by Jeff Skinner
PGA Tour players are referred to as independent contractors. That is, they work only for themselves and set their own schedule. One of the most “independent” of the independent contractors is the unassuming Steve Stricker.
He may not look like it but Stricker is a bit of a rebel on the PGA Tour. He is one of the very few professional golfers that doesn’t flee to the warmth and sunshine in the south during the winter months. Stricker still makes his home near Madison, Wisconsin and let’s just say that his playing options are severely limited once the winter hits. Stricker spends more time hunting than golfing over the winter as he chooses to enjoy his family and his home rather than concentrate on refining his game over the off season. It’s a testament to his game that he can still compete with golfers that practice 365 day a year.
But now Stricker has announced that he’ll be playing less on the PGA Tour in 2013, significantly less. He is looking to cut back his playing schedule from 19 tournaments last season to about 10 events this year. “That’s the plan,”Stricker said. “I’m going to play a lot less.” Stricker says he rather be home with his family and spend more time working with his charitable foundation. “I’m not quitting,” Stricker said from his home near Madison, Wis. “I want to spend more time here. I still enjoy playing, but I don’t enjoy the travel.”
The 45 year old Stricker is a two time Comeback Player of the Year as he turned his career around and seemed to hit his prime as he hit 40. He has 12 PGA Tour wins and earned over $35 million dollars. But in order to play less than the required 13 PGA events and still be a member he’ll need to use one of his top 25 or top 50 money list exemptions. Stricker says he has no problem with that at all, “Everybody’s excited,” Stricker said of his family, wife Nicki and daughters Bobbi and Isabella.
“I will sure be rested and ready to play when I do play,” he said. “I’m excited about that.”
Stricker will certainly have a great impact on the lives of many as he works with his foundation and his family won’t be missing him as in years past. But he’ll be missed. Watching a quality guy like Stricker compete and seeing him break down as he always did when he won was one of the joys of watching the PGA Tour.