2011 British Open Golf: Will Paul Casey Find His Game at Royal St. George?
A year ago, Louis Oosthuizen dominated the field at St. Andrews, winning by a remarkable seven strokes.
But people tend to forget, that through three rounds the Open Championships wasn't completely a run away: Paul Casey had also strung together three consecutive sub-70 rounds and was only four shots off Oosthuizen's pace.
Casey's final roudn 75, however ended any chance of a great charge and an Englishman claiming the Claret Jug for the first time in nearly two decades.
Since then, Casey, who was once ranked in the Top 10, has seen a series of ups and downs. He tied for 12th at the very next major, the PGA, won on the European Tour back in early January, and posted Top 20s at his first three PGA starts in 2011.
But he's missed the cut at his last three PGA appearances and was a non-factor at the US Open.
So can the 33-year-old regroup this week at the course just 80 miles west of where he grew up in Weybridge, Surrey?
Well, we will find out later this week, but I think there is a good chance the answer is yes.
He's certainly used to playing links, sea-side golf and knows how to navigate the tough English weather. And if his irons are as sharp and exact as they were last year through three rounds at St. Andrews, he will be in position to score.
Furthermore, Casey has played the course before, appearing at the 2003 British Open (he missed the cut), and by coincidence will be playing the first two rounds this year with a man who has won the Open Championship at Royal St. George's. Along with Australia's Aaron Baddeley, Casey is grouped beside Ben Curtis; the threesome hits the course Thursday at 8:58 a.m. (3:58 a.m. EST).