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Paul Casey named European Golfer of the Year

Paul Casey's disappointment at just missing out on the European Order of Merit title was eased today when he was named the Tour's Golfer of the Year.

After suffering an horrific slump in 2005 - he went four months without making a single cut - Casey came back to win three times during the 2006 season, including the HSBC World Match Play Championship.

Casey also played a starring role in Europe's dominating Ryder Cup victory over the United States in September.

Ryder Cup teammate Padraig Harrington was the player to edge Casey for the Order of Merit crown, but the Dubliner won only once during the year and contributed just half a point to the success over the Americans.

Casey, who recorded a hole-in-one during the Ryder Cup foursomes and beat current world No. 2 Jim Furyk in the singles, was on course to finish as the circuit's No. 1 until he fell ill at the season-ending Volvo Masters.

The 29-year-old would still have edged out Harrington if Sergio Garcia had not bogeyed the final hole.

"It is a tremendous honour to be named European Tour Golfer of the Year," Casey said. "To win three times during the 2006 season and play a part in Europe's record-breaking third successive Ryder Cup victory before finishing runner-up to Padraig in the Order of Merit was extremely satisfying, although it goes without saying that I was bitterly disappointed to miss out on the Harry Vardon Trophy.

"The race for the number one position with Padraig, David Howell and Robert Karlsson was truly exceptional and, I believe, fired the imagination of the golfing public in Europe."

Darren Clarke's emotional three points out of three in the Ryder Cup just six weeks after the death of his wife was also considered by a panel of golf writers and broadcasters, but Casey won the vote.

"It didn't help that I was ill during the Volvo Masters, but these things happen in sport," Casey said. "It was a tremendous tussle with my three Ryder Cup teammates and their determination to succeed also helped spur me on at the end of the season.

"Many great golfers have won the European Tour Golfer of the Year accolade and it gives me a great feeling of pride to join that illustrious roll of honor."

Europe's 2008 Ryder Cup captain Nick Faldo was impressed with Casey's return to form.

"It was a very gutsy turnaround by Paul this season after a disappointing 2005 by his own high standards," Faldo said. "He was outstanding in the Ryder Cup and his hole-in-one at the K Club was the shot of the year in my book. His performances during the season will set him up nicely for the big challenges ahead in 2007."

December 13, 2006

 




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