LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Steve Stricker is going to the Ryder Cup next month at Gleneagles. There's still an outside chance he'll have his golf clubs.
Stricker is having his worst season in more than 10 years, part of that due to a creaky 47-year-old body, mainly because of his part-time schedule. He is No. 38 in the Ryder Cup standings, so far removed that he agreed to be an assistant under U.S. captain Tom Watson.
But it's not over yet.
Stricker made four birdies on his front nine before having to settle for a 3-under 68. But it put him at 5-under 139, only four shots behind Rory McIlroy. If he were to finish alone in second place, he likely would make the team.
"I would have to do something very special," said Stricker, who has played on the last three American teams. "And I'm obviously going to try to do the best I can this weekend. But it really hasn't crossed my mind as a player just because I haven't played that much. I haven't played all that well this year and I'm just trying to have a good tournament here this week — try to finish the year off on a positive note."
Watson wasn't so quick to rule him out.
"Strick has got game. If he should win here, there would be no question that he would be on the team rather than a vice captain — no question," Watson said.
Watson said he hasn't ruled him out even if he doesn't qualify. There are two FedEx Cup playoff events before he makes his three captain's picks on Sept. 2.
"That's the magic date for me," Watson said. "If he runs the tables and happens to win and things like that, I'd be a fool not to consider him."
BIRTHDAY BOY: Kenny Perry achieved his goal. He gets to play golf Sunday in perhaps his final major, in his home state of Kentucky, on his 54th birthday.
Perry played two PGAs and a Ryder Cup at Valhalla. He was given a special invitation this year, and he easily made the cut with a 2-under 69 on Friday. Perry was in the middle of the pack at 1-under 212, eight shots out of the lead.
"I don't know if I'm in good position, but I made the cut and get to play on the weekend, which is a treat," Perry said. "That's all I tried to do this week was to play well enough to get to the weekend."
Perry figured the cut would be around even par, and he was thankful to finish on No. 9 in his second round. The par-5 18th is an easier hole — but not to Perry.
He made bogey on the 18th hole in regulation and in a playoff to lose the 1996 PGA Championship.
Perry won last week in Minnesota for his second Champions Tour victory of the year and seventh overall on the 50-and-over tour. He won 14 times on the PGA Tour.
SENIOR MOMENTS: Kenny Perry wasn't the only Champions Tour player to make the cut.
Colin Montgomerie will be playing golf — instead of doing broadcast work — at a major on the weekend for the first time since the 2010 British Open at St. Andrews. Montgomerie qualified by winning the Senior PGA Championship (he also won the U.S. Senior Open this year).
He had a 72 on Friday to make the cut with one shot to spare. The last time he played the weekend of a PGA Championship was in 2007 at Southern Hills.
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