Casey wants close-up of Tiger’s return
Paul Casey would like to be a playing partner of Tiger Woods when he makes his comeback.
With mounting speculation that Tiger Woods could be only two weeks away from his comeback, England’s Paul Casey has said he would like to be right up close when it happens.
The world number one has been out of the game since allegations about his private life emerged following a car crash in November.
“I’ve got to say yes,” commented Casey when asked if he fancied being a playing partner for Woods’ return.
“It could be interesting, though. The sort of scrutiny will be on a level that’s probably something we’ve never witnessed before.
“I’ve always enjoyed playing with the best players in the world, and especially the number one player in the world.
“There’s always a lot of extra sort of distraction out there, but this time around it could be even more so.”
Woods’ last tournament was the Australian Masters he won in November. Two weeks later came the car crash outside his home that sparked all manner of stories about his private life.
Admitting infidelity and then announcing an indefinite break from the game, Woods did not appear again in public until his televised statement on February 19.
During that he said he was not sure to make his comeback this year but he is thought to be back practising now.
His first competitive golf could be the Tavistock Cup at his home club of Isleworth in Florida on March 22-23.
That is a private match against Lake Nona but later the same week is the Arnold Palmer Invitational at nearby Bay Hill – he is the defending champion – and, if he is to play a tournament before The Masters on April 8-11, that seems the obvious one.
In the meantime, Casey hopes to take further advantage of Woods’ absence at the CA world championship in Miami starting on Thursday.
The 32-year-old is one of the favourites after finishing runner-up to fellow Englishman Ian Poulter at the WGC-Accenture Match Play and then coming fourth at the Honda Classic on Sunday.
This week’s event has only 68 players in it, with Woods missing and Japanese teenager Ryo Ishikawa not playing either because he has a school graduation ceremony at home.
Almost a third of the field are Europeans, including Luke Donald, whose American wife Diane gave birth to their first child, a girl, last week.
Casey, sixth in the world just behind Lee Westwood and Poulter, said: “I don’t really have an answer for why there are so many Englishmen in the top 10 or top 100, but I’m quite enjoying it.
“It’s a bit of a race right now. Each one of us wants to win a major and who’s going to be the first guy to do it?
“It’s a cosy feeling with many friends of mine up in the world rankings, but it shouldn’t be confused with complacency or a relaxed sort of atmosphere.
“Everyone is pushing each other very, very hard. When Westy is winning the Race to Dubai we all congratulate him, but we want to to win it this year and when Poulter wins the Match Play we want to be the next Englishman to win a PGA Tour event.
“Potential is one thing, but these guys are starting to fulfil it and show everybody we have a lot of great players.”
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