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How I spent my COVID lockdown: Steve Stricker becomes Fortnite fanatic, Retief Goosen restores a Hummer

Golfweek logo Golfweek 8/12/2020 Marla Ridenour, Akron Beacon Journal
© Provided by Golfweek

Steve Stricker refused to demonstrate his Fortnite dance moves, but the mental picture of the 53-year-old golfer celebrating a good shot with gyrations from the video game was still a visual delight.

“I got a couple dances when I do something well, I will throw it at the guys,” Stricker said, giving no hint of his preferred choices.

Asked if he would show them off for the PGA Tour Champions camera, Stricker said, “No, no chance.”

What members of the Champions Tour did during the coronavirus lockdown might seem mundane, even though the 50-and-over players are competing in just the second event since the restart in the $3 million Bridgestone Senior Players, which opens Thursday at Firestone Country Club.

But that was not the case where Stricker and Retief Goosen are concerned.

No one would have imagined Stricker becoming addicted to Fortnite or Goosen working to restore a 2006 Hummer H2 SUT, infamous in Akron because LeBron James drove an H2 while in high school.

“I got into Fortnite. Stupid game,” Stricker revealed Wednesday. “I don’t know where that came from, but it’s kind of consumed some of my time, even lately. I bring it with me out on the road and pass the time. But I’m trying to wean myself off that game.”

At first, Stricker’s wife Nicki and their daughters Bobbi, 21, and Isabella, 14, played with him at their home in Madison, Wisconsin.

“During the quarantine, when it first happened, I was playing quite a bit. I had nothing else to do, right? We play golf and then I play Fortnite,” he said. “The kids started playing with me, too. Nicki tried to, but she got frustrated with it and ended that pretty quickly.

“But yeah, I still get into that. The kids have stopped playing. They know better.”

a man standing next to a woman © Provided by Golfweek

Returning champion Relief Goosen, left, elbow bumps Sam Jakabcic of Brunswick while posing for a photo before the Bridgestone Senior Players Tournament pro-am on Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020, Akron, Ohio, at Firestone Country Club. [Phil Masturzo/ Beacon Journal]

Goosen, meanwhile, was in Orlando, Florida. He said he didn’t touch a club for three months, occupied instead by another of his passions.

“I am a bit of a mechanic,” Goosen said. “So I bought myself an old car and spent three months renovating it. I was under the bonnet taking things apart and cleaning and putting them back together. That’s just the kind of thing I like.

“It needed a bit of work. And it just worked out fine now. It’s a great car to drive.”

Goosen said it was only the second or third car he’s tinkered with.

“I’m a bit of a car guy, so they come in and out of my garage,” he said.

Goosen said he also wakeboarded for the first time, then tried water skiing again.

“I used to do slalom waterskiing, but after back surgery … well, before back surgery I sort of gave it up, so it will be 10 years. But I got out behind the boat. And it was a little sort of wobbly in the beginning, but later on, I started finding a little bit of stride. But I didn’t want to push myself and fall and twist an ankle, that’s for sure.”

Fred Couples’ down time was more routine. After playing in the Hoag Classic in Newport Beach, California, he headed to Palm Springs, where he, his girlfriend Suzanne Radcliffe and her son Hunter stayed until mid-June. Couples played basketball, golf and tennis with the 12-year-old, watched old movies, kids movies and lots of Netflix.

“Then went back to Newport, and you would have thought there wasn’t a coronavirus,” Couples said. “People were everywhere. And I’m not going to say no one cared, but there was a lot going on. Then they kind of shut California down and then it got a little serious.

“When you’re in Palm Springs, you kind of don’t see the world, except on TV. And everything was beautiful there. And it was beautiful in Newport, once people started paying attention.”

A Seattle native, Couples said he kept an eye on demonstrations against racial injustice in the Pacific Northwest.

Couples, 60, did not play two weeks ago in the Ally Challenge in Grand Blanc, Michigan, so this is his first experience with the Champions Tour’s COVID-19 protocol.

“I got here and I have never done so many things at a golf tournament and we’re only Wednesday morning,” he said. “I have been tested. I picked up my test. I went, had my temperature taken. I went back and got a ticket to get in the gates. Then I’m eating out of plastic that’s been wrapped up seven times, just to stay clean. And I got no problem with it.”

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