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PGA TOUR PLAYER INTERVIEW

Q: But you played other sports, too. When did you decide you wanted to just concentrate on golf? CASEY: Probably when I was about early teens, 13, 14. I was still at that stage playing tennis, quite a bit of football [soccer]. I actually was trying to get tennis scholarships and things like that when I was about 11 years old and soon figured out I was having more success withgolf than I was the other sports. And at that point it was just a sensible decision, so I stopped the other sports because they were taking away time from golf. That’s all it really was, but I loved playing everything. I still love other sports. It was just a process of elimination that led me togolf.

Q: So what prompted your decision to come to the States and play golf in college?

CASEY: It was a big move. But it was kind

Paul Casey acknowledges the fans’ support on the 18th green during the final round of the Valspar Championship.

And although he’d won overseas in the interim, Casey ended a nine-year PGA TOUR victory drought when he held off Woods at the 2018 Valspar Championship. He successfully defended his title earlier this year and appears headed for his fifth straight appearance in the TOUR Championship as well. Casey, who is a collector of fine wine, vintage wristwatches and Nike Dunks, took some time at THE PLAYERS Championship, for this conversation with the PGA TOUR Essential Guide to Golf.

IMAGES: Getty Images

Q. Who influenced you as a golfer? CASEY: Probably two factors; multiple people.

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So, my Dad would be the first, because he was a bad golfer, but he was a good athlete. He was a good rugby player, and cricketer, and so he introduced me to the game. He was the main influence, because he was always there through me starting my golfing career. And then there’s just a plethora of guys. I’d like to pick one, but it was Seve, Faldo, Langer, Woosie, Lyle … those were the main guys who, for me, were my heroes. And I got to watch them when I used to go to events at Wentworth and stand up close and watch guys like Faldo and Seve hit the golf ball. So, they were the big influence, although I didn’t know them.

of forced, and I say that because there’s really no way of furthering your education after high school and playing a sport in the U.K. unless you go to Oxford or Cambridge and you’re doing crew as you call it over here. Maybe you could play a bit of rugby at couple of universities, but it’s really dead-end. For golf there were still very few opportunities, certainly nothing like the college system. So it was, do I turn pro? Or do I pursue this college thing, which no one knew much about. Guys were going off to community colleges and stuff and bringing back snippets of information. The internet wasn’t what it is now—you can just google Arizona State, and see all the images and videos. So, it was just more of a case of I didn’t want to turn pro. I didn’t want to maybe work in a pro shop and try to play golf, because I thought that wouldn’t give me enough time. My parents [though] if I could further that education, it was a perfect combo. So, my hand was forced. Very few guys, like Ian Poulter, turned pro very early, worked in a pro shop and went that route. They just don’t do it.

Q: So how did you find out about Arizona State? Or did they find you?

CASEY: There was a close friend of mine who I played junior golf with. I just remember him coming back when I was about 16 years old. He’d come back from the States, and he goes, ‘I’ve been to the greatest place on the planet.’ What is that? Where is it? He goes, ‘It’s called Scottsdale, Arizona.’ And so that stuck in the back of my mind, and then when I was looking into universities, I was pursued. Again, we didn’t know much. Like Augusta State would have their coach out, promoting Augusta State to play at PGA TOUR ESSENTIAL GUIDE 2019, Part 2  125

31/05/2019 14:22

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