ERIN, Wisconsin | Steve Stricker didn’t get the automatic exemption he wanted. The Edgerton native had to play his way into the 117th U.S. Open. Playing in this year’s major at Erin Hills was paramount for Stricker. After all this is the first time in the 117 years of the U.S. Open it’s being playing in the state of Wisconsin. Stricker would like nothing more that to be near the top of the leader board during Sunday’s final round.
“It’s very exciting to be here,” said Stricker during Tuesday’s news conference. “I wasn’t sure if I was going to be here but I’m very excited and relieved. I worked hard to get here. Put a lot of extra effort in playing in different tournaments to get here so all in all it worked out. It should be a great event. I go into every tournament expecting to play well so this is really no different. I’m going in trying to compete best I can and hopefully get in contention. That’s my goal is to contend and see what happens.”
The 50-year old Stricker has played well lately. He won a 36-hole sectional qualifier in Memphis, Tennessee to make it into the U.S. Open field. He’s playing in his 20th U.S. Open. And the 12-time PGA Tour winner is certainly a crowd favorite. He received a loud ovation from the Erin Hills crowd during Tuesday’s practice rounds.
“It’s overwhelming at times the number of people that are coming up to me wishing me luck. I get a pretty nice round of applause just during the practice round so it was pretty cool!”
Stricker is scheduled to tee off at 2:20 central time on Thursday July 15th.