Steve Stricker’s first major championship was a long time coming, put off even further by a rain-soaked Regions Tradition that required the final round to be played on Monday in Birmingham, Alabama.
In his second season the PGA Tour Champions, Stricker fired a final round 4-under par 68 to win by six shots over Billy Andrade, Paul Goydos and David Toms.
“This is special,” Stricker said after tapping in for par on the 72nd hole. “I get emotional. I hate this part. I never was able to win one of these on the regular tour. It means a lot. We work hard, we try to do the right things and work on my game, and you come out here hoping to play well and hoping to win. But, you know, it’s tough out here.
“These guys play well and I feel more pressure out here at times to perform than I do on the regular tour, and I think that’s just because I put a lot of expectations on myself out here.”
Despite winning 12 times on the PGA Tour, the Wisconsin native was never able to get across the finish line in the game’s biggest events. His closest call came in the 1998 PGA Championship when he finished runner-up to Vijay Singh at Sahalee Country Club.
The win was Stricker’s fourth on the over-50 circuit in just 18 starts, but his first major championship. At 52 years of age, Stricker still has enough gas in the tank to split his time between the PGA Tour and the PGA Tour Champions.
He’s in the field later this week at Bethpage Black for the PGA Championship. He will tee off at 1:05 p.m. on Thursday off of No. 10 alongside Brian Harman and Patrick Cantlay.