Paul Casey finds mental 'sweet spot' at USPGA Championship after not touching a club for three months

James Corrigan
·2-min read
Paul Casey of England, smiles on the ninth hole during the final round of the PGA Championship  - AP
Paul Casey of England, smiles on the ninth hole during the final round of the PGA Championship - AP

Finally finding the “sweet spot” in your 40s might seem unlikely to many golfers, but Paul Casey believes that during his courageous runner-up finish at the USPGA on Sunday he at last discovered that mythical place. 

Casey, the former world No 3, has always known that his perfect setting would be in between ambition and attitude and so, after 20 years as a pro, it came to him on the torrid back nine at Harding Park, San Francisco. 

Eventually, his bid to break his major duck and so become the first Englishman to lift the Wanamaker Trophy in 101 years was thwarted by the brilliance of 23-year-old Collin Morikawa. But unlike previous attempts, he was certain that this time, with a 66 in his final round, he extracted the best out of himself .

Asked why he looked so comfortable in posting his best major finish in 64 attempts, Casey replied: “Probably because I’ve spent three months where I didn’t touch a golf club, hanging out with my kids, my family at home.

“Then I started practising, but even those four-plus months I spent at home  figuring out what’s important to me. This was just a cruise around the course and having a great time. I’m in a sweet spot. It’s taken me 43 years to get here, but yeah, pretty chilled out, know what I’m capable of and enjoying my golf.”

Casey has risen to world No 19 and up to 54th in the FedEx Cup standings. He is playing at this week’s Wyndham Championship and then intends to play the first two FedEx Cup play-off events as he tries to qualify in the top for the Tour Championship, with its $15m first prize. Then comes the US Open at Winged Foot, where he finished 15th in 2006. 

“I’m a much more rounded golfer now,” Casey said, “and I know I’m a veteran but I do believe that I will have at least a few more opportunities.”