What can Steve Stricker possibly do for a PGA Tour Champions encore?

Feb, 2024

Last year, 56-year-old Steve Stricker turned in a season for the ages (and the aged) on the PGA Tour Champions in 2023, winning six tournaments, including three majors, notching five runner-up finishes and placing inside the top-10 in all but one of his 16 starts.

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Stricker set Champions season records for both lowest scoring average (67.54) and money earned ($3.9 million). Last June, he also broke the PGA mark with his 55th consecutive round of golf at par or better on a sanctioned tour, topping a guy named Tiger Woods.

“You know, every tournament that I showed up at I had a feeling that I could get in there and have an opportunity to win,” Stricker said Thursday at the Chubb Classic in Naples. “Some of them I did; some I got close. But it was, it’s a great feeling.

“When you’re playing the game of golf, it’s a silly game where you can get on those runs and maintain them and then there are times you’re like what the heck happened and why can’t I get it in the hole,” Stricker said. “Got to ride it out and not think too much about them and keep it rolling. That’s what I did for the most part of the year.”

This weekend, the former part-time Naples and Quail West Golf & Country Club member returns to familiar territory. Stricker won the 2021 Chubb Classic at Tiburon Golf Club by one shot over Alex Cejka and Robert Karlsson and last year finished tied for second behind back-to-back Chubb champion Bernhard Langer.

“We took up residence here for a few years and it’s a nice spot, nice people,” Stricker said. “Beach is right around the corner.

“Tiburón has been a place we’ve played quite a few times over the years, so it’s always fun to come back and play and participate here.”

Stricker opened the 2024 Champions season with a third-place finish at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai, five shots behind tournament champion Steven Alker, the 2022 Champions Player of the Year.

 Steve Stricker of the United States poses with the trophy after winning the Regions Tradition at Greystone Golf and Country Club on May 14, 2023, in Birmingham, Alabama. (Photo by Alex Slitz/Getty Images)

“He hit the shots, made the putts when he had to, and neither one of us – you know, I guess we gave him a little run for a little while, but he pulled away there at the end,” Stricker said of Alker. “Yeah, he’s in shape, which means a lot out here. He’s got a good game and he putts it well. So pull all that together out here, that’s going to be a tough guy to beat.”

So too is Stricker, who said he’s looking forward to trying to build upon his amazingly successful 2023 season.

“I’m excited to play,” he said. “I’m excited to continue to work on my game to try to keep that ball rolling like I had it going last year, to try to continue that feel.

“I still have a lot of drive and motivation to prepare and get ready.”

Sister tandem wins First Tee Champions Challenge

Sophia and Stella Travlos of the First Tee – Metropolitan New York chapter captured the 17th annual Golf to Paradise – First Tee Champions Challenge, played Monday through Wednesday as part of the Chubb Classic.

The 16-year-old Travlos sisters finished with a score of 105, five shots better than Marty Burns and John Diamond of Philadelphia. Braden Miller and Harrison White, representing First Tee of Naples/Collier in the competition, shot 115 to place fourth.

Five First Tee chapters participated in the event, playing three different formats on three separate courses.  The two-person teams played a four-ball format at Tiburón Golf Club on Monday, a scramble at Wyndemere Golf Club on Tuesday, and a modified alternate shot at The TwinEagles Club on Wednesday.

The young golfers also participated in a special youth clinic with Champions player Notah Begay III and did a volunteer clean-up service at the S.S. Jolley Bridge near Marco Island.


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