While browsing through the Golf news, and basically snooping around to see who was on the expert’s radar as a potential winner this weekend at The Shell Houston Open, the name that struck me as a good one is Steve Stricker. Why not…? Since basically becoming a part time employee at the PGA Tour level, he has looked pretty strong in the few appearances he’s had this year.
He obviously has impressed Kevin Maguire, who is ESPN.com’s Senior Golf editor, enough to get the nod.
Steve Stricker — Part-time player Stricker stands fourth on the PGA Tour money list with just three starts so far this season. The next-highest player in terms of cash with that number of starts? That would be Rory McIlroy at No. 109. In his past six starts at the SHO, Stricker’s finished inside the top 11 four times.
In his last appearance at Doral, he was one putting lesson away from his first win of the year, before finishing second to student, Tiger Woods. He was right there, if Tiger had stumbled on his way in, Stricker might have made a playoff on The Blue Monster.
Steve Stricker had a very good 2012 season, but seemed to have picked up a problem with his usually very sound putting game during the John Deere Classic where he finished tied 5th in a tournament he had dominated for two years straight. After solid finishes at the Bridgestone, and the PGA Championship, he just couldn’t seem to make a putt that meant anything down the stretch during the FedEx Cup playoffs. The yipes continued into Medinah and the Ryder Cup.
The 45 year old Stricker has decided to spend more time with his family this year, and maybe rest the legs that are nearing the Champions Tour status. He has had a good spring with top ten finishes in every tournament he has entered. With his putting stroke starting to bail him out on occasion, I am inclined to agree with Mr. Maguire, and give the Pro Golf Now nod to Steve Stricker at the SHO myself.
Follow me on Twitter @Spin_47, and on Google+ in the Golf Community.