Stricker planning to adjust off-season to prepare for 2011 Presidents Cup

steve stricker
Getty Images
Steve Stricker prefers to take the entire autumn off, but will rethink his schedule because of the Presidents Cup's late date next year.
Doug Ferguson
Associated Press


Published: Tuesday, December 21, 2010 | 12:52 p.m.

Steve Stricker loves playing in the Presidents Cup, but he hates playing golf during hunting season in the autumn.

He’ll have to deal with that next year.

The Presidents Cup will be played in mid-November in Australia, which means Stricker will have to find a way to keep his game sharp before the matches. That will force him to play at least once in November, and perhaps even practice leading up to that.

“When is it? Middle of November? I don’t know,” said Stricker when asked about his schedule at the Chevron World Challenge. “I’ll probably have to play the week before. Is there something the week before? China? Maybe I’d go playing something like that.”

The WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai will be two weeks before the Presidents Cup.

“Is China on the way to Australia?” Stricker asked. “In a roundabout way? Not really?”

Just then, Camilo Villegas of Colombia walked by on his way to the clubhouse at Sherwood Country Club. Villegas has played in Shanghai in the last two years, and he played in the Australian Masters this year.

He was told about Stricker’s asking if China was on the way Down Under.

“Man, everything is far when you head that way,” Villegas countered with a laugh.

Officials still are trying to decide whether to allow the Australian Masters -- played on a sand belt course in Melbourne, just like the Presidents Cup -- to be held the week before the matches.

Zach Johnson doesn’t prefer to play much golf that late in the year, although he would welcome the inconvenience.

“You’ve got to stay in game shape,” he said. “Maybe I’d play another tournament. Australia is a possibility. It’s not an easy situation, but it’s a good situation if that means playing for the Stars and Stripes. If I make that team, it will be worth it.”

Stricker has experience getting his game ready for Australia.

He qualified for the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in Melbourne in 2001. On his way to Australia, he played a Gateway Tour team event in Arizona with his brother-in-law. They didn’t win, but the competition helped Stricker. He went on to beat Padraig Harrington, Scott Verplank and Justin Leonard on his way to winning the Match Play title.