So Steve Stricker is now number one in the Fed Ex Standings.


You want some of this, Tiger? (Image: atlas 138/Flickr)

Two tournaments left, and old Stricker is ahead of you-know-who.

In sum, you have one of the most popular athletes in all of sports, one of the most widely-recognized names in the civilized world, chasing after the quiet and steady Steve Stricker—a seven-time winner on Tour (three of which have occurred this year).

For years, Stricker was just one of the names you heard if you followed golf. He played in a lot of tournaments, usually played pretty well, but he wasn’t winning much.

So he stayed out of the news—a D.A. Weibring of sorts. He won twice in 1996 (Kemper and Western Opens), once in 2001 (Accenture Match Play) and once in 2007 (The Barclays), before tearing the Tour up this season.

But the last few years Stricker has become one of the best players on Tour—and in the world. He’s just an average Joe professional. He looks the part. He has a nice “dead-handed” swing, according to Johnny Miller. He seems like a guy who would be easy to sit down and discuss politics and religion over a beverage.

But he’s probably not a “meter mover” in the golf sense. In other words, I don’t think the golf ratings guys—whoever they might be—are flipping their lids over Stricker being in the top spot. They would much prefer Mickelson and Woods, Garcia and Woods, or Els and Woods. But Stricker?

Therein lies the beauty of golf. You earn your way. No contracts here. No guaranteed money. Steve Stricker busted it to get to this point, and now he’s just two tournaments away from winning 10 million, earning PGA Tour Player of the Year, and telling Tiger to keep practicing with the flatstick.

You’ve got to love golf.