Paul Casey targets Ryder Cup spot after landmark victory at Dubai Desert Classic

Paul Casey targets Ryder Cup spot after landmark victory at Dubai Desert Classic

January 31, 2021

Paul Casey celebrates his four-shot victory

Paul Casey held his nerve to secure a 15th European Tour victory

“I’ve realised how much I love doing what I do but in an environment with people watching. It could be heckling or cheering, that’s part of what we do.

“Last year was rubbish but I’m now enjoying my golf, I feel fine with where I’m at.

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“I’ve worked incredibly hard over the last few months. Here I am rejuvenated, sponsors, new equipment and a couple of people standing around a golf course. I feel totally different.”

Casey turned in level par 35 but that was enough for a three-shot advantage which he extended to five with five to play.

That gap was trimmed over the closing holes but the 43-year-old never looked in any danger as he cruised to a triumph that moves him back into the world’s top 20.

“It was the trickiest conditions all week,” he said. “I didn’t look at the leaderboard until I came down the 18th so didn’t know what was going on.

“I was just trying to keep my nose clean. I did what I needed to do.”

The victory boosts Casey’s chances of being named in the team for September’s Ryder Cup and captain Padraig Harrington was waiting at the finish to congratulate him on his victory but the Englishman says he wants to win his place in the team on merit.

Casey, who has appeared in four Ryder Cups, said: “There’s a long way to go. I’d love to be part of this team, in any capacity.

“I’m a long way back in points – my world ranking points in California last week don’t count – which means I’m a bit behind so this is a big boost.

“I want to make the team, I don’t like being a pick if I can help it. I’ll accept it but I don’t really want to if I can.”

Casey, whose victory enables him to equal both Harrington and former captain Thomas Bjorn for European Tour wins, says MacIntyre would be a worthy addition to the Ryder Cup team.

“He’s got very strong possibility of being in Paddy’s Ryder Cup team,” he said. “He was brilliant. He was great to play with, if anything he helped me.

“I’d feel very comfortable standing next to him on the first tee at Whistling Straits. And he’s only going to get better and better.”

PA

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