CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Steve Stricker had to clean out his locker and head home early after missing the cut in the PGA Championship at Hazeltine. That was in 2009. And it was on his mind Friday at Quail Hollow when he was outside the cut line and running out of holes.
“It was on my mind today to play this weekend,” he said. “I wanted to be around this weekend.”
He followed with two 3-woods that led to easy birdies, and Stricker shot a 1-under 70 that will allow him to make the cut at 3-over 145. That means Stricker, 50, has now gone eight consecutive years without missing a cut in the majors.
His 3-wood off the 14th tee reached the green about 18 feet away. He missed the eagle putt. On the par-5 15th hole, Stricker drilled a 3-wood up the hill and onto the green about 20 feet away. He missed that eagle putt, too.
Stricker had another birdie with a 7-iron into the par-3 17th, and then dropped a shot on the 18th from the bunker.
His wife, Nicki, is caddying for him at Quail Hollow. Both daughters have been traveling with him this summer, and Stricker used the British Open for a father-daughter trip with Bobbi, who starts her sophomore year at the University of Wisconsin in a few weeks.
“I’m enjoying it,” he said. “Nicki and the kids have been out with me practically every week, especially this summer and even some during school. We took our youngest out of school, home schooled her on the road when we were out. So I’ve played a lot more.”
Lefty exits early
Phil Mickelson managed a quick smile and a tip of the cap to the crowd after his second round. There was no denying the frustration on his face.
“Atrocious,” Mickelson said a few minutes later, describing his play this week and at the British Open last month, where he also failed to make the cut.
The 47-year-old Hall of Famer finished 11 over through 36 holes and missed the cut for the first time since 1995.
The realization the streak was ending set in after an opening-round 79 — his worst round at the PGA Championship.
“I’m having a tough time visualizing the shot,” he said. “I’m having a tough time controlling my thoughts and not letting it wander to what I don’t want to happen.
Run for it
Jason Day, Dustin Johnson and Henrik Stenson spent the last two holes running to their ball after striking it quickly, finishing before darkness pulled the players off the course.
The group did finish the round as darkness left it almost impossible to see their balls on the green.