Stricker back playing after hospital scare

Six months ago Ryder Cup skipper Steve Stricker was hospitalised for nearly two weeks and lost 25 pounds, now he is finally back in action. The Whistling Straits captain, who oversaw America's annihilation of Europe last September, had a soaring white blood cell count and inflammation around his heart which caused the huge weight loss.

Now the weight is returning and so is his game. In his first round back on the PGA Tour Champions he shot a five-under 67 though, after 201 days away from competitive golf, he admitted that it had been pretty tough.

“It was a little up and down, not going to kid you,” Stricker said. “It was good some shots, some wayward shots that I got away with. I just don’t have my legs yet, I think is what I’m really feeling, but I managed to get it around there.”

By the end of day one he was actually shared for the lead.

“I didn’t commit to very many shots. That was the hardest part,” he added. “I didn’t feel very comfortable over it, didn’t really commit at times. And when you don’t commit, typically you hit some bad shots. And I did, but I got away with them and live to fight another day kind of thing. It was good get out there, finally, though.”

Doctors still don’t know what caused his white blood cell count to rise so much, his liver count to drop and his heart to pump out of rhythm but he was just glad to be back out there among friends.

“You get all this outpouring of support from people. And then John Cook (Golf Channel) asks you a question right after you first your first tee ball to go on air and it kind of hits home kind of what I went through for a period of six months. But again, I’m glad I’m out here and feeling better.”