HUMBLE, Texas – Paul Casey breathed a huge sigh of relief when the OWGR calculations broke in his favor Sunday night, then he allowed himself a glass of wine to celebrate his return to the Masters.
Casey missed the cut at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in his most recent start, and he took a calculated risk by sitting out last week’s Valero Texas Open. Needing to remain inside the top 50 in the world to earn an invite to Augusta National, he actually moved up from No. 49 to No. 48 by staying at home.
That doesn’t mean he wasn’t sweating the results in San Antonio.
“It was kind of a nervy week,” Casey said. “I tried not to watch (the golf). I watched a little bit on Thursday and I kind of chuckled, with that wind.”
Casey lost in a playoff at the Northern Trust Open in February, then finished third at the Honda Classic the following week. The Englishman chalked up his poor showing at Bay Hill to fatigue after a stretch of four events in five weeks.
“My game’s been in good shape all year, I just got tired that week,” he said. “I had flown back to London to see my little boy and wife, and it was just slightly off. Timing was off.”
Casey now returns to competition at the Shell Houston Open, where he earned his first, and to date only PGA Tour win in 2009. Any minor swing woes have been resolved thanks to a recent practice session, and Casey is eager to build momentum in advance of his first Masters start since 2012.
“It’s right there, I had just struggled for whatever reason,” he said. “It took me probably an hour on the range with Peter Kostis, and it was back. It’s just silly, isn’t it?”