The Sports Xchange

By Tom LaMarre, The Sports Xchange

Golf notebook: Stricker wavers over British Open

--When Steve Stricker became a part-time player on the PGA Tour last year because he was weary of the travel and wanted to be at home with his family more, one tournament he skipped was the Open Championship at Muirfield.

No surprise there, since he has only two top-10 finishes in 13 appearances in the third major of the year, a tie for eighth at Carnoustie in 2007 and a tie for seventh the following year at Royal Birkdale.

Chances are, he won't be at Royal Liverpool in two weeks either.

"Ask me tomorrow, I could be going," Stricker said. "Ask me another day, I could be going home. I'm leaning toward not going. ... It's a long trip and I'm not too fired up about it.

"But then I look at it, and it's a major. And I should be going there."

Stricker always plays the week before the Open Championship in the John Deere Classic at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill., because he played at the University of Illinois and lives not far away in Madison, Wis.

When he does play in the Open Championship, he takes the charter flight to the United Kingdom on Sunday night that John Deere provides for players in the tournament.

"When I watched on TV (last year), it was like, 'I should be there,'" said Stricker, who is missing only a major title on his career resume. "Then I look at it like I'm not a full-time guy on the Tour and I shouldn't worry about it.

"I play the things I want to play. My kids and wife might come to Greenbrier. They wouldn't come with me to the British."

Stricker tied for 21st in the U.S. Open at Pinehurst, rising to No. 124 in the FedEx Cup standings. He has never missed the Tour Championship since the FedEx Cup playoffs began, a streak that is almost certain to end because he is a long way from the top 30.

With only three or four starts remaining, he is not even certain to qualify for the Barclays, the playoff opener.

"It's not a priority of mine," Stricker said. "If I'm exempt for the Barclays, I'll probably play. But I do have an elk hunting trip I've scheduled (during the playoffs).

"Last year I missed out on (the hunting trip). This year, I'm going to be a part of that."

If that is the case, he will miss the Tour Championship for sure.

--Holding the U.S. Women's Open a week after the U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 was the latest attempt by the United States Golf Association to boost the distaff event.

The USGA announced its next effort in that regard, playing the Women's Open in 2018 at Shoal Creek ahead of the men's Open in June.