Streb hopes to follow in Walker's footsteps
Another first-time winner and early FedExCup leader, could Robert Streb be on the brink of stardom?
November 12, 2014
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
- Robert Streb celebrates with his wife Maggie after earning his first TOUR title at Sea Island. (Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
By this time last November Jimmy Walker had earned well north of a million dollars following a win, tie for 12th and a sixth-place finish in three of his first four starts in the new wrap-around season on the PGA TOUR.
More importantly, Walker was atop the FedExCup standings, a position he would hold for every week except one until the following August on his way to becoming a household name, making his first Ryder Cup team and having a career year.
Enter Robert Streb.
In four starts this fall he has three top 10s, including a win. Going into this week’s OHL Classic at Mayakoba, the final event before a two-month “break” in the schedule, he has earned well north of a million dollars, secured his first trips to Kapalua and the Masters Tournament and leads the FedExCup standings.
“It takes a lot of pressure off later in the year,” said the 27-year-old Streb, who is in his third season on TOUR. “It’s not the end of the world if you have a bad few weeks. It makes life a lot easier.
“I’ve never gotten to pick my schedule; that’s going to be a lot different. You don’t have to think ‘I have to play great’ every week and don’t have to sit through re-shuffles.”
It would be a stretch to suggest that Streb will have the same kind of success that Walker had -- Walker’s resume and game was more polished then than Streb’s is at the moment. But Streb hasn’t gotten to where he is without effort and talent, having worked his way up from two years on the NGA Tour, another on the Web.com Tour and finally the PGA TOUR.
There aren’t a lot of holes in Streb’s game right now, either. This season he is averaging more than 300 yards off the tee, hitting nearly 73 percent of his greens, is ranked 31st in strokes gained: putting and ninth in scoring average at 69.337.
In his victory at The McGladrey Classic, Streb shot a final-round 63 to erase a five-stroke deficit before emerging from a three-man playoff with a birdie on the second extra hole.
“It raises your confidence, to know you can (win),” he said.
How he did it was just as important. Three days after opening the tournament with a snap-hook into a bush for a double bogey and worrying about just making the cut, Streb stiffed an 8-iron on the second playoff hole to four feet to set up the clinching birdie.
Robert Streb wins The McGladrey Classic
A couple of weeks later he was still surprised that he had won and admitted to being the most nervous he has ever been over a four-footer. But he is also relaxed going into this week’s event in Mexico, where he can pad his FedExCup lead over Sang-Mon Bae with another good performance.
“I was hoping of to get off to good start so I could take some weeks off,” Streb said.
Now he can on what has become an increasingly busy calendar. He’ll also get to decide when and where he plays, something that’s not always the case for a young player on TOUR.
There’s also some figuring out to do for Streb, who is in uncharted territory in that regard.
“I want to go back to the tournaments that I have played well,” he said.
He doesn’t mind a few new ones, either, notably the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and the Masters Tournament, the latter of which has always been a bucket list item (along with attending an Oklahoma-Texas football game) for the native Oklahoman who played his college golf at Kansas State.
He can at least check one of those off the list.
“Getting to play in the Masters is pretty cool,” he said. “I plan to sneak in a practice round or two before the tournament. The first time I will want to be checking everything out. I’m pretty excited.”
And in a position to have what could be an even better year in 2015.