After 10 straight appearances in the John Deere Classic — including three of his 12 PGA Tour victories, all in a row, starting in 2009 — Steve Stricker is going in a different direction next week.
The Madison golfer decided Friday he will pursue his third PGA Tour Champions major championship victory of 2019 and committed to the Bridgestone Senior Players Championship, which is moving this year to Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio. For most of Stricker's career on the PGA Tour, Firestone CC played host to the World Series of Golf and, in recent years, the World Golf Championship Bridgestone Invitational.
Stricker, 52, has won two of the first three PGA Tour Champions majors this season: the Regions Traditions Championship in May and the U.S. Senior Open last week, both by six-shot margins. His Senior Open victory followed a playoff loss to fellow Madison golfer Jerry Kelly at the American Family Insurance Championship, which Stricker hosts, the previous week.
2019 Bridgestone Senior Players Championship: Final field 6.45 KBDownload PDF file
2019 John Deere Classic: Final field 9.06 KBDownload PDF file
Stricker, who has never made more than seven starts in a calendar year on the senior circuit since turning 50 two years ago, will be making his ninth PGA Tour Champions start next week in Akron. He last played at Firestone CC in 2014 when he finished tied for 63rd at the WGC Bridgestone Invitational.
"Stricker personally texted and said that it's 'been a hard decision, but I really want to try to win the Senior Players and get to play in the Players Championship next year and win a third Senior major," John Deere Classic tournament director Clair Peterson told the Quad Cities Times. "That was very nice. My response to him was, 'Steve, don't ever apologize to us. You have meant so much to us, we'll be rooting for you.'"