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Paul Casey reaslistic about current form

Paul Casey is very much in the hunt for the Race to Dubai on the European Tour, at No. 5 in the standings with the top five players separated by about $350,000.

Realistically? That’s a different story.

Right when he was reaching the peak of his game, with three victories this year that took him to No. 3 in the world ranking, Casey sustained a rib injury that kept him out for three months. He returned last week in the World Match Play Championship, losing all three of his matches.

Asked if he had given up hope on the $1.5 million bonus, Casey smiled Tuesday and said, “No.”

“But I need to win an event,” he added. “And when you’re up against this quality of field and you’re not 100 percent, it’s difficult.”

Even so, he wasn’t complaining.

Casey felt good to simply get back into competition after not having played a full round since the British Open at Turnberry. He had been gone so long that when he arrived in Spain for the Match Play, he forgot to register.

He tore a muscle near his 10th rib on the right side, which required rest— lots of rest. Casey missed a World Golf Championship and the PGA Championship, and the entire FedEx Cup playoffs on the PGA Tour.

“I went six or seven weeks when I didn’t pick up a club at all,” Casey said. “But I regained my love of the game. I’m not qualified to do anything else. In a way, I relearned how to play. The week before Match Play, I was enjoying going to the golf course every day. Without injury, I should do it again.”

Casey described his health at about 70 percent. Even now, he comes out of a few shots, and he has yet to hit a shot from the rough since his return, mainly because the Finca Cortesin course in Spain had none.

“I’m setting smaller goals,” he said, noting that the Race to Dubai was part of a bigger picture.

After the HSBC Champions, Casey is headed for the Hong Kong Open, then the Dubai World Championship. He also plays to play the Chevron World Challenge in California, hosted by Tiger Woods, a chance to try new equipment—and grooves— for next year.

Next year will arrive sooner than usual. His victory in the Houston Open made him eligible for the winners-only SBS Championship at Kapalua. Casey wasn’t sure he would be able to play until realizing there was a week between Kapalua and getting halfway around the world for the Abu Dhabi Championship, where he is defending champion.

 

November 4, 2009




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