Steve, Nicki Stricker with Bo, Kelly Ryan

Steve and Nicki Stricker pose with Bo and Kelly Ryan Saturday at The American Express tournament in La Quinta, Calif.

LA QUINTA, Calif. — Days like Saturday were the very image Bob Hope had for the PGA Tour event now known as The American Express.

Golfers meet celebrities. Celebrities meet golfers. Friendships are forged. Good times are had. Everyone leaves with smiles on their faces.

Such was the way this picture-perfect Saturday went for Steve Stricker.

The Madison golfer met playing partner Brett Hull – he of the 19-year NHL career with the Calgary Flames, St. Louis Blues, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings and Phoenix Coyotes – on the first tee. They talked sports the entire length of the 445-yard first hole on the Stadium Course at PGA West and, by the time the day was done, Stricker could not have had more fun for a guy who missed the cut by three shots.

His 4-under-par 68 was his best round of the week, but even his 6-under 210 total looked a bit paltry compared to the matching 21-under 195s of Scottie Scheffler and Andrew Landry, who lead the event by four shots over Rickie Fowler. Stricker did help Hull get to the Sunday portion of the pro-am event as they shot 7-under 65 to push Hull's 54-hole total with different partners each day to 24-under 192, earning him one of the three low-gross spots alongside the three low-net qualifiers among the six amateurs headed to the final round.

They were quite a show for the generous gallery on the Stadium Course, some of them early arrivals for the sold-out Luke Bryan concert on the driving range after the round. 

Stricker birdied No. 1 to the delight of Hull, who raised his right arm to the sky in celebration of not having to try his birdie putt with one in the barn. Instead, he saved his wizardry with the flat-stick for the next two holes, rolling in lengthy birdie putts to get the team to 3-under after just three holes.

"I was really bearing down, thinking that maybe I could get an assistant captaincy deal or maybe a captain's pick," Hull joked in reference to Stricker's role as the 2020 U.S. Ryder Cup captain. "It was great, playing with a Ryder Cup captain. I'd never met Steve before, we all know he's a really great guy. And he did not let me down; we had a great time and we played great."

Stricker couldn't have hit it off better with the 55-year-old Hull, who broke into the NHL in 1986 with Calgary as a young sniper playing for legendary coach "Badger" Bob Johnson. Hull currently serves as an executive vice president for the St. Louis Blues.

"It was a lot of fun," Stricker said of his pairing. "What a great guy. A good player, too. A 2-handicapper. Swung at it very nicely. We had a great time.

"That's what this tournament is all about."

Indeed, once upon a time, there was as much to see outside the ropes as there was inside where the competition took place. The old Bob Hope was one of those places in the Coachella Valley to be seen among actors, athletes and politicians.

These days, fans might see a retired college basketball coach, too.

Izzi, Bobbi Stricker with Bo, Kelly Ryan

Izzi, Bobbi Stricker with Bo, Kelly Ryan

Stricker got an enthusiastic wave from one as he walked up the ninth fairway. Across the pond that runs the length of the fairway, former University of Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan and wife Kelly got the attention of Stricker and his wife/caddie Nicki and then walked over by the 10th tee, where the Ryans posed for pictures with the Strickers and their daughters, Bobbi and Izzi.

Ever the recruiter, Bo Ryan hinted to Bobbi Stricker, a member of the Badgers women's golf team, that his 19 handicap at PGA West is ready and waiting for scramble events once her college career is finished. Steve Stricker, a season-ticket holder for Badgers games at the Kohl Center, joked that he could have passed the rest of the afternoon talking basketball with Ryan, but saved that for after his round, when he described the difficulty of watching the heart-pounding action in the Big Ten Conference this season with a reporter.

"I don't think there is a team in the Big Ten that stands out – well, maybe Michigan State from what I saw (Friday) night when they played the Badgers – and all these games are tightly contested, for the most part," Stricker said. "The Big Ten is strong. The big men in the Big Ten are playing unbelievable. I watched a couple guys (Friday) night (on TV) in that Iowa-Michigan game; they had a battle to the end as well.

"The Badgers, they are exciting to watch. They're frustrating to watch, at times. You feel like they've turned the corner then they take a step back, but we root for them all year long and wish them the best. Hopefully, they can make the tournament."

By his own admission, though, Stricker doesn't follow what's happening on the ice as much as he does the hardwood. "I'm not a huge hockey fan, but I'm a Brett Hull fan, for sure; especially after today," he said. "What a character. We had a lot of smiles (and) a lot of laughs as we went around."

The biggest smile from Stricker no doubt came at the 16th hole where he hit a driver/hybrid on the 547-yard par 5 just short of the green. With 36 feet to the hole, Stricker holed his chip for an eagle to get to 5-under for the week.

"I showed signs out there (Saturday), which was better," Stricker said. "I felt good this week. That is why I came here, to see how my body would feel and especially my (injured left) elbow. As the tournament went on, it felt better and I started hitting at it a little harder. That part fires me up."

PGA Tour: Menomonee Falls' Mark Wilson, Madison's Steve Stricker at The American Express | Third-round results (La Quinta CC-La Quinta, Calif.)

Pos. Player Total Thru Today R1 R2 R3 R4 Score
Wisconsin leaderboard
CUT Steve Stricker -6 -- -- 69 73 68 -- 210
CUT Mark Wilson 1 -- -- 69 74 74 -- 217
Full leaderboard
T1 Scottie Scheffler (SC) -21 F -6 65 64 66 -- 195
T1 Andrew Landry (NT) -21 F* -7 66 64 65 -- 195
3 Rickie Fowler (SC) -17 F -2 65 64 70 -- 199
T4 Ryan Moore (SC) -16 F* -5 68 65 67 -- 200
T4 Chase Seiffert (NT) -16 F* -5 66 67 67 -- 200
T6 Andrew Putnam (SC) -15 F* -7 67 69 65 -- 201
T6 Abraham Ancer (SC) -15 F -6 68 67 66 -- 201
T6 Sebastian Cappelen (LQ) -15 F -8 67 70 64 -- 201
T9 Tim Wilkinson (SC) -14 F* -6 71 65 66 -- 202
T9 Sepp Straka (LQ) -14 F* -4 69 65 68 -- 202
T9 Tom Hoge (NT) -14 F* -6 66 70 66 -- 202
T9 Alex Noren (LQ) -14 F* -4 67 67 68 -- 202
T9 Sungjae Im (SC) -14 F -3 67 66 69 -- 202
T9 Brendon Todd (LQ) -14 F* -7 69 68 65 -- 202
T9 Wes Roach (SC) -14 F* -3 68 65 69 -- 202
T9 Paul Casey (SC) -14 F -5 68 67 67 -- 202
T9 Tony Finau (SC) -14 F -1 69 62 71 -- 202
T9 Hank Lebioda (LQ) -14 F* -6 65 71 66 -- 202
T9 Max Homa (NT) -14 F -9 71 68 63 -- 202
T20 Harris English (LQ) -13 F* -8 71 68 64 -- 203
T20 Nick Watney (NT) -13 F -7 67 71 65 -- 203
T20 Brendan Steele (SC) -13 F -5 70 66 67 -- 203
T20 Bud Cauley (SC) -13 F -1 68 64 71 -- 203
T20 Adam Schenk (LQ) -13 F -4 66 69 68 -- 203
T20 Brian Harman (SC) -13 F* -3 67 67 69 -- 203
T20 Sebastián Muñoz (LQ) -13 F* -4 67 68 68 -- 203
T27 David Hearn (SC) -12 F* -7 71 68 65 -- 204
T27 Chesson Hadley (SC) -12 F -8 73 67 64 -- 204
T27 Denny McCarthy (NT) -12 F* -7 71 68 65 -- 204
T27 Grayson Murray (NT) -12 F* -3 64 71 69 -- 204
T27 Michael Gligic (LQ) -12 F -2 69 65 70 -- 204
T27 Talor Gooch (LQ) -12 F -8 69 71 64 -- 204
T33 Zac Blair (SC) -11 F* -1 64 70 71 -- 205
T33 Scott Stallings (LQ) -11 F* -5 67 71 67 -- 205
T33 Kevin Na (LQ) -11 F* -3 69 67 69 -- 205
T33 Kyoung-Hoon Lee (NT) -11 F* -4 68 69 68 -- 205
T33 John Huh (LQ) -11 F -3 67 69 69 -- 205
T33 Cameron Davis (LQ) -11 F* E 66 67 72 -- 205
T33 Cameron Tringale (NT) -11 F -5 69 69 67 -- 205
T33 Matt Every (LQ) -11 F -4 70 67 68 -- 205
T33 J.T. Poston (LQ) -11 F* -3 67 69 69 -- 205
T33 Maverick McNealy (SC) -11 F -1 69 65 71 -- 205
T43 Brandon Hagy (NT) -10 F* -3 74 63 69 -- 206
T43 Ted Potter, Jr. (NT) -10 F* 1 70 63 73 -- 206
T43 Sam Burns (NT) -10 F* -5 71 68 67 -- 206
T43 Matthew NeSmith (NT) -10 F* -2 68 68 70 -- 206
T43 Josh Teater (SC) -10 F* -3 67 70 69 -- 206
T43 Fabián Gómez (NT) -10 F* -5 69 70 67 -- 206
T43 Tyler Duncan (LQ) -10 F -5 66 73 67 -- 206
T43 Cameron Champ (LQ) -10 F* -4 67 71 68 -- 206
T43 Charley Hoffman (SC) -10 F -3 74 63 69 -- 206
T43 Anirban Lahiri (LQ) -10 F* -6 70 70 66 -- 206
T43 Daniel Berger (SC) -10 F* -3 69 68 69 -- 206
T43 Doc Redman (NT) -10 F -4 68 70 68 -- 206
T43 Vincent Whaley (LQ) -10 F -5 71 68 67 -- 206
T56 Ben Martin (LQ) -9 F -1 72 64 71 -- 207
T56 Scott Piercy (SC) -9 F E 67 68 72 -- 207
T56 Russell Knox (LQ) -9 F* -2 66 71 70 -- 207
T56 Henrik Norlander (NT) -9 F -6 75 66 66 -- 207
T56 Bronson Burgoon (NT) -9 F* -3 72 66 69 -- 207
T56 Vaughn Taylor (LQ) -9 F* -8 69 74 64 -- 207
T56 Matthew Wolff (SC) -9 F -1 67 69 71 -- 207
T56 Patrick Rodgers (NT) -9 F E 69 66 72 -- 207
T56 Carlos Ortiz (NT) -9 F* -6 71 70 66 -- 207
T56 Jhonattan Vegas (LQ) -9 F* -2 68 69 70 -- 207
T56 Ryan Brehm (NT) -9 F -1 69 67 71 -- 207
T56 Sam Ryder (NT) -9 F -4 69 70 68 -- 207
T56 Brian Stuard (LQ) -9 F -2 67 70 70 -- 207
T56 Mark Hubbard (LQ) -9 F* -5 69 71 67 -- 207
T56 Jason Dufner (NT) -9 F -3 67 71 69 -- 207
T56 Troy Merritt (NT) -9 F* -4 71 68 68 -- 207
T56 Rory Sabbatini (LQ) -9 F -5 70 70 67 -- 207
T56 D.J. Trahan (NT) -9 F -3 69 69 69 -- 207
T56 Tyler McCumber (NT) -9 F* -3 67 71 69 -- 207
Missed cut
CUT Cameron Percy -8 -- -- 74 66 68 -- 208
CUT Lucas Glover -8 -- -- 67 76 65 -- 208
CUT Chez Reavie -8 -- -- 71 70 67 -- 208
CUT Jimmy Walker -8 -- -- 71 68 69 -- 208
CUT Kevin Streelman -8 -- -- 67 70 71 -- 208
CUT Ben Taylor -8 -- -- 71 70 67 -- 208
CUT Michael Gellerman -8 -- -- 71 71 66 -- 208
CUT Nick Taylor -7 -- -- 67 68 74 -- 209
CUT Kyle Stanley -7 -- -- 70 68 71 -- 209
CUT Wyndham Clark -7 -- -- 71 68 70 -- 209
CUT Harold Varner III -7 -- -- 69 72 68 -- 209
CUT Roger Sloan -7 -- -- 66 71 72 -- 209
CUT Bo Van Pelt -7 -- -- 72 67 70 -- 209
CUT Kristoffer Ventura -7 -- -- 73 69 67 -- 209
CUT Isaiah Salinda -7 -- -- 67 70 72 -- 209
CUT Chris Baker -7 -- -- 71 69 69 -- 209
CUT Russell Henley -7 -- -- 68 70 71 -- 209
CUT Zack Sucher -7 -- -- 72 68 69 -- 209
CUT Harry Higgs -7 -- -- 74 72 63 -- 209
CUT Mackenzie Hughes -6 -- -- 71 69 70 -- 210
CUT Steve Stricker -6 -- -- 69 73 68 -- 210
CUT Luke List -6 -- -- 70 72 68 -- 210
CUT Martin Laird -6 -- -- 69 72 69 -- 210
CUT Chris Stroud -6 -- -- 70 70 70 -- 210
CUT Aaron Wise -6 -- -- 70 67 73 -- 210
CUT Charles Howell III -6 -- -- 70 68 72 -- 210
CUT Adam Long -6 -- -- 69 70 71 -- 210
CUT Patton Kizzire -6 -- -- 72 69 69 -- 210
CUT Hudson Swafford -6 -- -- 70 67 73 -- 210
CUT Rob Oppenheim -6 -- -- 73 67 70 -- 210
CUT Michael Thompson -6 -- -- 70 72 68 -- 210
CUT Xinjun Zhang -6 -- -- 69 73 68 -- 210
CUT Seung-Yul Noh -5 -- -- 69 73 69 -- 211
CUT Peter Malnati -5 -- -- 71 71 69 -- 211
CUT Lucas Bjerregaard -5 -- -- 75 70 66 -- 211
CUT Kevin Kisner -5 -- -- 74 68 69 -- 211
CUT Kevin Chappell -5 -- -- 71 72 68 -- 211
CUT Danny Lee -5 -- -- 70 71 70 -- 211
CUT Scott Harrington -5 -- -- 71 69 71 -- 211
CUT Bill Haas -5 -- -- 68 68 75 -- 211
CUT Akshay Bhatia -5 -- -- 71 71 69 -- 211
CUT Nelson Ledesma -5 -- -- 70 74 67 -- 211
CUT Jason Kokrak -4 -- -- 73 69 70 -- 212
CUT Richy Werenski -4 -- -- 69 73 70 -- 212
CUT Zach Johnson -4 -- -- 70 72 70 -- 212
CUT Doug Ghim -4 -- -- 68 70 74 -- 212
CUT Byeong Hun An -4 -- -- 70 72 70 -- 212
CUT Stewart Cink -4 -- -- 73 68 71 -- 212
CUT Brice Garnett -4 -- -- 77 71 64 -- 212
CUT Vince Covello -4 -- -- 73 69 70 -- 212
CUT J.J. Spaun -4 -- -- 71 68 73 -- 212
CUT Brian Gay -4 -- -- 76 68 68 -- 212
CUT Greg Chalmers -4 -- -- 71 70 71 -- 212
CUT James Hahn -3 -- -- 72 72 69 -- 213
CUT Austin Cook -3 -- -- 69 72 72 -- 213
CUT Phil Mickelson -3 -- -- 70 72 71 -- 213
CUT Aaron Baddeley -2 -- -- 70 71 73 -- 214
CUT Ryan Armour -2 -- -- 67 75 72 -- 214
CUT Beau Hossler -2 -- -- 71 73 70 -- 214
CUT Kramer Hickok -2 -- -- 71 72 71 -- 214
CUT Kevin Stadler -1 -- -- 70 70 75 -- 215
CUT Billy Horschel -1 -- -- 74 71 70 -- 215
CUT Joseph Bramlett -1 -- -- 73 70 72 -- 215
CUT Francesco Molinari E -- -- 73 71 72 -- 216
CUT Ricky Barnes 1 -- -- 70 71 76 -- 217
CUT Mark Wilson 1 -- -- 69 74 74 -- 217
CUT John Senden 2 -- -- 75 74 69 -- 218
CUT Robert Streb 2 -- -- 71 76 71 -- 218
CUT Charles Reiter (a) 2 -- -- 75 72 71 -- 218
CUT Robby Shelton 2 -- -- 71 73 74 -- 218
CUT Sam Saunders 4 -- -- 70 72 78 -- 220
CUT Rafael Campos 4 -- -- 73 71 76 -- 220
CUT Rhein Gibson 5 -- -- 72 78 71 -- 221
CUT Dominic Bozzelli 7 -- -- 67 77 79 -- 223
CUT Scott Brown 7 -- -- 74 77 72 -- 223
CUT Brian Smock 8 -- -- 76 73 75 -- 224
CUT Hunter Mahan 10 -- -- 72 77 77 -- 226
CUT Martin Trainer 14 -- -- 78 78 74 -- 230
WD Bo Hoag E -- -- 71 68 62 -- 201
WD Ben Crane E -- -- 71 -- -- -- 71
WD Nate Lashley E -- -- 77 -- -- -- 77
WD Si Woo Kim E -- -- 87 -- -- -- 87

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