TROON, Scotland – Steve Stricker looked nothing like a part-time player at Royal Troon, shooting a final-round 69 on Sunday and finishing fourth in his first British Open since 2012.
The finish, his second-best in a major and top since a runner-up in the 1998 PGA, clearly showed a desire that the 49-year-old had lost when he decided to leave his full-time job and spend more time with his family.
After the 2012 season, Stricker made golf secondary in his life, but every time he teed it up in 2013 he would come prepared and play well – enough to merit a berth in the Tour Championship, in which he tied for second.
Since then, his game has not been as sharp and his successes limited, until a tie for second with Phil Mickelson at the FedEx St. Jude Classic last month in Memphis, Tenn., which earned Stricker a spot into the oldest major championship, his first major since the 2015 PGA.
“That’s part of the reason I think I’m still playing well,” Stricker said of his part-time status. “I’m still really excited to come out and play. I enjoyed my two weeks over here a lot. Scottish Open last week was really fun, and hanging with Phil last…