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Casey throws down gauntlet to PGA rivals


Wentworth – Paul Casey warned Rory McIlroy and the rest of
the field at the PGA Championship they best not underestimate him on his return
to competition from a back problem. 

The 2009 PGA winner has been suffering from an inflamed back
joint and had to withdraw from this month’s Tournament Players Championship and
has since undergone therapy on the ailment. 

It was frustrating for the 40-year-old Englishman as he had
been in good form on the US Tour this season, the highlight a win in the
Valspar Open by one stroke from Patrick Reed, who was to go on and win the
Masters a few weeks later, and legend Tiger Woods. 

Casey, whose best performance in a major was tied for third
in the 2010 British Open, said the old adage of beware the injured golfer could
apply to him. 

“Yes. Normally injured golfers are somewhat
prepared,” said Casey at his eve of tournament press conference on
Wednesday. 

“Yeah, I’m genuinely excited. I’ve been looking forward
to this for a long time and when we looked at the schedule and I re-joined the Tour,
you know, this was an obvious event that I was going to put in. 

“With my past successes around this golf course, the
quality field, you know, its stature in the world of golf is so important to
me, and the fact that it’s home and it’s where I grew up, right around the
corner in Weybridge.” 

Casey, who is seeking a 14th European Tour title, said it
was watching golfing greats perform in the PGA Championship that inspired him
to take up the sport. 

“This event is really one of the main reasons why I became
a professional golfer, coming down here and watching Seve (Ballesteros) and
(Sandy) Lyle and Woosie (Ian Woosnam) and (Bernhard) Langer and all those guys
when I was a kid growing up. 

“It has a special place in my heart, so yeah, I can’t
explain how cool it is and how, touch wood, will be good for tomorrow to tee it
up again.” 

Casey, who admits he has missed being able to work out
whilst he has undergone the therapy, says qualifying for the European Ryder Cup
team for the first time in 10 years – he was a member of two winning teams in
the three he played in – is a major ambition this season. 

This year’s Ryder Cup is being staged at Le Golf National
near Paris from September 28-30. 

“It’s always motivation,” said Casey. 

“It’s always one of the big goals that I’ve written
down but it’s compartmentalisation. 

“I mean, it’s why, you know, why I’m doing this. I want
to be on that team. 

“I want to contribute to Europe and win that Cup back,
plain and simple, and I believe I can be a big part of that.”

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