Continuing the Stricker Golf Legacy

1/13 CGC Staff

Photos: @izzistricker instagram

In the second installment of our series of articles featuring future NCAA athletes who are the offspring or tour pros, we introduce Izzi Sticker, a University of Wisconsin signee and daughter of Steve Stricker, 12-time PGA and 17-time PGA Champions Tour winner, as well as a former Ryder Cup Captain. The elder Stricker is also one of the most well-liked professional golfers in recent years. Golf runs far in the Stricker blood, as Izzi's mother and sister also played at Wisconsin, and her grandfather played on the PGA Tour. We thank Izzi for giving us some insight on what it is like to grow up with a famous father, their golfing relationship, her golf history, great experiences along the way, and how cool being inside the ropes at the Ryder Cup really is.

CGC: At what age did you start becoming interested in golf, and when was your first tournament?

Izzi: I wasn’t super interested in golf until freshman year of highschool. I played in my first junior tournament at the age of 12. I would play and practice here and there but it was never a goal of mine to be really good until highschool. I started to take things more seriously and began using the resources around me to improve my game.

CGC: Since your parents have experience at all levels of golf, did they have a different philosophy than other parents when it came to you playing in tournaments? For example, did they hold you back from competing too much top soon or did they let you determine when and where to play, etc.?

Izzi: My parents were very laid back when it came to golf. They never pressured me to play or practice and let me find the passion on my own. Watching both my parents and my sister be successful really made me want to play more and work at it hard like they did. I found the game fun at a young age, and as I got older my parents became more involved with teaching and helping me improve. To answer the question, my dad would help and get involved only when I asked him to, which made me enjoy the game a lot more.

CGC: Has your dad been your coach throughout your golf career? If so, is father/daughter coaching relationship different when you are not on the golf course?

Izzi: Yes, I really haven’t worked with anyone else my entire career. It can get heated at times, but we are both really good communicators on and off the golf course so our relationship still remains strong. I would say that golf has brought us closer in a way because I am involved and pay attention to his career, and he’s the same with mine. It’s something that my entire family shares together and we all enjoy being around each other.

CGC: Have you felt higher expectations and pressure from other people because your dad has played on tour?

Izzi: I would say at a young age I struggled with other people’s judgment and having my last name when it comes to golf. It would always be an added pressure when I competed and played with others. Although now I’ve gotten better and can handle the pressure I put on myself. I’ve started to look past it and focus on my game instead of what other people may be thinking of me.

CGC: What is the best piece of advice your dad has given you about the game?

Izzi: The best piece of advice I’ve gotten from my dad would be anything related to putting. He’s taught me how to read the greens, the correct tempo when putting, and how to practice putting. He’s arguably the best putter in the world, so I take everything he says to heart and try to incorporate it all when I practice and play.

CGC: You've probably gotten to play some fantastic courses with your dad. What are your top two favorites?

Izzi: The coolest one was TPC Scottsdale when the 16th green still had all of the grandstands up, and Bay Hill when the tournament was coming up. Even though I go to some amazing places like Augusta, Pebble, and Whistling Straits, I never got to play them. But I still have some cool opportunities to play some great courses around the country.

CGC: What is best experience you've had at a tournament watching your dad play?

Izzi: Definitely caddying for him at the Senior PGA. It was the closest I’ve been to watching him play in competition. I heard all of his thoughts, watched his game up close, and saw what it took to win a Senior major championship. It was such a cool shared moment.

CGC: What are the most important things you've learned by watching your dad play?

Izzi: I think watching him at the PGA taught me a lot of things mentally. He didn’t hit every shot perfect, and there was a lot of back and forth with other players on the leaderboard. If he had a bad hole or a bad stretch of holes, he would always recover and bounce back. I could tell he would never doubt himself, would never give up, and would talk about what went wrong out loud to me so he could get it off of his chest. He would use the mistake he made as motivation.

CGC: What led you to choose University of Wisconsin, and did you consider other schools?

Izzi: Wisconsin has always been my dream school, even outside of the golf team. The campus, the academics, and the extracurriculars are top tier and hearing from my sister made me gravitate towards the school even more. Right away I did consider other schools just keeping my options open, but in the back of my mind I always knew it would be Wisconsin. I love the coaching staff, and my sister had such a great experience as well. I also wanted to carry on the tradition from when my grandpa was the coach, my uncle and mom playing on the golf teams along with my sister.

CGC: What are your short and long term goals with golf, and do you see yourself trying to play professionally? If not, what profession are you most interested in?

Izzi: I have thought about playing after college recently because I’ve been watching my sister continue her career in golf. I see all the hard work that has to be put in to play professionally from my dad and sister and I would like to do the same. Although, right now I am really focused on my first year at Wisconsin and trying to qualify for as many tournaments as I can.

CGC: Please tell us about the experience playing with your dad in the PNC Championship. Were you nervous playing with Tiger Woods and Nelly Korda?

Izzi: Playing with Nelly and Tiger was definitely the coolest experience of my life. Having my entire family with me as well was super special. I was extremely nervous on the first tee for both pairings, but once I got out there I wasn’t nervous at all and my dad and I had so much fun just playing golf. I got to talk to both of them a little bit, and there was really no pressure both days. That event is so cool for all the families to come together in a real tournament setting, and there is still a lot of competition.

CGC: When your dad captained the Ryder Cup, were you able to see any behind the scenes action/preparation? What players from that group were you most motivated by and what is one takeaway from that week that will help you with your golf game or even in life?

Izzi: My sister and I were super involved in the Ryder Cup, and my parents made sure we felt included the entire week. Watching the work my dad and the entire team put in the whole week and months before and seeing it pay off was so cool. I think the coolest player to watch that week was Bryson because of how far he could hit it and I had never watched him in person prior to that week. All of those guys were so nice to my sister and I and being able to watch the Europe USA rivalry up close was so much fun,