European Tour

Casey heading home for Euro PGA Championship

2018-03-13 11:48
Paul Casey (AP)

Cape Town - England's Paul Casey admits he cannot wait to play in front of his home crowd again after confirming he will return to the PGA Championship - the first of eight Rolex Series events on the European Tour in 2018 - at Wentworth Club, from May 24-27.

Casey returned to winning way ways on Sunday, holding off Tiger Woods to win the Valspar Championship on the PGA Tour - a victory which moved him up to 12th on the Official World Golf Ranking and boosted his chances of returning to Europe's Ryder Cup Team in France this September.

The 40-year-old will be back on home soil in May when he makes his first appearance at Wentworth in five years.

Casey grew up in Surrey and regularly walked the fairways of the famous West Course as a youngster, watching legends of the game such as Seve Ballesteros and Sir Nick Faldo play in, and win, the prestigious tournament, before the three-time Ryder Cup player went on to emulate his childhood heroes by lifting the title himself in 2009.

After playing in 12 consecutive editions of the PGA Championship from 2002-2013, he has not featured at Wentworth for the past four years due to a combination of injuries and family commitments in the United States.

After re-joining the European Tour at the start of 2018, the former world No 3 is now relishing the chance to return to an event which holds some special memories for him.

"It's a bit of a homecoming for me," said Casey. "Wentworth is really one of the reasons I now play golf. I used to go to watch the PGA Championship when I was a kid and watching Faldo and Seve play round that golf course was really what sparked my interest in the game.

"To have played in the PGA Championship as many times as I have, and to have won it, and then having taken a little bit of a break, means I have so many wonderful memories. I am truly, genuinely excited about making my return.

"Winning at Wentworth was really one of the finest moments of my career, I must admit. There is something about the fact that it is the home of European Tour golf, and the fact that it was in front of a home crowd, and in front of my family, made it even more special.

"It has a special place in my heart.  I love the course and love everything about it, and I would love to win another one."

Casey joins 2017 Race to Dubai Champion Tommy Fleetwood in the field at Wentworth in May, having formed an impressive partnership with his compatriot in the EurAsia Cup in January.

Both players are now targeting a place in Thomas Bjørn's European Ryder Cup team in Paris in September, with the PGA Championship marking the start of a critical point in the qualification campaign, with points earned at European Tour events from the PGA Championship until Made in Denmark multiplied by 1.5 on both the world points List and the European point list.

Ten years have elapsed since Casey made his third Ryder Cup appearance against the United States, and he hopes a strong performance at Wentworth can help boost his chances of a long-awaited return to the biennial contest.

"Having sat on the sidelines and watched Ryder Cups, and Hazeltine in particular, I wanted it to do my bit, hopefully qualify for the team and try to win back The Ryder Cup, plain and simple. I would love to play in another one," said Casey.

"I have played against guys like Tiger and Phil, and now it is a whole different generation against the likes of Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Playing with a different generation of team-mates as well, young guys like Matt Fitzpatrick, Tommy Fleetwood and Tyrrell Hatton would be really cool, to be able to span that time.

"If I can be part of the team, my family would be there, my kids would be there and I'm really into this. I really am. I want to be part of it and to contribute points for Europe."

Read more on:    european tour  |  paul casey  |  golf
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