Winning Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker suffers heart scare

Steve Stricker, the winning US captain in last year’s Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits, has spent weeks in hospital since masterminding that success in his home state of Wisconsin.

Captain Steve Stricker celebrates with the Ryder Cup after leading the US to a record 19-9 win over Europe at Whistling Straits last September. Picture: Warren Little/Getty Images.
Captain Steve Stricker celebrates with the Ryder Cup after leading the US to a record 19-9 win over Europe at Whistling Straits last September. Picture: Warren Little/Getty Images.

In an interview with Wisconsin Golf, the 54-year-old has revealed how a bad cough became a condition that led to inflammation around his heart.

As a result of that, Stricker was admitted to hospital in November for 11 days then, after being discharged, found himself being re-admitted following just three days.

“I kind of have a feeling that (the Ryder Cup) could have had a part in it,” said Stricker, who led the Americans to a record-breaking 19-9 victory over Padraig Harrington’s European side in September.

“It’s a letdown, right, after that happens? And then your immune system is probably down. It probably played a role in it somehow.”

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Doctors undertook an MRI just before Christmas and plan to do a second one on 20 January.

“My heart is in rhythm now,” added Stricker, a popular figure on both the PGA Tour and Champions Tour.

“It was jumping in and out of rhythm from Thanksgiving all the way to Christmas Eve. So, knock on wood. And I’m on less medication.

“The inflammation number that they can find out with blood tests is saying that my inflammation is going down. And it must be, because I’m feeling better.

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“I’m walking around a little bit. I’m starting to be a little bit more active and building a tolerance a little bit better. So, things are definitely better.

“But I’m still on no activity. I’m still dealing with inflammation around the heart. I’m down 25 pounds. I lost all my muscle. I look like an 85-year-old man, dude. My skin is hanging.”

A fortnight after the Ryder Cup, Stricker played in the Constellation Furyk & Friends event on the Champions Tour, where he has won seven times in adding to his 12 PGA Tour title triumphs.

According to the Wisconsin Golf story, Stricker’s cardiologist has said it could be six months before he could return to competition. However, it seems a timetable for that happening is unclear at the moment.

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