ERIN, Wis. (WBAY) – The U.S. Open has arrived at Erin Hills in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin native Steve Stricker has had a lot on his plate lately. And coming up next week he will be hosting the Champions Tour event in Madison.
He had to play a lot just to get to this U.S. Open. He qualified down in Memphis last week. Stricker has arrived though and will try to make the most of this golden opportunity in his home state.
“You know, one of the reasons that I wanted to play here was that I knew it would be fun to play here in front of my home crowd,” Stricker said. “I don't get this on a weekly basis. Jordan, Tiger, and Dustin get this every week, right? I get it once every few years, so it is going to be fun. It is our first one here in the state, our first US Open in the state. I don't know how many of these I have left in me, so I thought it would be a good one to be a part of. I'm glad I made it. I'm glad I'm here.”
Stricker made it here after being denied an exemption by the USGA. He had to earn it.
“I think the story here,” Stricker said of his situation. “I think the reason it's a little bigger than normal for me, is that I was denied the invite, and went to work and got it on my own. I think that is Wisconsin people in general, that blue-collar Wisconsin mentality. People work hard here. I did what I had to do to get in.”
He is in it, but now can he win it? Stricker is still searching for his first major triumph.
“It would be a dream really.” Stricker admitted. ”To have that opportunity here would be something really special and cool. But there is such a long ways to go and I have to play very well.”
Stricker's best finishes in the U.S. Open came back in the 1990s. He tied for fifth 1998, and took fifth alone in 1999. He will try to compete well here this week in his home state.