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Steve Stricker still thinking about The Open

June 25, 2014

Steve Stricker hasn't booked his flight to the British Open, and he probably won't.

He's at least contemplating a return to golf's oldest championship.

''Ask me tomorrow, I could be going,'' Stricker said during the U.S. Open. ''Ask me another day, I could be going home. I'm leaning toward not going. I'm thinking about throwing in Greenbrier and then the John Deere. 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 operates under a different set of rules these days. It's unfair to label him as an American who doesn't want to travel. He reached a stage in his career where he doesn't always travel inside his own country.

Feeling as though he owed it to his family to be at home more often, he drastically reduced his schedule last year and became a part-time player. He plays the John Deere Classic the week before the Open because it's the closest he has to a hometown event - and because he won it three years in a row.

Even so, there's part of him that sees a major championship going on and feels as if he belongs.

''When I watched on TV it was like, 'I should be there.' Then I look at it like I'm not a full-time guy on tour and I shouldn't worry about. 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.''

With a tie for 21st in the U.S. Open, Stricker has moved up to No. 124 in the FedEx Cup. He has never missed the Tour Championship since the FedEx Cup began, a streak that is almost certain to end. With only limited starts remaining - at least three, maybe four - he's not yet a lock to qualify for The Barclays.

And if he does make it into the playoffs, odds are against him staying very long.

''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.''

He was supposed to go last year, but when he was runner-up at the Deutsche Bank and tied for fourth in the BMW Championship, it was worth playing the Tour Championship for a shot at the $10 million bonus.

That won't be the case this time.

''Last year I missed out on it,'' he said of the hunting trip. ''This year, I'm going to be a part of that.''




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