If you ask Bobbi Stricker whom she prefers as a caddie – her mom, her dad or her sister – she’ll pick her mother every time. That may be surprising, considering her father is 12-time PGA Tour winner and the United States Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker, but sometimes it’s true that mother knows best.
“He obviously is a player and it’s sometimes too much information and I don't really work like that,” the 22-year-old Bobbi (above) said. “I have so much information going on in my own head that you giving me more makes me more frazzled. I’m not trying to throw my dad under the bus, but just saying nothing is fine. (Mom) really helpful because she plays, too, and she’s very smart and knows what’s stupid and what’s not.”
So, during the final round of the Wisconsin Women’s Amateur Championship when Bobbi Stricker was not feeling as confident as the day before, it was her mother, Nicki, who kept her emotions in check on the way to victory. The daughter fought her way back to a tie with a must-make birdie putt on the 17th hole that turned around her mindset, propelling her to a playoff with her former teammate at the University of Wisconsin, Emily Lauterbach.
“I was really uncomfortable all day,” Stricker said. “I wasn’t making anything and the putts that I did see go in the first day weren’t going in the second day, so that was really frustrating. I got frazzled a few times out there. My mom helped a lot with that. She was trying to keep my mind in check.
“We kind of had a change of mindset on 17 of that second day where I knew I was down one shot, and I knew I had to do something because I knew Emily wasn’t going to give it to me at all.”
"It’s an honor and it's a blessing to be able to put my name on the trophy, especially after I maybe leave this amateur status behind.”
Even with that change of mindset, after a mentally exhausting day with the flatstick, Stricker still wasn’t sure of herself standing over her final birdie putt, just hoping to lag it close to extend the playoff.
“I didn’t think it was going to go in,” she said. “I was trying to get it inside Emily. She had like a 1½-footer for par. I was literally just aiming for her mark, which was below the hole. I wasn’t thinking it was going to go in so maybe that’s what helped me.”
Having won only two other tournaments previously, Stricker’s victory in the Wisconsin Women’s Amateur was particularly momentous. She didn’t start consistently playing competitive golf until after high school, choosing instead to focus more on tennis, and only really began to tee it up in tournament play the summer before her freshman year as a Badger.
It’s an affirming win and tells the recent Wisconsin graduate that she’s heading in the right direction with her game. With the Symetra Tour Qualifying School on the horizon, the timing is right for Stricker to feel self-assured on the golf course.
“It validates the offseason work, the practice, and where I want to go in golf,” she said. “It’s one of those things where it feels like I’m on the right track when you see outcomes like that. It’s an honor and it's a blessing to be able to put my name on the trophy, especially after I maybe leave this amateur status behind.”
It also helps that her father has provided an excellent example for her, both on and off the course during his exceptional career. She has gained perspective from his ability in the game, and the wealth of experience and knowledge he possesses can come in handy as she looks to get her start as a pro golfer.
“He goes about it in such a cool way that it could make me cry,” Stricker said. “He’s just an awesome human and I can’t say enough about how humble, caring, and kind he is. … It’s been really cool.”
But, while the victory is exciting and a future in the professional ranks is nigh, Stricker has other ventures on her plate at the moment that are keeping her busy in the game.
She is one of two players participating in an internship through the Wisconsin State Golf Association that allows them to play some of the best courses in the state. It provides the players a behind-the-scenes look at those facilities, which they share on social media. The association refers to the program as “America’s No. 1 golf internship.”
Stricker has played eight courses thus far, including U.S. Open venue Erin Hills. There’s a clear favorite for her despite the laundry list of impeccable tracks on her docket.
“I think Sand Valley has been my favorite so far,” she said. “The place and both golf courses are really cool. I also played the Sandbox, which is this 17-hole, par-3 course, and it was probably my favorite thing. My family came and we all played there. That was probably my favorite thing that I’ve done so far.”
Having graduated with a degree in journalism, the photography and social media requirements of the internship are right up the young intern’s alley. She mostly posts about the gig through Instagram stories and her profile shows a keen eye for still imagery. Her creative prowess online suggests she might influence her father with his social media channels.
“I kind of run his Instagram, but he is on Twitter all by himself and I think he's so good at it,” Stricker said. “I don't even know if my dad knew he had the Instagram app on his phone, but he’s been watching reels on Instagram, so he knows how to work it. But I post for him.”
However, with her mind on qualifying for the Symetra Tour, she isn’t sure just yet if she’ll put her formal education to use. Originally the plan was to try Q-school. If she didn’t earn status, she would move in a different direction. But now, Stricker is more curious to see how her game compares.
“I’m not looking for a job in journalism,” she said. “My job I would say right now is golf. Depending on how I do at Q-school will determine what I do moving forward. I don’t know if I want to just give it the one-and-done kind of thing. I really just want to see how I stack up.”
Regardless of how she plays in August, Bobbi Stricker is set to make waves in the golf world. She appears right on track, no matter the path she chooses.