Truth & Rumors: Casey's biking adventure, the pressure to win $10 million, and the downside to Ryder Cup glory

Thursday September 23rd, 2010

Casey's Ryder Cup Plans The pressure of the Ryder Cup will send Paul Casey to Canada. Casey, ranked among the top 10 in the world, was famously passed over for a spot on the European team this year. To get away from it all and avoid the matches, he'll spend next week biking in the Canadian wildnerness.

Casey could be going to Canada with $10 million in his bank account if he wins the FedEx Cup this weekend at the Tour Championship, and he's in great position to do that, starting from the fifth spot in the FedEx Cup points list, writes Jeff Shain in the Orlando Sentinel. If he wins the Tour Championship, he'll win the FedEx Cup title, too. Two trophies, all that cash--Canada would never look so good, would it?

Think of it: While Europe's "finest" are slugging it out, the FedEx Cup champion is making like Lance Armstrong eight time zones away.

"It's the nightmare scenario for Colin Montgomerie," opined the Irish Independent.

A little ironic, too. It was five years ago that Casey –- who has made his home in Phoenix since coming to play collegiately at Arizona State -– was savaged on these shores for saying the Euros "properly hate" their American rivals. You know, much like Ohio State properly hates Michigan. Or Alabama properly hates Auburn. Rivalry. Some fans didn't get it, and Casey paid a price.

Now plenty of Yanks have come rushing to Casey's defense. Upon seeing Casey hole a long putt at the BMW Championship, one patron joked that maybe it was a good thing Montgomerie left him off. A fan in Boston offered to help Casey expedite a green card.

Casey admits it took him two days to get over the snub, soothed eventually by a round of golf with friends at stately Pine Valley. Now he's simply focused on the FedEx Cup –- and not that it's a consolation prize.

"There's not a hole to fill," he said. "This is now a whole separate thing."

If Casey wins this week, he could laugh all the way to the bank. But from where he'll be in the wilds of Canada, it could be a long ride.

More Money, More Problems?The real relevant question regarding the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup was asked by Andrew Both of the Australian Associated Press: Is $10 million enough to make a player choke? Aussie Geoff Ogilvy's answer was a cautious yes:

"If we get someone to whom $10 million means a lot, we might see the effect on a guy," Ogilvy said. "To Tiger, Phil and Vijay it probably doesn't matter. Pretty much everyone else is probably going to notice 10 million going into their bank account.

"It's not my motivating factor but you'd definitely be thinking about it on Sunday if you were in (contention) for it. That's a lot of money ... I don't go to the range during the year to win that 10 million. I go to the range to become a better golfer. If I do, then money will take care of itself. If you play good enough golf, you make so much money in this game it doesn't matter anyway, so that would be just a really good bonus."

The outlandish payout is the main attraction of the FedEx Cup. Ten million bucks had better be enough to make the players think during their backswings. The players should be happy to be playing for it because when the FedEx deal expires in two years, the PGA Tour will be hard pressed to find another deal as lucrative. Ryder Ramifications Maybe the big question at next week's Ryder Cup shouldn't be, who's going to win? Maybe it should be, what happens after the victory? Philip Walton, 48, scored the crucial point for Europe's 1995 victory at Oak Hill, its second on U.S. soil. That moment, writes Liam Kelly for the Irish Independent, may have started a slide for Walton, who iced the victory with his singles win over Jay Haas on the 18th green.

Walton doesn't exactly know how or why, but somehow the 1995 Ryder Cup caused the inner rhythm of his golf game to stutter and fade; slowly, incrementally, but the demise was unstoppable.

"In some ways Oak Hill 1995 probably wasn't the best thing that ever happened me. I played okay in 1996, but the real effect began to show in 1997. Something went from me. I felt it, but it's very hard to explain. Definitely that Ryder Cup did take something from me," he says.

"Maybe it's that I'm not one for the limelight and I couldn't easily go for all that stuff. In 1997 I said to myself, 'I'd love to take a year out', but I couldn't do that, so I went on.

"The following year, 1998, I made 13 cuts, all of them in the big-money tournaments, and I made only €25,000. That was the turning point, and once you start slipping in this game, it's very hard to stop it."

Walton played on a handful of sponsors' invitations in 1999 but didn't make enough to regain his playing rights on the European Tour.

The early to mid-2000s were spent going to Tour school and in 2005, finally, he won his card back.

"In 2006 I got 15 starts, went to South Africa, China, Malaysia, but didn't make enough money. I went back to Tour School a couple of times but that's not for me at this stage.

"I'm playing the Irish Region. Mainly it's Pro-Ams, and when I'm 50 in a year and a half, I'll look at the Seniors Tour. It's something to aim at," adds Walton.

Will winning the crucial point cause a career letdown for another Ryder Cup player next week?

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