It’s not long now until HSC crowns the victor of its Hampton’s Greatest Sporting Moments competition – we’re into Group Seven. Here, we’re recounting Paul Casey OH (1993)’s exceptional Ryder Cup career. This will compete against three other moments in Group Seven. Vote in our Twitter poll on Friday to decide your favourite moments – the winner will progress to the quarter-final stage!
In the Autumn 2016 edition of Hampton Sports Chronicle, former editor Lourenco Anunciacao investigated the career earnings of various Hampton sportsmen in a bid to find out who would come out on top. The answer, unsurprisingly, was a certain Paul Casey, whose earnings of over $30 million dwarfed his nearest competitor.
Lourenco also sought to find out who the most popular OH was on social media. Again, Casey came out on top, with 156,790 Twitter followers, some 150,000 more than his nearest competitor, former rugby player Seb Jewell.
If we follow these – admittedly fairly flawed – measures of an OH sportsman’s success, Casey is out in front by a long way. But, as a three-time Ryder Cup winner, Casey could well have a claim to the award anyway.
Casey left Hampton in 1993 and was awarded a scholarship to Arizona State University, alma mater of a certain Phil Mickelson, among others who have since gone on to stardom.
After starring on the European Tour since joining in 2001, Casey was selected for Europe’s Ryder Cup team – often considered the most prestigious accolade within the sport. The OH helped Europe to an 18 ½ – 9 ½ victory, the nine-point victory margin being the joint-largest in Ryder Cup history.
Two years later, Casey was selected again. After just missing out on the European Tour of Merit title in 2006 when Padraig Harrington overtook him at the final event, the OH travelled to Ireland for his second Ryder Cup outing.
After a formidable debut, expectations had grown higher for the Englishman, and his performance in Kildare did little to dampen the excitement. Casey became the first player in Ryder Cup history to win a foursomes match with a hole-in-one – a feat which, to this day, is yet to be matched.
Casey would be selected for his third consecutive Ryder Cup in 2008, but two years later was inexplicably left out by captain Colin Montgomerie. Despite being ranked 7th in the world, which would have made him third highest in the European team, Montgomerie opted for Irishman Padraig Harrington in his stead.
It began a period of relative exile for Casey, who gave up his place on the European tour, citing a need to lessen his travel. He rejoined the tour in late 2017, and his enforced hiatus from Ryder Cup action came to an end in thrilling fashion at Le Golf National in 2018.
Seeking to avenge defeat from 2016, Casey won 1 ½ points for the team, but his record doesn’t speak of his role in a remarkable match-winning effort, in which Europe asserted their dominance over the USA to win their sixth consecutive home competition.
While it is harder to measure the impact of certain moments in individual sports, as golf is, even in the Ryder Cup, Casey’s role in winning one of the world’s most prestigious sporting competitions must be taken seriously. Few Hamptonians can boast of three Ryder Cup medals in their prize cabinet, and Casey may well secure a fourth this September, if it takes place and he is selected for the event in Wisconsin.