Who is Nicki Stricker?
Steve Stricker and his wife / caddy Nicki took part in his first USGA win of his career at the US Senior Open on Sunday on the Notre Dame’s Warren Course.
Team Stricker also had to share the win with their two daughters Bobbi and Izzy, who hadn’t personally won their father for more than seven years since the 2012 Championships in Maui.
So how did the family celebrate this fun occasion, Steve’s second major championship of his career on the PGA Tour Champions?
“We drove home,” laughed Nicki, “we got home on Monday morning around 1:30 am.”
But not before Steve signed all kinds of Notre Dame memorabilia such as soccer helmets, hockey sticks, and hockey helmets for the university and the USGA.
Of course, the “Rudy” fan got a kick from the way the players were allowed to register in the famous Notre Dame football locker room last week.
“It was really cool to be able to experience that and go on the field, kind of go through the tunnel that they go through before every game,” said Nicki.
All in all, the 52-year-old U.S. Ryder Cup captain finished his 19-under-par week with a 1-under-69 and jumped in the driver’s seat of the family car to do the 240-mile hike around Lake Michigan South Bend, Indiana back to Madison, Wisconsin, and listened to a healthy road trip mix on SiriusXM’s “The Highway” channel.
“He asked, when we went up there and talked about it, I was perfectly fine with that,” Nicki said.
“It was tough with the shadows from the trees at times, it’s hard to see movement. It was okay to know it was for that reason, just to try to get another eye on them. I did tries to learn from the week before that it’s not that I have to be 100 percent right, he will still do what he will. “
And what he did for the week at 19 under, a six-shot win, was the best she’d seen her husband play since their second win together at Cog Hill at the 1996 Western Open, when he won at eight.
Nicki heard from her father Dennis Tziani, who has coached Steve for over 30 years, the Sunday after the round.
“He was just very proud and very excited for us,” said Nicki. Tziani lives next to the Strickers and watched the news from beginning to end on Sunday.
So how was the exchange on the last green between player and caddy, man and woman?
“I told him ‘good work’ and that I was proud of him,” said Nicki. “Neither of us really got too much out of us for fear of suffocating right there.”
“I know how much it means to him. I know that he appreciates that I am there and I appreciate that he gives me the opportunity to be there and share that. Not just like a spouse would do, but also on the ropes with him. Being part of it is not a given. “
It was the first major he won with her. During his region’s tradition of winning earlier this season, she couldn’t do it because of Izzy’s school schedule, but said her brother, Mario, was thrilled to help Steve this week.
“Sunday was tough for Steve,” Nicki said, “he had a plan when he went out and stuck to it. Fortunately, I knew where to say things and where not. I think there was a rest for him. “
For a caddy, if your player has a big lead into the finals, keeping the pedal down would be a challenge.
“I think the key was just staying positive and getting out of the way,” laughed Nicki. “He’s just trying to read what’s going on. I decide whether or not to talk about something; get him to talk about something other than what he’s doing or just leave him alone, leave you alone.” him to be with his own thoughts as he must be. “
The win means a lot of things for the next year, especially being in the regular U.S. Open in Winged Foot where he finished T6 in 2006.
He doesn’t have to go through the longest day in golf as he successfully did in 2018 and missed this year.
Nicki has been on the bag for these 36-hole section qualifiers in the past, and that exception was music to her ears.
“It’s absolutely nice to be qualified already,” she said. “It is great.”
And the regular U.S. Open is an event in which Stricker has had good results lately. He hasn’t finished outside of the top 21 in the last six games.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The Land O ‘Lakes are calling this 4th week of July.