Casey gets his calling

IAN HUTCHINSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:47 AM ET

It may not have been the best time for Paul Casey to try and figure out the vexing nature of the greens at St. George's Golf and Country Club yesterday, but he was giving it a go on the practice surface.

"I'm very confused right now," admitted Casey, who tied for third at the British Open on Sunday, boarded a Golf Canada charter to cross the ocean, then played in Monday's Mike Weir Charity Classic before things get serious once again on Thursday when the RBC Canadian Open gets underway.

While fatigue and the hot sun may have been taking its toll on Casey, it wasn't obvious. Despite finishing eight shots behind Louis Oosthuizen, Casey apparently has a clear mission and was encouraged by his performance at St. Andrews.

"Last week was great. I was disappointed not to finish second, but I don't think anybody was catching Louis. That was a spectacular performance," Casey said.

"I had a great time on St. Andrews. I love that course anyway. It was a lot of fun -- the home of golf. Playing in the final group of a major was great. It's probably driving me even more to want to win a Claret Jug or a major. It's something I will do," he added.

"I'm 32 right now. I figure I've got 10 good years of prime golf. I feel I can be a major champion, maybe a multiple major champion in that period of time," he said.

"I made two bad swings for the week - the tee shot on 17 early in the week cost me a seven, then the tee shot on 12," he said.

"I holed quite a few putts during the week, so it's give and take. Those two tee shots are what frustrated me. Two sevens for the week and I still finished third. It showed I played well," Casey said.

It wasn't that long ago that Englishmen or any Europeans were considered non-starters in majors. When Padraig Harrington won the 2007 British Open, he was the first European player to win a major since Paul Lawrie at the 1999 Open Championship.

"I'm worrying about myself," Casey said. "The media talks about it all the time and you know what our media is like. They can be great at times and they can be relentless. English golf, British golf, European golf is so strong right now.

"We're worrying about our own games. As much as the media wants us to win, we want to win twice as much," he said.

Whether that happens in Canada this week depends on how he manoeuvres a golf course that is already showing a nasty side once the putter comes out. The key to success at St. George's appears to be the shot in to the greens.

"It's a wonderful golf course -- classic, old parkland. It's laid out beautifully. Maybe modern green speeds are a little quick for some of these putting surfaces. It's going to be tricky. The problem with that is it limits pin positions. These greens are so sloppy, you don't have many pin locations anyway," he added.

As part of his preparation, he says he plans to pick the mind of Steve Lobb, who won a chance to caddie for Casey in today's pro-am. A little local knowledge is a cherished commodity for a lad from across the ocean.

"It's a tough golf course," he said. "The rough's up (four inches). I think if you drive the ball well and you keep it below the hole, you can really score around here, but as soon as you get on the wrong side (of the hole), errors almost get compounded."

hutchgolf@netzero.com


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