/ 18 September 2006

Casey fired up for Ryder Cup

New World Matchplay champion Paul Casey has told European captain Ian Woosnam he is ready to play all five matches in the Ryder Cup match against the United States that starts on Friday at Ireland’s K Club.

Casey won the World Matchplay final against Shaun Micheel 10 and 8 playing 124 holes in four days, a record low for the tournament winner.

But despite playing four matches, Casey says he is confident he can cope with playing five times in three days if required to by Woosnam and would even take on Tiger Woods.

Woods beat Casey in the singles in the 2004 match at Oakland Hills when Darren Clarke prompted him to volunteer for the job but the Englishman says he would do the same thing again this week.

Casey said: ”I will go wherever Woosie wants me to go. If I get patted on the back again by Darren Clarke then I will take it as a compliment that they think I am capable of doing it. I’ve got to get myself ready in case they send me over the top.

”This win does not change the way I look at myself but it might change the way other guys look at me. I am going to play as many matches as Woosie wants me to play and I am happy to play in all five if I am asked.

”I was very tired yesterday [Saturday] against Colin Montgomerie, my legs were a bit dead, but I feel fine now. If I get tired my legs go quiet and I can’t control the golf ball but I have worked very hard in the physio’s truck where I have had treatment after every match this week.”

This was the biggest win and cheque, for £1-million, of Casey’s career and took him to the top of the European Order of Merit. Casey confirmed that his next aim is to stay on top of the money list and win a Major championship.

”It is an attainable goal,” he added, ”and one that is in sight. It is a real goal now but it was a real goal before. I think it is just like standing on the 10th green today [Sunday] and looking at the names who have won this matchplay title.

”It is the same with the Order of Merit — it is the who’s who. I would dearly love to put my name on that list. It’s not about the Euros or the pounds. It’s about putting your name down in history.

”It is about knowing my name will be there forever. It is just belief, believing that you should be in this position and that you are capable of winning world-class events and that’s something that Luke Donald and David Howell have.

”Luke is very hungry for a Major and Howell has won huge events — he went up against Tiger in China and that’s why I have got to chase those guys and start believing that I am capable of winning big events like this.”

Casey, who was never behind in a match after the second day, added: ”It is easier leading in matchplay. It is a different situation to strokeplay where leading can be very, very demanding.

”It is easy to chase in stroke play but difficult in match play.” — Sapa-AFP