Ryder Cup Captain Recovering After Serious Illness

Steve Stricker spent weeks in hospital following Team USA's Ryder Cup triumph

Ryder Cup Captain Recovering After Serious Illness
(Image credit: GETTY)

The comedown from Team USA’s historic 19-9 victory at last year’s Ryder Cup was a particularly brutal one for captain Steve Stricker.

After guiding his side to a record-breaking success at Whistling Straits, the hometown hero was struck down with heart inflammation that baffled doctors initially and left him hospitalised on and off for weeks. Once Covid-19 was ruled out, that’s when “s*** hit the fan,” Stricker told Wisconsin Golf.

“I went into the hospital about two weeks before Thanksgiving and they kept me in there,” Stricker said. “My liver numbers started getting worse. My white blood cell count was jacked up really high. I was fighting something, but they couldn’t find out what it was. 

“My liver was going downhill. I got jaundice. I was yellow and peeing out Pepsi-coloured pee. I was pretty sick, from what they tell me.”

He was discharged from UW Health University Hospital with a course of antibiotics the day before Thanksgiving only to return three days later after taking ill again following a hunting trip.

“I came home from hunting one night and I was like, ‘I don’t feel good. My side hurts. I just don’t feel right.’ I went back to my primary and got amoxicillin, a heavier antibiotic. And I think I had a reaction to that. My throat started to close up, my lips got puffy, my glands got puffy, my tongue got puffy. It was like an allergic reaction.

“A couple of times I was like, ‘What is going on?’ Everything is going the wrong way. It wasn’t fun. You don’t know what’s happening. You don’t know where this road is leading to.”

Thankfully, the 12-time PGA Tour winner is now on the mend, although admits he is still wearing the effects of his traumatic ordeal.

“I’m down 25 pounds," he added. "I lost all my muscle. I look like an 85-year-old man, dude. My skin is hanging. [But] my heart is in rhythm now. The inflammation number they find out with blood tests is is going down. I’m feeling better. 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."

The 54-year-old is on “no activity” for the time being but is targeting a return to competitive action at The Players Championship in March.

Andrew Wright
Freelance News Writer

A lifelong golf fan, Andy graduated in 2019 with a degree in Sports Journalism and got his first role in the industry as the Instruction Editor for National Club Golfer. From there, he decided to go freelance and now covers a variety of topics for Golf Monthly. 

Andy took up the game at the age of seven and even harboured ambitions of a career in the professional ranks for a spell. That didn’t pan out, but he still enjoys his weekend golf at Royal Troon and holds a scratch handicap. As a side note, he's made five holes-in-one and could quite possibly be Retief Goosen’s biggest fan.

As well as the above, some of Andy's work has featured on websites such as goal.com, dailyrecord.co.uk, and theopen.com.

What's in Andy's bag?

Driver: Callaway Mavrik Sub-Zero (9°)

3-wood: TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus (15°)

Driving iron: Titleist U500 (17°)

Irons: Mizuno mp32 (4-PW)

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM9 (50°, 54° and 58°)

Putter: Titleist Scotty Cameron Newport 2.5

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x