Casey delighted to be back
Paul Casey will tee it up in a Ryder Cup for the first time in ten years this week at Le Golf National and the Englishman is delighted to be back on golf's biggest stage.
Casey played in three consecutive Ryder Cups between 2004 and 2008, but a combination of form, fitness and not being a Member of the European Tour meant that he has missed the last four editions.
Having rejoined the European Tour, he came very close to qualifying via the World Points List thanks to a win on the US PGA Tour. After being handed a Captain's Pick by Thomas Bjørn, he is eager to get started again.
“I made the decision almost two years ago and so to be sitting here now is very satisfying, very enjoyable,” he said. “It was obviously the goal to make that Team and now the goal is to win points, which I believe I can do, and I'm super excited for this week.
“To finally be here, seeing all the images of what it was going to be like, that first tee, and to get a taste of it the last couple of days, I can't wait for tomorrow.
“Will I be nervous? I think, yeah, I remember back to Ryder Cups I played before, I was always nervous. It will be no different tomorrow. But that quickly subsides and you get on with the match and you get into it, and then it's all about winning points.”
Casey revealed the thing he has missed most in his absence was the team room, the atmosphere and the friendships that come from it.
His appearances in 2004 and 2006 brought record European wins for both and home and away Ryder Cups and after being part of history, Casey is determined to soak it all in this time.
“It's very special,” he said. “I think I've got more of an appreciation this time around. I've taken notes this week and tried to really pay attention to how special this is.
“To be wearing this and to be standing alongside my team-mates and Captain, Vice Captains and everybody that supports us, yeah, very proud and honoured to be donning the blue and yellow.
“Ryder Cups in the past have gone so quickly and I just want to make sure I remember this. At 41, I don't know how many opportunities I'm going to get to play another European-based Ryder Cup. I don't want this to be my last European-based Ryder Cup but, plain and simple, at 41 it's got a chance that it is.
“So I just want to make sure that I pay attention to it and enjoy it, deliver points, play my heart out, but enjoy it at the same time.”