It wouldn’t be considered sound strategy to play a tournament without having gone around for a practice round. But for Paul Casey, unforeseen travel woes and some pressing business matters forced a change of plans at New Orleans.
It seems like just yesterday that the Englishman was ranked No. 3 in the world, but he’s now 36 and playing out of the Past Champion category after some down years and assorted injuries. Offered a sponsor exemption into the Zurich Classic, Casey was making just his seventh start and certainly every chance is precious. That’s why Casey, who had never seen TPC Louisiana, made plans for a Monday practice round, especially since he had to be in Los Angeles on Wednesday.
“I was doing some green-card stuff,” Casey said.
Sounds dramatic, but the truth is, Casey and a host of his PGA Tour colleagues face this sort of business often, a testament to how many of them are not U.S. citizens.
Casey found himself in a predicament when he couldn’t travel from Hilton Head Island, S.C., to New Orleans on Sunday. If he waited until Monday to fly, chances are he wouldn’t have gotten in much of a practice round, because he still had to fly out that night.
“Because of that delayed flight, I scrapped those plans and went straight (home),” Casey said.
No practice round, but Casey squared away his green card, got back to New Orleans on Wednesday night and was first off Thursday morning.
“Really, just winging (TPC Louisiana) completely blind,” Casey said, “but it’s paid off.”
After shooting 68-64 in the middle rounds, Casey finished in a tie for 11th, missing by just one stroke a top-10 spot that would have booked him into this week’s Wells Fargo Championship.
Still, a positive experience, though Casey conceded, “I’m not sure I’ll continue the trend of skipping practice rounds.”