Thursday 23 November 2017

Watson considering picking Steve Stricker for Ryder Cup

Steve Stricker of the United States
Steve Stricker of the United States

United States captain Tom Watson has confirmed that Steve Stricker is being considered for a Ryder Cup wild card, despite already being chosen as a vice-captain.

Watson joked on Monday that he had told Stricker to take his clubs to Gleneagles after the 47-year-old finished joint seventh in the US PGA Championship, just four days after joining Andy North and Ray Floyd on Watson's backroom staff.

And even though Stricker is struggling with a hip injury, Watson said he would be considered as one of his three wild cards to be named on September 2.

Matt Kuchar has qualified for the team but withdrew before the start of the US PGA with a back injury, while Jason Dufner's title defence lasted just 10 holes with a serious neck problem and he dropped out of the automatic places as a result. Tiger Woods' ongoing back problems mean he has asked not to be considered for a wild card.

"Speaking of injuries, it hasn't been limited to our players," Watson wrote in a blog for the PGA of America. "Our new vice-captain, Steve Stricker, is also battling through a hip injury.

"It's been a problem for a while now and I think it's the reason he's had a hard time stringing four rounds together this year until last week. He played great at Valhalla and tied for seventh.

"Steve actually called me on Thursday night. He asked if I was considering him for a captain's pick. I said, 'Absolutely, I am.'

"Steve said that's all he needed to hear and will be planning his schedule accordingly over these next couple of weeks. He's going to play and see if he can make it as a captain's pick.

"I told him he's amongst a group I'm looking at if he's playing well. Either way, he'll be with us at Gleneagles. He's very well respected by his peers and obviously, a great player."

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