Robert Streb missed out on a trophy when he finished second at the PGA Tour’s Greenbrier Classic last week, but he played well enough to cash in on a potentially bigger reward – a trip to the British Open.
How’s that for a consolation prize?
“It was nice to have a good week,” Streb said in a phone interview. “I was obviously on the wrong side of the fence to start the week and trying to find some good golf. I wish I would have finished it a little better down the stretch, but it was a good week and it was great to qualify for the British Open.”
It’s been a hectic few weeks for Streb, a former K-State golfer who now lives in Shawnee. Not long ago, he had work to do to clinch his PGA Tour card for next season. But with that no longer an issue, he took a more relaxed approach into the John Deere Classic and is now hoping for a strong showing overseas.
This will be Streb’s third British Open. He had the time of his life in his first appearance at St. Andrews, where he opened with a 66 and finished 18th in the 2015 field. A year later, he missed the cut after rounds of 74 and 73.
He hopes to use those experiences to his advantage starting Thursday at Royal Birkdale.
“It is kind of its own beast,” Streb said of the British Open. “It’s just a little bit different style of golf. You don’t have any trees, just high grass. And the bunkers, you don’t really want to be in those. You spend a lot of time trying to fight your golf ball and chasing it around all over the place instead of flying it to this point or that point. It takes a different approach.”
That’s not an easy adjustment, even for the best golfers in the world.
Doing it in long sleeves and rain gear is also a challenge when you’re used to sweating through your polo.
“The weather is usually a bit of a shock,” Streb said. “You go from hot to cold and it just plays a lot different. The wind and rain are just so different. It is kind of like playing in San Francisco.”
The hardest part for Streb: jetlag.
He said he plans to fly to Europe on a charter flight with other American golfers Sunday night, giving him enough time to squeeze in one full practice round while his body adjusts to the time difference.
“The course is a little tough to prep for, but that’s nothing compared to trying to get on the right time zone,” Streb said. “You are six hours forward, so trying to get out of bed is a challenge.”
But it’s one he is looking forward to.
After months of struggles, Streb is back to playing quality golf. He is ready to see how far that can take him on of the sport’s biggest stages.
“There is always a lot more going on at majors,” Streb said. “Extra media, extra coaches, extra family, extra fans and all that fun stuff. You are playing against the best players on great golf courses. That part is a lot of fun, because you get to see how your game stacks up.”
Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett