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US Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker says he is “lucky to be alive” after being struck down with a mystery heart condition. 

The 54-year-old was hospitalised twice in a matter of days in November because of inflammation around his heart.

Stricker said it led to an irregular heart rate, high white blood cell count and a declining liver – and caused him to lose 25 pounds in weight.

A 12-time winner on tour, he began to suffer a cough and sore throat in October before his condition deteriorated following a hunting excursion.

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After spending 11 days in hospital, he was released just before Thanksgiving but was then re-admitted just three days later with doctors still unable to pinpoint the root cause.

“A couple of times I was like, ‘What is going on?’” Stricker said.

“Everything is going the wrong way. It wasn’t fun. You don’t know what’s happening. You don’t know where this road is leading to.”

He told Wisconsin.Golf he looked “like an 85-year-old man” following his ordeal – but thankfully he appears to be on the mend.

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“I’m feeling better,” he added. “I’m walking around a little bit. I’m starting to be a little bit more active and building a tolerance a little bit better. So, things are definitely better.”

Stricker, who captained the US to a record 19-9 win over Europe at Whistling Straits las year, said he is aiming to return to competitive golf at The Players Championship in March.

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