Steve Stricker would undoubtedly be a crowd favorite at the 2017 U.S. Open, hosted this year in Stricker's native Wisconsin. One small issue: Stricker's currently not in the tournament field.
According to the AP, the 50-year-old applied for a special exemption into this summer's event at Erin Hills, which is about an hour from his home in Madison. Stricker believed the request was a long shot, but was prompted by his agent to appeal. Turns out his intuition was correct.
"I wrote them quite a while back and asked for one, and they politely called me and declined," Stricker said.
The USGA has granted such privileges in the past -- Retief Goosen received one just last year -- but these instances are rare.
Stricker, who's split time between the Champions and PGA Tour this season, will now have to enter sectional qualifying to make it to Erin Hills. He could also rise into the top 60 world rankings, not totally out of the question given his current standing at No. 94.
Stricker has won 12 times on tour, the last victory coming at the 2012 Hyundai Tournament of Champions. He is the U.S. captain for this year's Presidents Cup at Liberty National.