Defending champions Steve Stricker and Sean O’Hair are back at the QBE Shootout in Naples.
Greg Hardwig, email@example.com; 239-263-4767
Steve Stricker left it up to the final minute Monday before deciding to play in Naples or Los Angeles. Actually, past that.
The part-time Naples resident had committed to both the PGA Tour Champions’ Chubb Classic at Lely Resort and the PGA Tour’s Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club at Friday’s 5 p.m. deadline.
He remained listed in both fields over the weekend, and through mid-afternoon Monday, even technically past the 3 p.m. ET deadline to make a decision.
Ultimately, Stricker decided to come to his new home and play in the Chubb Classic.
Stricker, who turns 52 on Feb. 23, is using his career money list exemption to play more on the PGA Tour this year, but so far he’s tied for 73rd and missed the cut twice in his three completed events. He missed the cut Saturday at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am by a stroke. Stricker played with country music singer Toby Keith in the pro-am.
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Last year, Stricker contended in Naples before faltering down the stretch. Joe Durant birdied the final two holes to win by four.
Stricker played in 12 PGA Tour events in the 2017-18 season, making nine cuts with a best finish a tie for 12th at the Valspar Championship near Tampa.
Stricker was dominant in seven starts on the PGA Tour Champions, winning three times, finishing second twice and third once. He was in the top 10 in all seven.
Stricker has joined some of the top clubs, such as Calusa Pines and Naples National, in Naples, and been a regular in the PGA Tour’s QBE Shootout, Greg Norman’s two-person team event held in December at Tiburón Golf Club. He’s played in the last 11 Shootouts, winning with Sean O’Hair in 2017 and Jerry Kelly in 2009.
Four other golfers eligible for either the Chubb or the Genesis Open picked Riviera. Two-time champion Fred Couples got in on an exemption, and former champion Kenny Perry, Davis Love III and Vijay Singh also are in the field there. Jerry Kelly is playing in Naples after missing the cut at Pebble Beach; Love and Perry also missed the cut.
Stricker’s decision leaves Fort Myers native Tommy Tolles as the first alternate. Tolles can either get in the field if someone withdraws before Friday’s first round or by earning a spot in Tuesday’s qualifier at The Forest in Fort Myers.
When: Wednesday-Sunday, Feb. 17
Where: The Classics Country Club at Lely Resort