’t missed a cut this year. But he has just one top-25 finish in his last five starts. He said inflammation in his SC joint (where the clavicle meets the sternum) no longer was an issue.
“I’m healthy. No worries,” he said. “I felt great all week.”
His game simply wasn’t sharp enough to contend at Pebble Beach.
“I drove the ball great,” he said. “I putted not up to my standards. I didn’t score like I normally do. The little things, getting it up and down, making birdies when I hit it in there (close) … I just never took advantage of anything.”
Stricker next will play July 8-11 in the John Deere Classic, where he is the defending champion.
Stricker and Jerry Kelly tried last year to save the PGA Tour stop in Milwaukee but could not find a title sponsor to pull the trigger.
“There’s nothing new to report,” Stricker said. “It’s the economy.”
He said it would be difficult to resurrect a Tour event in Milwaukee given the string of big tournaments coming to Wisconsin over the next decade, starting with the 92nd PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in August.
“It might be better that way, where people get just enough golf to really get behind the big tournaments we have coming there,” he said. “It’s still sad to see the Milwaukee tournament go away.”
Stricker, 43, said he was aware that the Milwaukee Brewers were seeking a title sponsor for a potential Champions Tour event.
“I think the Tour feels like Milwaukee may be a better senior market at this point,” he said. “It would be great for me. I’m right around the corner. I can slide right into a senior event.”
One in a million: Shaun Micheel recorded the second double-eagle in U.S. Open history, using a 3-iron to hole his second shot from 239 shots on the 523-yard par-5 sixth.
“To make a double-eagle on Father’s Day at the final day of the U.S. Open, the way my career has kind of been going the last couple of years, it makes me feel very, very special,” said Micheel, who had shoulder surgery in 2008 and played the ‘09 season on a major medical extension.
“It’s a lasting image that I’ll take with me forever, to pick that ball out of the hole. I’ve got it hidden away in a secret pocket in my golf bag.”
Previously, T.C. Chen recorded a double-eagle on the second hole at Oakland Hills Country Club during the first round of the 1985 U.S. Open. Chen used a 3-wood from 256 yards.
Micheel’s good fortune did not last long, however. He made a double-bogey on the next hole, the par-3 seventh.
Glad to be done: After opening 72-70, Kelly was tied for sixth place, just three shots off the lead. But he shot 81-77 on the weekend and tumbled all the way down to a tie for 63rd.
Kelly made six double-bogeys over his last two rounds and hit just 16 of 36 greens in regulation.