By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
NORTON, Mass.-- Monday at the Deutsche Bank Championship was a good-news, not-quite-as-good-news kind of day for Steve Stricker.
Yes, he played his way into the 10 automatic qualifiers for the U.S. Presidents Cup, which Stricker said all along was his primary goal. In fact, he moved from No. 11 all the way to seventh.
"I had texted (U.S. Captain) Freddie (Couples) earlier in the week, I didn't want one of his spots as a pick, I wanted to make the team on my own," Stricker said. "So I had great incentive, great motivation to play well this week. I'm excited to be part of another team and represent the USA at Muirfield.
But Stricker played so well at TPC Boston that he also had a chance to win the Deutsche Bank Championship for the second time in five years. So there was a hint of disappointment when he finished two strokes behind Henrik Stenson.
"I had some real opportunities today," Stricker said. " I hit some great shots on the back nine all the way around and had some makeable putts that I just couldn't get in there. I hit a lot of good putts, hit a lot of edges. SO when I look back ... there's a couple of things there that I didn't do, which I'll look back and be a little frustrated on and disappointed that I wasn't able to pull it off."
Even so, the runner-up finish was Stricker's third in just 11 starts of his abbreviated season. He's ranked eighth in the FedExCup and says he plans to play in the BMW Championship two weeks from now. He's not sure about the season-ending TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola, though.
All year Stricker has planned to be in Colorado that week, bow-hunting for elk with five of his buddies.
"I've never done it before and it's been on my to do list to try to do and this was going to be the year to do it," he said.
In fact, the trip has already been pushed back once so he could play in Chicago and then leave the following Monday. Now Stricker will wait and see how he plays at Conway Farms -- but he'd have to move well up the FedExCup standings to even consider abandoning the boys.
"I'd like to do both," Stricker said. "But it's not possible. ... I got a text message from one of my buddies who is going on the trip. Actually it was an e-mail and he's like, remember, you're elk hunting.
"But he knows if I'm up in there and have a chance to win or top 10 going into Atlanta, I'll probably go into Atlanta."