Masters first round leader and Ryder Cup star Paul Casey talks golf highs and lows, fears, trantrums and crying while watching E.T!
What was the lowest moment in your golf career?
When I dislocated my shoulder snowboarding at the end of 2011. I didn’t think it was going to be that bad, but it ended up costing me a year’s worth of decent golf.
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Not only was it self-inflicted but it was even more frustrating because I’d worked so hard, having played great golf earlier in my career and then having lost my game and fought to get it back. To do something like that was pretty distressing at the time.
And the highest moment in career?
I still go back to the first career win at Gleneagles in the 2001 Scottish PGA. I beat Alex Cejka by a stroke with a six-foot birdie putt on the last hole. I’d always wanted to be a professional golfer but never knew if I could or would.
That still resonates today. I didn’t and don’t have the rock-solid belief that people think you have, that you’re destined to do that. I’ve never thought that. It’s still one of the coolest things ever to think, ‘Holy sh*t, I just won!’
When was the last time you cried?
I cry watching movies usually. I didn’t cry when my son was born funnily enough, but I do during E.T. and things like that.
What was the scariest moment of your life?
Probably watching my first son Lex being born. I didn’t pass out thankfully but let’s just say I’m not a big fan of things where it’s out of my control. At that point, my part in it was over.
Have you ever broken a golf club?
Yes. The last one I broke was about 15 years ago, though. Second tee at Gleneagles, during the Scottish PGA. I was one of the last guys to still be using a steel shaft in my driver at that point and I banged it very hard on the ground and the shaft collapsed and I played the rest of the round with a three-wood. I managed to hit the uphill par-5 18th there in two with the three-wood. It was quite impressive. I haven’t broken one since but I’ve wanted to.
Who’s your favourite band or type of music?
Absolutely anything. It goes from dance, to rock, to alternative, to indie bands and everything in between. I still buy vinyl.
What really gets under your skin?
Slow drivers. Or people on phones in the car. You see that more in the US than the UK.
What do you miss most about the UK?
Cheese, beer, bread. It seems to be all food, doesn’t it? Watching cricket on a nice afternoon, drinking a pint of bitter. The sense of humour. And the driving. People drive faster over there.
Who’s the player you’d least like to fight?
Ernie Els is right up there. I couldn’t handle that. And the size of his hands, my goodness me, they’re huge mitts.
Where’s the place you’ve always wanted to visit but haven’t?
New Zealand. It looks like it has amazing outdoor activities and outdoor sports – biking, snowboarding, which I’m not allowed to do now. It looks like it has it all. I’m attracted to mountains more than I am to water.
Are you a night owl or early sleeper?
I used to be a night owl and that completely changed since having a little one. I was in bed by 8.30 the other night and was asleep by 10 or 10.30. I’ve turned into an early bird now.
Who’s the funniest player on tour or what’s the best joke you’ve heard?
The caddies are usually funnier than the players if we’re being honest. Dean Elliott, who used to caddie for Stephen Ames, is incredibly funny. Pete Cowen has a sneaky sense of humour, too.
Here’s one joke he tells: A magician is doing a show on the Titanic every day and his parrot always ruins them by yelling out it’s up his sleeve or behind his back just as he gets to the grand reveal. Then the fateful night comes, the ship hits the iceberg and the magician has made his way onto a lifeboat. The parrot then lands on his shoulder and says, ‘I give up. What did you do with the f*cking boat?’