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
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
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
"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
"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."