By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
NORTON, Mass. -- Steve Stricker decided to cut his schedule back dramatically this season to spend more time with his family.
In fact, at one point earlier in the year, Stricker indicated the PGA Championship might be his last event. But he is playing this week at the Deutsche Bank Championship, the second leg of the FedExCup Playoffs, with one very specific goal in mind.
Stricker wants to make the U.S. Presidents Cup team for the fifth time. And he dropped out of the top 10 -- who will automatically qualify for Fred Couples' team at the end of the Deutsche Bank Championship -- while he was idle last week.
Stricker likely needs to finish in a two-way tie for 11th or better on Monday to have a shot to return to the top 10. If he doesn't automatically qualify, though, he would certainly be a consideration when Couples makes his two picks on Wednesday.
Stricker, whose quest begins at 12:58 p.m. today when he tees off with Charl Schwartzel and Jimmy Walker at TPC Boston, says his position is definitely in the back of his mind.
"But it's something you can't try to force," he said. "You got to just try to let it happen and hopefully have a chance and play well."
The rest of Stricker's 20013 schedule is up in the air. If he makes the Presidents Cup team, he'll play in the BMW Championship in two weeks. Otherwise, he's on the fence.
The BMW Championship will be played at Conway Farms in Chicago, which is relatively close to Stricker's Madison, Wisc., home. But his 14-year-old daughter Bobbi is the varsity tennis team at her high school and she'll have matches that week. Plus, bow hunting season looms large on the horizon.
"If I don't make the team then I don't know," Stricker said. "I'll see how I feel about playing next week."
Regardless of what happens this week, Stricker, who famously built a practice facility where he can hit balls in the snow during the winter, is happy with his abbreviated schedule. So much so, in fact, he plans on doing it again next season.
"It's been a great balance for me this year," he said with a smile. "I've been home more. I've spent more time with my wife. Actually Nicki has come with me on the road, just herself and I, at a few events which has been a lot of fun. ...
"I'm taking 2-3 weeks off at a time so I get away from the game and I can spend more time with them instead of practing at home even. So it's been a lot of fun. I'm glad I did it. I'm glad I pulled the trigger on it early in the year and decided to do it."