Stricker might extend his winter break by 1 week

Steve Stricker reacts to winning the Hyundai Tournament of Champions at the Plantation Course on Jan. 9, 2012 in Kapalua, Hawaii.

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Steve Stricker, who still has yet to tee it up on the U.S. mainland this season, likely will skip the Northern Trust Open in two weeks.

Stricker, 44, has played in only one event since winning the season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Hawaii. He tied for 38th at the Sony Open after a final-round 74.

When Stricker, ranked No. 5 in the Official World Golf Ranking, left Honolulu, he intended to take time off and not return to the PGA Tour until the Feb. 16-19 Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif., where he won in 2010. After playing in the Presidents Cup in Australia last fall, he took time off to rehabilitate a herniated neck disk, which had forced him to miss the BMW Championship in Chicago. Now, Stricker might be extending his January down time by one more week.

“I’m on the fence,” Stricker said from his home in Madison, Wis. “The weather has been nice here, and I may just add one in Florida instead.”

Stricker confirmed that the neck is not an issue, adding that he has been maintaining a therapy regimen of three times per week while home. But he conceded that another week of rest would help him for the Feb. 22-26 WGC-Match Play, which he won in 2001 in Australia.

If Stricker does miss the L.A. event, expect him to play in the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral and the Shell Houston Open, plus possibly add the Transitions Championship near Tampa before the Masters.

Stricker has a good history in the Transitions at Innisbrook, with top-10s, though he skipped last year's event.

“I’m trying to be excited to play when I play,” said Stricker, who has limited his schedule in the past two years to less than 20 events. "I also didn’t get much time off in the fall and want to be as fresh as possible.”

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