Stricker showing signs of recovery

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A day after fearing his Presidents Cup might be over, Steve Stricker enjoyed a pain-free third round at the Tour Championship.

A day after fearing his Presidents Cup might be over, Steve Stricker enjoyed a pain-free third round at the Tour Championship.

Suffering from lingering neck and shoulder pain, the American World no 5 withdrew from last week’s BMW Championship at Cog Hill after two rounds and then had a cortisone shot on Monday in anticipation of this week’s battle at East Lake.

Two days into the tournament the verdict was not a good one, but something seemed to come right on Saturday, as he swung freely on his way to a one-under-par 69.

“It felt really good today, and I don’t know why,” a visibly happy Stricker told reporters. “I felt a lot stronger today.

“I don’t know if the heat helped, or the (cortisone) shot maybe just had another day to help. And I warmed up a little bit different today, too. I gave myself a lot more time before I went out, and I think that helped some, too.”

Only the day before the pain was still very much a problem, and Stricker was starting to feel that he might not be able to represent the USA in the Presidents Cup in Australia starting November 17.

“It was kind of a little bit of a downer yesterday,” the 44-year-old said. “I just didn’t have a good feeling about yesterday, how I played, how I felt, what was going on there with my arm.

“It was starting to affect how I play. I was doing things that weren’t typical of my game. I started worrying about it (the Presidents Cup) a little bit, but I’ve got a lot of time in between now and then.

“I’ve got seven weeks to rest it, rehab it, or whatever he (the specialist) tells me to do to get it better. We’ve got that time period to get it better.”

Stricker has compteed in three Presidents Cups and two years ago he partnered Tiger Woods to a perfect 4-0 record at Harding Park.

A steely matchplay competitor, his presence would be sorely missed by the American side should he not be able to compete.

“I plan on playing, I really do, unless this thing on Tuesday tells me something different,” said Stricker, who will have an MRI scan next week.

“But I think the rest is going to help. I want to be there, and I plan on being there. With the rest and probably a little bit of rehab, I should be able to do it.”

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