Fatiha Betscher, Fairmont Resort, St. Andrews
Paul Casey has won 21 times in around a dozen different countries in his professional career, also enjoying a dozen top-10s in the majors, while also playing in five European Ryder Cup sides, winning three, and is a five-time GB & I Seve Trophy team member.
Additionally, the former Irish Open winner spent some 800 weeks among the world’s top-50, reaching a career high of number three in 2009.
And it came as little surprise that the player who captured his maiden Tour win in the Scottish Highlands at Gleneagles in 2001 announced in July 2022 he was moving to LIV Golf, making his debut at LIV Bedminster.
Casey’s now played in 15 LIV events with a best individual finish of sixth last October in Bangkok, while his Crushers side is one of the strongest at LIV, securing a maiden win earlier this year at Mayakoba and enjoying eight other top-threes.
And sitting in front of Casey ahead of this week’s historic St. Andrews Bay Championship on the Asian Tour, he explained just how much he is enjoying this new chapter in his career and provided insight into what it’s like to be competing in the rebel league.
In Casey’s words, LIV Golf is unique as it provides a high week-in, week-out.
“All the golf I played through the years and all over the world, LIV is interesting for a couple of reasons,” he said.
“The limited number of spots gives it this edge, you can sense already. I think last year, nobody’s really seen it yet, there hasn’t been a lot of movement. But you know, after this season, the seasons after that, you’re going to see movement of guys in and out and a lot of scrambling and fighting for position.
“It’s something to be cherished, it’s quite an opportunity, the fact that it’s just the 48 guys who tee it up and seeing the same guys week in, week out, it creates this level of competition that there’s nowhere to hide.
“When playing some of the tours I played through the years, you can pick kind of a softer weeks, you can pick the weaker fields, but here, there is nowhere to hide. If somebody gets on a burner, I think that’s it, you’ve got to just get on with it and figure out how to get your game in shape and that’s a really interesting dynamic.”
And Casey spoke of the opportunity the Asian Tour has created for many of it’s members being here in the town of St. Andrews for maybe the first time in their career.
“I think it’s wonderful how many opportunities there are right now,” he said.
“My first thought was the fact that the level of golf nowadays, is so high, and how the game has developed, Sergio’s [Garcia] been on tour longer than I have, we’ve weathered the advances in technology, the way the data is now driving the game, the way we practice, the way we train. Going from steel shafts to graphite shafts, to different golf ball technology, launch monitors. The guys who’ve had longevity in career paths combat those challenges, and I don’t think it’s any different now.”
However, it not been easy for Casey who arrived in Scotland on Tuesday without his golf clubs and took British Airways to task when his prized cargo didn’t land with him in Edinburgh.
Casey’s an ‘Elite Gold’ card holder with BA, and in what seems a continuing issue for many golfers arriving into Edinburgh, the LIV Golfer’s club were not with his luggage upon arrival into the Scottish capital.
Casey cited five further BA flights had left Heathrow to Edinburgh following his own fight, but his clubs didn’t arrive earlier to the Scottish capital until Wednesday.
“I flew into Edinburgh yesterday [Tuesday] from the States yesterday via Heathrow, and I don’t want to go on about it, but [I was] without my clubs arriving in Scotland,” Casey said in a press conference ahead of this week’s $1.5m event.
“However, with thanks to Martin Gray, who personally went to Edinburgh Airport to collect the clubs by hand and bring them up here to St. Andrews and he arrived late this morning. So, that was so good of Martin.
“I’m just not a fan of British Airways, right now. I’m also a gold card holder but that doesn’t matter with BA.”
Casey had been due to play the Pro-Am, and thanks to Gray’s efforts, he played the closing seven holes before heading out post lunch for a full 18, ending his round close to 5.30pm.
“I’ve been so St. Andrews so many times but have never played the Fairmont, and I liked what I saw,” he said.
“I will go out this afternoon and get-in some more practice, and while I’ve been delayed in my preparations, I am not going to let it get in the way. It just means a longer day than I had expected today.”
And Casey revealed it’s a special week for his family as his near five-year-old daughter Asteria is marking her first day at school.