Former United States Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker is the type of guy in the golf world that when he opens his mouth, people listen.
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When the United States broke Europe 19-9 at the most recent Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits, all of the young superstars paid tribute to Stricker such was his influence on the team. He is articulate, calm and level-headed.
At this point we know exactly who is funding the LIV Golf Invitational Series and the players have a clear choice: a mega pay day now and an uncertain playing future or stay on a thriving domestic product on the PGA Tour.
Though for the young guys this presents a problem. It is really, really hard to earn status and retain status on the PGA Tour and there is no guarantee that you will have an injury-free, blossoming career.
“Yeah, it’s a crazy time in the world of golf, isn’t it?” Stricker told the media at the American Family Insurance Championship, the circuit event he hosts in his home state of Wisconsin.
Then he dived deep:
“I really don’t know what to think about it. We’ve talked about it, [wife] Nicki and I and Mario [his brother-in-law] and my family, we’ve talked about it a lot and if I was put in that position, what would I do kind of thing.
“Morally, I don’t think I could do it, but that’s me talking right now when I’m 55, right? If I was in the prime when I was playing well, got offered a crap load of money like they’re getting offered, would it be different, and that’s hard for me to answer that.
“Personally, morally, right now, I’m not a big fan. It seems, you know, I hate to say it, but it seems a little bit like a member-guest, it really does. It doesn’t feel right There’s no history there, shotgun starts.
“They’re playing for a lot of money and I’m not begrudging the guys that are going over there to play this tour, but for me personally, I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around it.
“I’ve always — I’m not a Hall of Fame guy, I’m not a guy who won any majors or anything like that, but I played and I was able to compare myself, my time on Tour with the greats of the game and what did they do, you know?
“Right now, there isn’t any of that in this LIV tour, it’s all about — it’s all about money. We all need it, right, and to some degree others need it more than others. Everybody’s different.
“Yeah, it seems like it has some momentum. There’s some more guys that have come out, so I guess we’re just going to have to wait and see how it all shakes out.
“I’m happy where I’m at, I’m happy I’m still able to play here.
“The Tour has obviously provided a lot for me and my family over the course of my career, even this tournament here. I owe a lot to the Tour and what we did through the course of my career on Tour.
“I just don’t know if I could throw that all away and go play somewhere else.”
Stricker was asked if he would have cashed in when he was struggling.
He lost his PGA Tour card in the early 2000s but fought back.
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