Casey takes the positives

7/19/2010 9:55:35 AM
Louis Oosthuizen (L)  and Paul Casey   (Getty Images)
Louis Oosthuizen (L) and Paul Casey (Getty Images)

A top-three finish in the 139th Open at St Andrews has given Paul Casey renewed hope after battling back from the worst spell of his career.

Eight months ago the Englishman was wrestling with significant doubts about whether he would ever be able to compete again at the highest level after a rib injury caused him to question his future.

Eight months ago he pulled out of the fourth round of the HSBC Champions event in China because the problem was so bad.

It was then he began to wonder whether he would ever regain his game but his performance at St Andrews this week has done much to eradicate his concerns.

Starting the day four shots behind runaway champion Louis Oosthuizen the 33 year old knew it would take a considerable swing for him to overtake the South African.

A triple-bogey seven at the 12th put paid to any chance he had of catching his playing partner.

He eventually signed for a round of 75 which dropped him down to a share of third with Henrik Stenson and Rory McIlroy.

And despite the disappointment that was encouragement enough after his injury nightmare.

"The scariest [time] was HSBC in China. I tore the muscles at WGC-Bridgestone event (in August), got to HSBC, thought I was ready to go and in final round felt exactly the same pain I felt when I tore them at Bridgestone and had to withdraw," he said.

"I'll be honest, it was very scary. I was very worried about it.

"I thought, is this something I'm going to be battling the rest of my career? Am I done? Will I ever be pain-free? I had no idea and I was pretty down and upset about it.

"It's nearly a year on since a pretty down period for me and so I'm having a blast.

"As disappointed as I am with the way I played today, Louis was in a different league.

"That softens my disappointment slightly, because it was a tremendous performance. Hats off to him."

Oosthuizen played so well, having led from early on Friday, it was always going to take a spectacular collapse for anyone else to stand a chance.

Casey briefly got close, within three shots when he bogeyed the eighth, but from there it was something of a procession.

"It was a frustrating day. I played pretty solid for most of it, certainly got a few bad breaks," said World Number Ten Casey.

"Having said that, even if you take away the mistakes I made - the couple of sevens I've had this week - I don't think it was good enough to get near Louis.

"That was an unbelievable performance. He was very calm, played wonderful golf, and all credit to him.

"I'm disappointed but the emphasis has to be on that performance, because that was fantastic.

"I'm disappointed not to get second place but that's the way it goes."