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High expectations from Steve Stricker
January 7, 2010

World number three Steve Stricker has great expectations for this season after winning three times on the 2009 PGA Tour but he is wary of getting too far ahead of himself.

The American ended last year with career-high earnings of $6.33 million on the highly competitive U.S. circuit and he is the highest-rankest player in the field for this week’s SBS Championship on the Hawaiian island of Maui.

“The last couple of years I have had higher expectations but I’ve always tried to not get ahead of myself,” Stricker told reporters at the Kapalua Resort on Wednesday.

“I learned back in college, I would win some tournaments and try to go to the next tournament and like: ‘I’m going to win this one’. You put that emphasis on winning.

“But that is a direct correlation to failing. I guess you put so much emphasis on winning that your expectations are so high and your patience is very low at that point.

“So I learned a long time ago that I can’t go and expect to win,” added the 42-year-old, who is regarded as one of the best putters on the PGA Tour.

“I can expect to play good, I guess, but not put so much pressure on myself that I have to play good and just take it as it comes and do what I do.

“This year I expect to go out and play well. I think that’s different from maybe three of four years ago when I wasn’t sure I was going to play well.”

A seven-times winner on the PGA Tour, Stricker felt his improved attitude over the last couple of years had been a significant factor in his overall improvement as a player.

“Probably the best part of my game (in that time) is that I’ve been able to shrug things off and move on,” he said.

“And that’s what I really want to make sure that I continue to do well is keep my attitude the way it’s been … not get too down when I hit a bad shot and not get too high when I hit a good shot. Keep that even keel going.

“That’s my goal. Each week is coming out to play well and keep a good attitude about it all.”

In many ways, Stricker regards this week’s season-opening event in Hawaii as a continuation of last year.

“I feel like I haven’t really lost a beat,” he said. “I feel like I’m still doing the same things that I ended the year on. I gained a lot of confidence from last year.

“I feel comfortable. I feel relaxed. I had enough time at home. My swing is feeling pretty good for not playing. Hopefully we will get off to a good start.”

Stricker has been paired with champion Geoff Ogilvy of Australia in Thursday’s opening round at Kapalua where PGA Tour winners from last year are vying for the title.

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