Casey finds the ‘sweet spot’ to raise hopes of maiden major
Finally finding the “sweet spot” in your forties might seem unlikely to many golfers, but Paul Casey believes that during his courageous runner-up finish at the US PGA Championship on Sunday he at last discovered that mythical place.
Casey, the former world No 3, has always known that his perfect setting would be between ambition and attitude and so, after 20 years as a professional, it came to him on the torrid back nine at Harding Park, San Francisco.
Eventually, his attempt to break his major duck and so become the first Englishman to lift the Wanamaker Trophy in 101 years was thwarted by the brilliance of 23-year-old Collin Morikawa. But unlike previous attempts, he was certain that this time, with a 66 in his final round, he extracted the best out of himself .
Asked why he looked so comfortable in posting his best major finish in 64 attempts, Casey, 43, replied: “Probably because I’ve spent three months where I didn’t touch a golf club, hanging out with my kids, my
family at home. Then I started practising, but even those four-plus months I spent at home, I’m thinking a lot you know, figuring out what’s important to me.
“This was just a cruise around the course and having a great time. I’m in a sweet spot. It’s taken me 43 years to get here, but yeah, pretty chilled out, know what I’m capable of and enjoying my golf.”
Casey has risen to world No 19 and to 54th in the FedEx Cup standings. He is playing at this week’s Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, North Carolina, and then intends to take part in the first two FedEx Cup play-off events as he tries to qualify in the top 30 for the Tour Championship, with its first prize of $15 million (£11.5 million).
Then, from Sept 17-20, comes the US Open at Winged Foot in New York, where he finished 15th in 2006.
“I’m a much more rounded golfer now,” Casey said, “and I know I’m a veteran, but I do believe that I will have at least a few more opportunities.”