It might just be coincidence that Paul Casey has been playing incredibly well since he was snubbed by Colin Montgomerie for a Ryder Cup captain’s pick. Or it might have motivated him to prove a point. Casey won’t admit to it, but he doesn’t need to — his play and smile say enough.
Casey took a share of the first-round lead at the Tour Championship, shooting a four-under 66 in tough conditions at East Lake. It was also his sixth round in a row in the 60s.
When asked if the Ryder Cup snub provided extra motivation to win this week, Casey said, “No, this is — for me I’ve got an opportunity to accomplish one of the goals which I set for myself at the beginning of the year, so that’s — now that the tournament is started, I’m just trying to put myself in that position to win and then tick off that goal, which would be a huge goal. I’m not getting wrapped up in any sort of extra motivation. I don’t need extra motivation. I’m motivated enough.”
That’s certainly a mature response. But come on, it would have to be at least a little satisfying to see Monty squirm. The $11.35 million prize wouldn’t be a bad consolation prize either.
Since Casey is fifth in FedEx Cup points going into the week, he automatically captures the FedEx Cup (and $10 million bonus) if he wins the Tour Championship.
Instead of going to Wales, Casey made vacation plans to go biking in Whistler, but he still plans to watch the matches. “I don’t know what it’ll be like watching it,” he said. “But for me, before I was on Tour, I thought it was one of the best sporting events on TV, if not the best.”
I can’t imagine it will be easy to watch. And of course, money can’t buy playing in the Ryder Cup, but closing the year with a prestigious win and an extra $11.35 million dollars would certainly make the sting a little less painful.