Steve Stricker Q & A
September 14, 2015
By Kenneth Quillinan , Special to, PGATOUR.COM
- September 14, 2015
- Steve Stricker tees off on the first hole during Day Three Foursome Matches of The Presidents Cup. (Photo by Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)
On August 4, U.S. Presidents Cup Team Captain Jay Haas announced that he was going to add a third assistant to his team in the form of Steve Stricker. Stricker will bring a wealth of experience to the event, having picked up 12 wins on the PGA TOUR and 22 in total throughout his career. Along with Fred Couples and Davis Love III, this is a very impressive trio of assistants that Haas has at his disposal. Stricker shared his thoughts recently as the countdown continues:
Q: How excited were you after getting the call from Jay Haas to join the U.S. Team?
Stricker: I was very excited to be asked to join the US Team. I have loved being a part of the American teams during my career. Obviously, I would like to have played well enough to be playing this year, but Jay looking to me to join the team from the captain’s side is a great honor and something I will take seriously to assist in any way he needs me.
Q: Have you visited Korea before?
Stricker: I have never been to Korea, and I am looking forward to arriving. I have heard nothing but great things about the country and its people.
Q: You must be confident that the U.S. Team can retain their title in Korea?
Stricker: I think we will have a strong squad heading over to Korea, but so will the International Team. The International Team is shaping up to be just as strong, as was the case from past matches. We will have to play up to our capabilities to retain The Presidents Cup, without question. If we don’t play well and play well as a team, then it will be a very difficult task.
Q: Having a certain 22 year-old on your team is undoubtedly going to be a huge asset. What are your thoughts on the progress of Jordan Spieth and the potential he has shown over the past few years?
Stricker: Jordan was a great player from the start of his career and has certainly elevated his game to another level yet. I had the chance to be paired with him at the last Presidents Cup, and he is an emotional player, which is by no means bad. He has become a polished competitor that has learned to manage his emotions and temperament to be an asset for him. We are certainly happy to have him on the American side and will look to him for leadership for sure.
Q: Good to see Jim Furyk making the team, too?
Stricker: Yes, without question it is great to see him on the team. I am sure he had something to prove to himself by missing the last team competition. He has been such a permanent figure on the American teams. It will be great to have his leadership and steady play in Korea.
Q: I suspect there are many, but what is your best memory from previous Presidents Cups?
Stricker: They were all very memorable for different reasons, but I would say that in 2009 at Harding Park; that was my most memorable, when Freddy was captain. I was fortunate to get paired with Tiger that week going 4-0, which was a bonus, but we were great as an overall team and ended up beating a very, very good International Team on home soil.
Q: With a major emphasis of The Presidents Cup focusing on charitable donations, can you explain more about your foundation please?
Stricker: Nicki and I partnered with one of my major sponsors, American Family Insurance, in 2013 and with that partnership we created the Steve Stricker American Family Insurance Foundation. The Foundation supports charities, educational initiatives and organizations aimed at building strong families and healthy kids, empowering them to chase their dreams. Additionally, we just recently announced a new Champions Tour event starting in June 2016. The proceeds from the event will be donated to our Foundation as well as the American Family Children’s Hospital, which is world class pediatric Hospital. So a lot of great things on the horizon as it relates to charity.
Q: Would you like to captain a U.S. Team one day, whether it is in The Presidents Cup or Ryder Cup?
Stricker: I would love to captain an American Team that represents our country. It would certainly be an honor to captain any of those teams. I am humbled to even be in the conversation to be honest, but I certainly feel like I am up to the task.
Q: Your first win came at the Kemper Open with your wife Nicki on the bag; safe to say this was the most memorable moment of your career?
Stricker: That was special for sure. Not only because it was my first win, but we did it together and she was there every step of the way starting at the McKenzie Tour (PGA Tour Canada). It certainly gives you a great amount of satisfaction when all the hard work pays off so I think it was equally gratifying for both of us.
Q: What positives can you take from 2015 after returning from surgery?
Stricker: Mostly that I did not have any setbacks and that I felt stronger every week. I was real careful not to play too much and really used this year as a rehab year to get stronger and see what my limitations were. I am looking forward to 2016.
Q: Are you still planning on playing in the Shark Shootout in December?
Stricker: I am. That will most likely be the next time I play. It’s a fantastic event and I am looking forward to playing there again.
Q: As a veteran of the PGATOUR, what advice can you offer up to the next generation of golfers?
Stricker: Keep it simple. Work on getting better at the little things that make a difference. Chipping, putting and wedge play are something that you need to have sharp to compete at this level so make those your strengths. Everyone hits the ball pretty well out here and the difference is saving a shot here or there.