January 4 2013
By Ann Miller, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
KAPALUA, Hawaii -- After winning the Hyundai Tournament of Champions last year, Steve Stricker told the story about his daughter winning a junior event at their home course in Wisconsin several years ago.
"She won the three-hole tournament," Stricker recalled, "and she's like, 'Mom, do we get to go to Hawaii now?' "
Her father always does. Stricker turns 46 next month. Of his 12 wins, all but four have come since 2009. Last year's win was his fourth straight top 10 at Kapalua's Plantation Course, where the PGA TOUR kicks off its 2013 season Friday.
Before that three-shot victory over Martin Laird, Stricker was zero-for-Hawaii. In 17 starts in the state, he had nine Top-10 finishes — six at the Sony Open — and won more than $3 million. His 74 on the final day at Waialae Country Club last year was only the fourth time in 50 rounds he did not break par at Sony.
But he had never actually won.
Now he has and, coincidentally or not, he is planning to cut his playing schedule "in half" this year. He hopes to play just "10 or 12" tournaments and spend more time with his family and a new foundation dedicated to kids and co-founded with Madison-based American Family Insurance.
He cleared the cutback with his sponsors in November.
"This is a commitment for me to do this from here on out," Stricker said. "You know, I'm not quitting. I don't want to quit. I still enjoy the game. I still enjoy competing. It's just time for me to be home a little bit more and maybe focus all my attention to this foundation and do that a little bit more.
"I still plan on playing this year, maybe not the British, but the majors, the World Golf Championships events and I'll throw in a few other ones here or there to get ready for those. That's the plan."
The idea is to take the focus off golf -- "a pretty selfish sport," he said -- and put it on his wife and daughters, and the new foundation. Wife Nicki used to carry his bag. Bobbi Maria is 14 now, and interested in becoming a better golfer. Isabella is 6.
Stricker tees off last today, with Brandt Snedecker. Rickie Fowler hits the first drive of the 2013 season at 10:35 a.m. Hawaii time (3:35 p.m. ET).