- Associated Press - Saturday, July 2, 2016

AKRON, Ohio (AP) - Steve Stricker qualified for the British Open and wasn’t sure if he was going to play in a major he had skipped since 2013.

Now he’s going to Scotland for two weeks.

Stricker said early Saturday he would play the Scottish Open next week at Castle Stuart in Inverness before going down to Royal Troon for what could be his final appearance in golf’s oldest championship.

“I don’t have many of these majors left,” Stricker said.

The 49-year-old American, who reached as high as No. 2 in the world, began cutting back on his schedule three years ago to spend more time with his wife and two daughters. His oldest, Bobbi Maria, graduated from high school last month. He played only two majors last year as his world ranking plunged below No. 200 because of a limited schedule, and while he recovered from a December 2014 hip surgery.

So it was a mild surprise when he tied for second at the FedEx St. Jude Classic, which offered four spots to the British Open for those not yet eligible. Stricker last played the Open in 2012, preferring instead to play near home. Plus, his wedding anniversary is the day of the final round at Royal Troon.

He wasn’t planning on two weeks in Scotland until deadly flooding in West Virginia led to the cancellation of The Greenbrier Classic. So he accepted a sponsor’s invitation to play the Scottish Open. It will be his first time at the Scottish Open since 1995 when it was at Carnoustie.

As for his wife and their anniversary?

“She was the one who said I should go,” Stricker said. “She’s staying behind.”

The Scottish Open also offered invitations to J.B. Holmes and Jamie Lovemark, while Phil Mickelson also is playing. Lovemark is not yet eligible for the British Open. He can earn a spot by being one of the leading four players from the top 12 at Castle Stuart not already eligible.

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