Saturday, February 15
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Steve Stricker said Saturday he is going to the Match Play Championship now that his brother had a successful liver transplant.
Stricker was leaning against playing next week in Arizona because his 50-year-old brother, Scott Stricker, was waiting on a transplant in Wisconsin. He said he has been practicing, but his mind was not on golf and that it would be a "long shot" if something didn't happen soon.
Later that evening on Thursday, while Stricker was at a Wisconsin basketball game, he received a call that a liver was available. His brother had a 10-hour surgery the next day that went into Saturday morning.
"It went way better than they expected," Stricker said. "It's still going to be tough. He got through the hard part."
Stricker said his only sibling had been in the hospital since Jan. 6, and the six-week stay was going to make the recovery that much more difficult. But all the signs were positive in the hours after transplant surgery.
He said his parents were staying at his home to look after his brother, and that they encouraged him to play.
"It's been crazy, but I'm going to come play since he's doing so well," Stricker said.
Stricker is No. 12 in the world ranking and a past champion of this World Golf Championship when it was held in Australia in 2001. A year ago, he lost to Ian Poulter in the quarterfinals.
The Accenture Match Play Championship starts Wednesday at Dove Mountain in Marana, Ariz., just north of Tucson.
Tiger Woods, Adam Scott and Phil Mickelson have already said they were not playing this year. That leaves Kiradech Aphibarnrat at No. 67 in the world as the last man in the field, with Brooks Koepka as the first alternate.
The brackets will be determined by the Official World Golf Ranking published after this week.