Stricker targets Masters return

He had surgery in December to his lower back that was linked to his hip problems.

Stricker has been testing his swing and strength in Naples, Florida and says that things are feeling good.

"I was playing, walking, just to see what I had," he told Associated Press. "It’s the first time I played since December, and it was good. It felt good. Just a little stiffness here and there. I walked the last three days just to play like I would be playing."

The 48-year-old Stricker has been told by doctors that if he does not rush and overdue things then he should be fine.

The plan was for Stricker to play in the Houston Open this week leading into the Masters but it is felt that may be too much for him so soon after surgery.

"I think the biggest concern was putting in back-to-back weeks, with the second week being a little more fatigued," Stricker said. "I still feel it’s a bit early to be pushing it a lot, so I want to take it cautiously."

The American qualified for the Masters by being ranked in the top 50 at the end of last year. 

He plans to visit Augusta National this week for practice rounds.