STRICKER SCALES BACK
Walker: Steve Stricker announced that he'd be scaling back to about 10 tournaments this year. At 46, Stricker is still one of the top American players. Did anyone see this coming? And with the amount of money guys make now, do you think we'll see more "semi-retirements" among top players in their 40s?
Herre: Stricker more or less collapsed at the end of last season. You could see in the Ryder Cup that he was completely out of gas.
Shipnuck: Who wouldn't want to be semi-retired at 46?! Stricks is living the dream. More power to him.
Bamberger: I think the Ryder Cup aged Stricker by 10 years.
Van Sickle: Stricker is cut in the Byron Nelson mold. He's a non-confrontational guy, he gets nervous and he feels the burden of pressure. That feeling is not your friend. If he hadn't suddenly uncovered the best golf of his career, he probably would've bagged golf six years ago.
Godich: Good for Stricker. Nice to see that one of the really good guys has his priorities in order. I know how much he wants a major, but how much money do you need?
Shipnuck: I'm not sure he even cares about a major, or ever did. That's for the likes of Tiger and Rory to worry about. I always thought Stricker cared more about deer hunting.
Godich: Good point. But I'm betting if he had a major in the trophy case, he'd be in full retirement.
Dusek: There's so much mileage on Stricker that I can't blame the guy for heading for the door. I think the Ryder Cup was the straw that broke his back.
Wei: Can't say I saw it coming, but was I surprised? Not really. He's always been a family guy and one of the few players who doesn't have a second home somewhere warm; he chooses to stay in Wisconsin and hit balls at an indoor range. So he's doing this for the right reasons, to spend more time with his family.
Morfit: I don't think this is a trend. Stricker has always struggled to justify all the time away from his family. Good for him.
Hanger: It wouldn't surprise me if more guys either retire or move onto other things once they've got a pile of cash put aside. It's related to the question we've asked before about the Champions Tour. Will today's stars be out there on the senior circuit when they're 55 or 60? I don't think they'll bother because they won't need the money.
Van Sickle: It's not about the money. Tom Kite was the all-time leading money-winner at one point. He certainly didn't need the money. Neither did Curtis Strange or Loren Roberts or Tom Lehman or Bernhard Langer or a number of other senior players. It's about the adrenaline rush of competition. Most of the guys playing senior golf keep going because there's no substitute for the thrill of competing, and winning.
Hanger: Good point, but I still think we might see more guys hang it up at 45. There are a lot of journeymen who have more money than they know what to do with. That hasn't always been true.
Van Sickle: It's been true since the start of the Tiger Era (1996), if not back to the early 90s. So that's 20 years.
Godich: Tom Kite won a little more than $11 million on the PGA Tour. Stricker is north of $35 million.
Van Sickle: Yes, but Kite's $11 million would be close to $35 million once you adjust for inflation.
Tell us what you think in the comments section below: Do you think Stricker is starting a trend among 40-something pros?