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A Whirlwind Trip

July 19, 2010

By Laury Livsey, PGA TOUR Staff

ETOBICOKE, Ontario, Canada—When we left Paul Casey, he was walking off the Old Course at the St. Andrews Golf Club in Scotland, seeing another chance at winning that elusive major championship he so desires slip through his hands. Instead of “Paul Casey” getting the engraved treatment on the British Open’s Claret Jug, it was “Louis Oosthuizen.”


Was Casey’s tie-for-third performance at the British Open a disappointment? Absolutely. But he found a way to smile anyway, and he did it with gusto Monday at the Mike Weir Charity Classic at St. George’s Golf and Country Club.


“[Sunday’s] finish was very disappointing to finish where I did. Still, I had a great opportunity to win, but I don’t think I could have played good enough golf to catch Louis,” Casey said. “It was unbelievable stuff.”


Casey, who finished eight strokes behind Oosthuizen, left the Old Course on Sunday night, packed his clothes, took a quick shower and headed for Edinburgh Airport, where he caught an RBC chartered flight reserved for Casey and all the other players who had played the British who were also competing in this week’s RBC Canadian Open. 


“We didn’t get in to Toronto until about midnight. I didn’t get to sleep until 2 o’clock, and I woke up at 6 a.m. in a panic wondering what country I was in and when my tee time was,” Casey said.


Toronto, Canada, Paul, and you’ll be just fine. The Mike Weir Charity Classic begins at 11.


Casey did admit he was a little out of his routine. Mondays are usually an off day, but he made a special exception to start this week. Instead of doing his laundry, which he says is a typical Monday chore, Casey made good on a promise he made to Weir several months earlier.


“I was approached directly by Mike, and he asked me to play here,” Casey explained. “When you get a player who comes directly and says, ‘Could you help out?’ that’s all you need, really. I haven’t known too much about Mike’s foundation, but I’ve read up on it now, and I think, How easy is this? I turn up on a Monday, I play good golf, I play with these [amateurs] who are great guys. It doesn’t suck. It’s in George’s. It’s a wonderful golf course. And it’s for charity.”


Casey certainly understands why his fellow PGA TOUR players organize days like the one Weir had Monday, and he recognizes that he, too, is drawn to charitable giving. Earlier this season, Casey and his wife, Jocelyn, made good on a promise to donate a portion of his winnings from his victory at the 2009 Shell Houston Open to Houston-area charities through the Shell Houston Open Foundation. The Caseys’ “portion” amounted to $100,000.


“Our sport, even in this economic climate, is still incredibly lucrative. We’re very fortunate we can raise large amounts of money,” Casey said.


Since becoming an established PGA TOUR star, Casey has put most of his charity muscle into helping grow Youth Sports Trust, a United Kingdom organization whose mission is to establish a brighter future for youth through sports and physical education.


“I decided to pair up with the Youth Sport Trust in the UK. They have lots of programs, so we can pick and choose within their large charity what we can help fund and give time and energy toward,” Casey said. “Sports teach kids a lot about life. It gives them a lot of great attributes that they can use in life. If maybe they turn out to be athletes, that’s great. But that’s not the primary concern. That’s why we paired up with Youth Sports Trust.


“As professionals, we’re rewarded royally,” Casey continued, “so doing golf days and charity days like today I find are gratifying and therapeutic as we direct those funds and give back. I make my money through winnings, and then I like to put back into charity.”


Sometimes Casey’s “put back” is through a financial donation, and sometimes it’s through the giving of his time, meaning his dirty clothes have to stay that way for one more day. Plus, in comparing the two—getting clothes washed or spending a beautiful summer day on a classic, tree-lined golf course—there really isn’t a decision.


“It’s great to get out on the golf course on a Monday,” said the native of Cheltenham, England, who splits his time between homes in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Weybridge, England. “If today weren’t a charity day, you wouldn’t see me here at the course. Simple as that. I would have a Monday off. But this is easy. Eleven o’clock shotgun with Mike Weir and his friends. Count me in.”


Casey then looks up the 18th fairway. He has about 195 yards to the center of the green. It’s 4:15 in the afternoon, and he only has a couple of holes left to play. He’s been awake for a little more than 10 hours and hasn’t even been in Canada for a full day. Yet Casey knows exactly what country he’s in—and who he is.

 

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