Person of the Year

Steve Stricker is Madison's hometown hero

Three wins on the Professional Golf Association Tour is a pretty good career. Three wins in a year? Not many golfers get a sniff of that rarified air. But throw in a ranking of third best golfer in the world (the world!), more than six million in earnings for ’09, membership in the exclusive (one, maybe two at the most) “Tiger’s buddies” club, a reputation as one of the truly good guys in golf and a Madison, Wisconsin, ZIP code on his driver’s license and we’ve got ourselves Madison Magazine’s Person of the Year.

Steve Stricker has had an up and down career as exemplified by not one but two Comeback Player of the Year awards. Too long he was best known for having wife Nicki as his caddy. These days he’s probably close to the mixed blessing of being known as “the best golfer in the world to have never won a major.” No matter. He’s the best golfer in the world from Madison, Wisconsin, and along with buddy Jerry Kelly and actual major championship winners Andy North and Sherri Steinhauer, links a lot of star power to a city with unplayable lies six months of the year.

On top of that he gives back, lending his time to raise money for his native Edgerton’s Towne Country Club, and funding expanded UW–Madison golf instruction. His play this year suggests there is more glory to come. If not, he’s had a year most golfers can only dream of. His game shows dedication, courage and steely nerves. His emotions come later, after the wins—after every win—and show the size of his heart.

The heart of a champion, and a Person of the Year.

Plus: Meet other Madisonians who have had a great year.

Neil Heinen is editorial director of Madison Magazine.

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