2008 Masters: Casey falters, but British future hopes get boost

Augusta, Ga. | Nick Faldo’s reign as the last British winner of the Masters goes on

for another year. Yet the signs are that it won’t be long until one of Britain’s young guns follows in Faldo’s footsteps.

It looked for all the world that this year another Brit might join Faldo, Ian Woosnam and Sandy Lyle in the champions’ locker room.

Brits are supposed to be able to handle 25 mph winds like those over the links courses of the British Isles. That’s why Paul Casey seemed to be the man heading into the final round.

Thursday closed with five Brits – Casey, Ian Poulter, Luke Donald, Justin Rose and Lee Westwood – in contention. By Sunday, Casey was the only one left to try and match Faldo’s 1996 victory.

“The golf course suits my game right down to the ground,” Casey said Saturday. “I’ve got the golf shots and the high ball flight that suits this place.

“I’m quite good in bad weather – I’ve played in enough of it over the years.”

By the close of play, Casey was left with yet another collapse in a major. He started the final round of last year’s U.S. Open three shots off the lead in a tie for third, but shot 76 and finished T-10.

His fall from grace was even greater at Augusta. Four shots off the lead in fourth heading into the final round, Casey closed with 79 and fell to T-11. He left Augusta feeling lost.

“It’s very difficult to rationalize,” Casey said.

The Masters may start on the back nine Sunday, but Casey’s ended on Augusta’s front nine.

He was 6 over from the fourth through the eighth holes. His chances weren’t helped when his ball moved as he addressed it on the sixth green about 2 feet from the hole, and he had to call a penalty on himself.

“That took the wind out of my sails,” Casey said. “It threw me for a couple of holes, and that was it.”

Like the rest of the British contingent, Casey left Augusta wondering what it takes to win a major.

“As they say, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” he said. “Today was disappointing, and I will go away and think about this.”

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