Steve Stricker talks Tiger Woods, Ryder Cup plans at Arnold Palmer Invitational

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Steve DiMeglio
·3 min read
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ORLANDO, Fla. – United States Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker wore red and black in Sunday’s final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational to show support for Tiger Woods and hopefully replicate some of the magic the best player of his generation unleashed in winning a record eight times at Bay Hill.

“It didn’t do me (expletive),” Stricker said with a smile. “I didn’t make a birdie.”

After signing for a 5-over-par 77, Stricker talked about his captaincy duties and Woods, who is recovering in a Los Angeles hospital following a horrific single-vehicle rollover crash that left him with serious injuries in his right leg, ankle and foot.

“Obviously he’s a friend of mine. I’m trying to keep up on what’s going on with him. I haven’t heard too much lately,” Stricker said. “We’re all pulling for him.

“We’re thankful that he’s alive. I don’t know who said it, but that his kids continue to have a father. Something even more tragic could have come from that.”

Stricker said he’s “not going to go down that road now,” when asked if he’s given thought to adding Woods as a vice captain for the matches against Europe this September at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin. Stricker has three vice captains – Jim Furyk, Zach Johnson and Davis Love III – and will likely add two more.

“I’d love to have him around. I’m hoping in one way, shape or form,” Stricker said. “But it’s too early to kind of commit to anything.”

Stricker did say he has ramped up his work for the Ryder Cup.

“We’re starting to talk about players and look at the guys who are playing well,” he said. “We still have a long time. Four majors left, which are worth more. It’s hard not to pay attention to guys who are playing well.

“(Collin) Morikawa winning last week. Seeing Jordan (Spieth) play well. This is probably the fourth tournament in a row he’s played well. To see Bryson (DeChambeau) doing Bryson things. I’m watching a lot, I’m paying attention.”

Stricker will have six discretionary picks for fill out his 12-man squad. Some have questioned if that’s too many.

“It’ll be more happy calls,” Stricker said. “There will be six calls I get to make who are guys I get to tell made the team. But it also opens up the door probably for some criticism on our part. But it’s going to be a team decision all the way around.”

The top six in the U.S. standings currently are Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Morikawa, DeChambeau, Xander Schauffele and Justin Thomas.

“I’ll ask the other six guys who are on the team who they are thinking about at the time. Obviously the assistant captains,” he continued. “So it’s going to be a team decision on who those other six are going to be.

“As we get closer, the team will kind of take form and take shape. Then we can start looking outside the top 6 or top 10 and see who is going to fit better with the guys who are already on the team.”

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