Paul Casey took the safe option yesterday and withdrew from the US PGA Championship rather than put further strain on the rib injury which had forced him to abandon his challenge in last week's WGC Bridgestone Invitational in Ohio. Englishman Casey, winner of three tournaments this year including the Abu Dhabi championship, is desperate to capture his first major honour to endorse his lofty ranking as world No 3 but felt that it was too big a risk to take on the extraordinarily long Hazeltine course.
His intention was to play a practice round on Wednesday before making a decision. He decided against that and went to the driving range instead in the hope of convincing himself that he was fit to negotiate 72 demanding holes on the 7,674-yard Hazeltine layout, the longest course in major championship history. Casey, 32, whose absence lets in American alternate Tim Petrovic, said: "I'm very disappointed but I have to look at the bigger picture."
"I will play a lot more majors over my career and I have to be ready for what is coming up the rest of the season with the FedEx Cup and The Race to Dubai. "But it is very frustrating because standing there hitting easy golf swings it is not that bad. It is just starting to pull when you are getting to six irons and longer. "If it is doing that on a flat lie on the range, then I can't risk it on the golf course."
Casey who celebrated his first US PGA Tour victory earlier this year, added: "It seems like there has been a lot of guys who have had similar issues in the past and the advice I have been given from the experts and a lot of the players is don't push it too quickly." @Email:email@example.com