Tuesday, 26 March 2019
Paul Casey  (Getty Images)
Paul Casey (Getty Images)

Paul Casey believes his latest victory has revitalised his game as he tees up at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play as a seeded player.

The Englishman won the Valspar Championship crown on the US PGA Tour on Sunday after fending off a late push from fellow European Tour member Louis Oosthuizen to successfully defend his title from 12 months earlier.

The 13 time European Tour winner also came close in the first World Golf Championships of the season when he came tied for third at the WGC - Mexico Championship last month following a superb weekend of low scoring.

And Casey feels his recent form is in similar ilk of when he reached a career high of third in the Official Golf World Rankings in 2009 as he prepares to headline Group 10 where he faces Mexico's Abraham Ancer in his opening round robin match.

"It feels great," Casey said. "Really good. It's obviously been a short week, I'm a little bit tired. I'd like to have a day off to recover, but probably a good thing just to crack on.

"Last week was brilliant. So enjoyable. And what a tough golf course that is. But unlike last year, last year was like this huge kind of relief and quite emotional.

"Sunday was just exciting and felt great. I certainly made mistakes, everybody did but felt like golf I was playing ten years ago, when I was in my 30s rather than my 40s. So very good."

Despite winning the HSBC World Match Play Championship in 2006 and featuring in four Ryder Cups, the 41-year-old is also adamant not underestimate his opponents, where he will also face Australian Cameron Smith and American Charles Howell III in the first three days.

"My match play record is fairly strong," Casey said. "Maybe not a huge success in this particular Dell Match Play at Austin Country Club. But I mean I played well kicking off the Ryder Cup last year in Paris.

"That was a great match against Brooks (Koepka). I know how to play it. I've got massive respect for my group, but I don't really have a group of death. Some unknowns within my group. I know them all, but I don't know how to play. For me I don't give away too many secrets, so I play the course for the most part and you kind of react to the player, if you have to.

I would love to see straight knockout again. Lose and go home - Paul Casey

"But I'm fully aware, I watched Cam play great golf last year with Leishman in the World Cup. Ancer has been playing great. Charles Howell. 'Chucky Three Sticks'. I know Chucky well. They're all dangerous, aren't they? Thank goodness it's match play, wouldn't want to play stroke play.

"I'm the favourite, I'm the seed in the group, I'm very wary of that. I've got the target. Whether it's Chucky Three Sticks, technically I should beat them but we all know in this room that's not even a toss of the coin."

Casey opened up about the possible restructure of the event, which the players voted to retain the current robin round format, but acknowledged the reasons behind his fellow professionals' decision.

"I would love to see straight knockout again," he added. "Lose and go home. But I understand it from trying to sell this from a corporate sponsor's point of view, from an entertainment point of view, you want as much golf as possibly on the weekend. 

"I understand the millions of dollars spent to put on this great event. I know this is entertainment, this is a sport."

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