Robert Streb is one of the unassuming personalities on the PGA Tour, but it in no way detracts from his reputation as one of the most consistent golfers on the circuit.
Unlike many of his peers, Streb did not have a headline-grabbing school or college golf career.
“I knew I wanted to play, but you know, obviously getting that degree was more important than turning pro or whatever. I didn’t know if the golf would pan out, so I knew if they were paying for some education, I might as well get it. Not that I was as stand‑out student, but I got the piece of paper,” he said.
But after deciding to give the golf a serious go, Streb spent time on the mini tours and also the Web.com Tour before graduating to the PGA Tour with a seventh place finish on the final 2012 moneylist.
His 2013 season on the PGA Tour saw him make the cut on 12 of the 25 tournaments he started. And then in 2014 he made it through to the weekend in 17 of the 21 tournaments he teed it up in, including tied second in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
And the ever-improving Streb took this a step further in the 2015 season, making 25 out of 30 cuts including nine top-10s, one of which was his maiden victory in the McGladrey Classic.
Equally impressive is the fact that he has made it through to the FedEx Cup Playoffs in the last two seasons, finishing 71st in 2014 and then 18th this year.
But it was ice hockey where he first started to show his talents, although he admits this didn’t last long as “I was obviously too small and too slow”.
That’s when he focused on golf. According to his father David, Robert’s success is a result of hard work more than any prodigious natural talent.
“The one thing I would say is that he’s always been very consistent, and he’s never jumped right to the very top. But he’s slowly climbed the ladder.”
And it’s his hockey background that Streb has used to great effect in his golf career.
“You get beat up a little bit playing hockey and you can get beat up a little bit on the golf course. You just have to get over things pretty quick. You have to be tough about it. You can’t roll over and die.”
Streb is certainly the kind to just quietly get on with things rather than make too much of a fuss. He uses a 10-finger baseball grip and plays without a glove. And he is a steady learner at every level of the game, from tagging along to the driving range with his father at the age of two, to performing at the highest level in the Majors.
Playing in his first Masters in April, Streb failed to make the cut. Then came a finish of tied 42nd in his first US Open. And it continued to improve from there, including a finish of tied 18th in his Open Championship debut and finally a finish of tied 10th in his first PGA Championship.
But there is an uncomplicated nature about Streb and his golf that is refreshing.
“I still hardly ever write anything in my yardage book and my caddie gives me a hard time about it, and rightfully so,” he says.
When he won the McGladrey Classic, Streb did so with a brilliant final round of 63 to make it into a playoff with Zimbabwean Brendan de Jonge and American Will MacKenzie, and then took the title with a birdie on the second playoff hole.
When asked how he was going to celebrate, the answer was typical Streb.
“Probably just hang out with the family,” he said.
Born: 7 April 1987.
Turned pro: 2009.
Family: Wife – Maggie. Child – Catherine.
Special interests: Sports, music, technology.
Career highlights: Won the 2014 McGladrey Classic (part of the 2015 season) on the PGA Tour.
2015 highlights: Lost a playoff for the Greenbrier Classic and had a further six top-10s on the PGA Tour.
2015 Majors: The Masters – MC. The US Open – T42. The Open – T18. The PGA Championship – T10.
NGC record: Debut.