Caddie Network

Golf has always been a family affair for Nicki Stricker

Nicki Stricker
Nicki Stricker was raised in a golf-centric family and has been a big asset as a caddie for husband Steve, the 2020 U.S. Ryder Cup captain. Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Nicki Stricker comes from a golfing family.

She’s a former golf team member at the University of Wisconsin under her father, former long-time coach Dennis Tiziani.

Tiziani played on the PGA Tour for three years, including three U.S. Opens and coached the Wisconsin men’s golf team for 26 years and women’s golf team for 14 years in Madison.

He’s also Nicki’s husband Steve Stricker’s long-time swing coach.

Nicki’s brother, Mario, played on the PGA Tour in 2008 and their grandfather was a head golf professional in Ironwood Michigan for 40 years.

So what kind of impact has golf had on her family?

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“I think we would all come together regardless, but my family happens to center around golf,” Nicki Stricker said. “It’s been great. It started not just with my grandfather, my uncle, my brother, my aunts. Everyone’s played competitively, some at that highest level.”

Her husband is currently playing at the highest level, on both the Champions and PGA Tour.

Nicki started caddying for Steve in his first four years on the PGA Tour from 1994-97. They won twice together in 1996. In 1998, she stopped for the birth of their eldest daughter, Bobbi. Nicki returned in 2001 for just one year and has been caddying for Steve “off and on” since 2015 when noted caddie Jimmy Johnson left for Justin Thomas’ bag.

For the first four years of his PGA Tour career, Steve Stricker’s full-time caddie was wife, Nicki. She’s been on the bag plenty of times since, too. Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Bobbi followed in mom’s footsteps by playing for the Wisconsin Badgers team and is now just finishing up her junior year after only starting golf competitively after high school.

Nicki is happy to be back on the bag these past few years.

“To come back to it has been pretty cool, to be present enough in it and to appreciate it enough to have our girls enjoy it and they love to watch their dad play,” Nicki said of Bobbi and younger sister, Izzy.

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Nicki’s been averaging caddying for her husband between 6-8 events a year since her return and expects much more this year as he’s been active on both Tours.

There’s also a small event coming up next year that her husband has a major leadership role in. The 2020 Ryder Cup in their home state of Wisconsin at Whistling Straights, where Stricker is U.S. Captain.

Is the preparation already a whirlwind?

“We’re taking it as it comes,” Nicki said. “We know it will be hectic. Steve’s obviously been involved with it the last few years, not as the head of it but around it enough that he knows what to expect. We’re both excited, not stressed out yet.”

Steve Stricker and wife, Nicki, have had plenty to celebrate on and off the course over the last 20+ years. Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

When it was announced Stricker would be given the coveted captaincy position at a press conference in February, the usually emotional 52-year-old was true to his colors.

He got choked up within the first few minutes of the event.

“He’s emotional because it means so much to him,” Nicki said. “I’m very, very proud of him. It is really special to be captain.

“When he started out his pro career, I don’t think this was anything he had necessarily ever put on his list to do, I just think how it’s evolved over the years you just love to be put in that position and the fact that the PGA of America and the leadership committee thinks enough of him in that spot is very humbling. He is honored and proud to be where he’s at.”

In the meantime, Team Stricker continues to plug away at various PGA Tour and Champions Tour events.

Steve has already made seven starts in 2019 on the PGA Tour, including last week’s Memorial, where he made the cut on the number and then vaulted to a season-best tie for 22nd.

On the Champions Tour, he’s made six starts and won the Regions Tradition in May.

When on the bag, Nicki knows her husband’s strengths — particularly his penchant for green reading and putting.

“I don’t help read greens, I never have,” Nicki said. “He always wanted it to be his decision, where if it didn’t go right he’s not blaming anybody but himself. I think that’s the same whether I’m there or not. He’s got his name on the bag for a reason.”

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