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“Being the hunted is a nice position to be in”
Interview with the
Porsche Brand Ambassador Paul Casey ahead of the Porsche European Open
. Paul Casey is travelling to Hamburg for the
Paul, after winning the 2019
“History plays a huge role in our sport. And this tournament has an incredible history. It’s one of the big events on the European Tour and the European Open’s roll of honour includes golf’s who’s who. Every player on every tour dearly wants to win all the tournaments his heroes won. As a kid at the start of the 1990s, I carried a scoreboard around at the European Open in England when it was played in Walton Heath. They are memories that remain etched in your memory.”
What is more difficult, winning a title or defending it?
“Defending them is a whole lot of fun, but it has never really worked out up until now. I managed it as an amateur, but only once as a pro. Interestingly, I’m under less pressure as the title holder because I don’t have to prove anything anymore. Being the hunted is a good position to be in. The only thing that’s frustrating is when you narrowly miss out on winning. It’s something that no longer comes into the equation at the
Your year has been pretty successful up until now. Victory in Dubai, top placings at the majors and in a number of other tournaments. Where does the consistency come from?
“My bag has contained a new driver since the start of the year. I’m now teeing off better than I’ve done in the last ten years. It’s not about length, it’s far more about control. I know 100 per cent that golf balls don’t do any strange things I can’t explain. It gives me a lot of confidence. And confidence leads to a secure swing, a snowball effect.”
When placing fourth at the PGA Championship, you watched Phil Mickelson’s win from close up. What lessons have you learned from the year’s second major?
“For me at the age of 43, Phil Mickelson at over 50 really is an inspiration. As for Phil, I think two things have been important. He has remained injury-free. And he has retained his passion for the sport. He is playing at the same level as he was ten, 20 years ago, and appears to be as fit as ever. His continuing motivation is impressive.”
How does one conserve the passion for the sport over decades?
“For me it’s important to have other passions. If golf is everything, then you get burned out quickly. At the same time, your other passions should not take up too much of your time. It’s about finding a balance, and everybody is different. But I’ve got many other things that give me lots of fun, starting with sports cars. It helps when you suffer setbacks.”
Setbacks are the focus of this year’s campaign that you have initiated with
“We looked into the difficulties people sometimes have when they try to move forwards, especially in the past one-and-a-half years. It goes back to motivation, to problems and crises that we all know. In sport we often concentrate on being successful. One sees the cups, the celebrations. But I spend 99 per cent of my time not trying to hit the perfect shot, not to winning. There are so many doubts, injuries, disappointments, wrong decisions. The message is: you can grow with the challenge. Hit the next shot. It’s about staying power.”
Does the search for perfection ever come to an end?
“No, there are always things that can be improved, especially when it comes to the golf swing. It’s all about one per cent here and there. There are important minute details. We’re all perfectionists in a sport one will never be able to master perfectly. But we try to perfect the thing we can’t perfect.”
To what extent has you approach been affected by the past challenging months?
“We’re all learning momentarily just how important friendships are, social contacts and experiencing things together. It’s also why I’m looking forward to Hamburg. I haven’t seen many of the boys on the European Tour for a long time now. At the same time, it is nice to see how many supporters like sponsors or organisers there are that believe in the game of golf and that have made it possible for us to also play golf tournaments in these times. Perhaps it is down to golf embodying much of what is important to people in general – honesty, discipline and fairness. Just how difficult the situation is at the moment is something we can see with the
What have you missed on the Tour in the past months?
“Eating with a knife and fork from a plate. All the food really was packed on the Tour, for good reason. But much more important, spectators. At the PGA Championship, I felt the energy that the fans exude for the first time. It was intoxicating. And now we also have fans back at the venue in Hamburg. I can hardly wait. Golf with spectators is a completely different kettle of fish. Something that‘s unfortunately not going to work out is that I can drive from London to Hamburg with a
It was something you had planned on doing?
“Yes, it would have been cool, don’t you think? It means I now have to go the long way around when travelling from the golf club to the hotel and back to get to see the surrounding countryside a bit and drive some beautiful roads. Best of all in the Leader’s Car. It was a great idea in 2019 and people were waving to me the whole time. Especially as “Leader” was written in big letters on the side. A quite special feeling. Or I win the hole-in-one vehicle, the
You’ve been a
“It really is an honour. I gain a lot from the partnership because I’m so motorsport crazy myself. And if I am going to be authentic when advocating something, then it has to be something I also want to do. It’s why I’m so happy with everything we’ve done together – campaigns, podcasts, events. I want to fulfil my ambassador role to the full and I’m free to do it – it’s fantastic. And I’m getting to know many wonderful people with whom I can talk motorsport. It’s incredibly inspiring.”
Brand Ambassador as a part of the
As the first ambassador from the world of golf, Casey complements the
Further information, film and photo material in the