Steve Stricker, with his brother having undergone a successful liver transplant, will make his 2014 PGA Tour debut at this week’s WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.
After Scott Stricker, the 50-year-old only sibling of the world’s 12th-ranked player, completed a 10-hour surgery on Friday and Saturday morning, Steve decided to commit to the tournament that begins Wednesday at Dove Mountain outside of Tucson, Ariz., according to the Associated Press’ Doug Ferguson.
''It went way better than they expected,'' Stricker told Ferguson Saturday about his brother's operation. ''It's still going to be tough. He got through the hard part.''
Scott was in the hospital awaiting the procedure for six weeks, which Steve said would hinder his recovery. But the brothers’ parents urged him to play in the event he won in 2001.
With Stricker’s good friend and unofficial putting pupil Tiger Woods, Adam Scott, and Phil Mickelson skipping this week’s contest, the 64-player field is without the Nos. 1, 2, and 4 in the rankings. It’s still stacked, however, with FedExCup and Race to Dubai winner Henrik Stenson (No. 3), reigning U.S. Open champion Justin Rose (No. 5), and a regenerated Rory McIlroy (No. 6) headlining the event.
Stricker, who lost to Ian Poulter in last year’s quarterfinals, drew George Coetzee as his first-round playing partner in the one-and-done format. Coetzee qualified for the competition with his win last week at the Joburg Open in South Africa.
Stricker and Coetzee are scheduled to tee off at 8:05 a.m. local time in the Bobby Jones bracket.