In a lot of ways the world's current number two, Steve Stricker, never really gets the attention that is due to him. The media is too busy talking about Tiger's off-course issues problems, or Phil's groove issues, to take too much notice of a guy who has made the cut in 22 of his last 25 starts, even if those 25 starts include three wins last year and two already this year (if you count the Shark Shootout). Also, with a real hot year he could potentially take the number one spot from Tiger. This year will be great for him and I'll be happy to watch him take home a Green Jacket or Claret Jug (or both).
Here are the top five reasons why Steve Stricker will (or should!) win a major in 2010. Good Luck Steve!!!
Number Five: He's On a Hot Streak
With three wins last year including strong finish with a win at the Deutsche Bank Championship and two wins this year (again, if you count Greg's event), this shows that not only can Steve win, but that he won't choke when he is in contention. The only question I would ask is: can he keep his momentum going? I guess we will have to wait and see.
Number Four: He Keeps His Cool
Stricker keeps his cool in high-pressure situations unlike some other players who throw clubs and swear (cough… Tiger) or make rash decisions that affect their ablility to win a U.S. Open or other tournaments (Phil). Anytime you see Stricker play, you can tell he has himself in check until he wins. Then he starts to cry.
Number Three: Putting Average
As almost any golfer knows you waste more strokes on the putting green than anywhere else. A good example would be Tom Watson last year at the British Open, who only needed to two putt to claim his ninth major and sixth claret jug. In 2009 Stricker ranked first on Tour in putting average with an average of 1.726. That will come in handy when a lot of tournaments are decided by one or two strokes.
Number Two: Approach Average
There are many people known for their short game skills while at the same time its largely forgotten how they ended up in those situations in the first place. For the most part, stricker is able to stay in the fairway (735 out of a possible 1100, good for 57th on Tour in 2009). His saving grace was his approach shot percentage. His tour rank for approach shots 50-125 yards was first at 14'10", which had a direct contribution to his putting average. And, if he can continue to do the same thing he did last year, he'll chalk up some wins and a lot of top tens to go along with them.
Number One: Scoring Average
If he can keep the same scoring average or improve on what he had last year he will be a force to be reckoned with in 2010. Stricker's was ranked second in overall scoring average at 69.29 in 2009. Finishing only behind Tiger Woods. Of course, Tiger only entered 17 tournaments compared with Stricker's 22.