Paul Casey, the winner of 21 tournaments around the world, is looking to add to his impressive trophy cabinet this week at the International Series Vietnam – being played on the Greg Norman-designed KN Golf Links in Cam Rahn.
The US$2 million event will tee off tomorrow and will be the fourth event on the International Series this season and the eighth stop on the Asian Tour with many players battling it out for the top spot on The International Series Order of Merit and duly winning a place in next year’s flourishing LIV Golf League.
Casey who has never played in Vietnam says his goal this week is to triumph in what is the biggest and most lucrative golf tournament ever staged in the country: “The goal is always, when you get on a plane at any event around the world is, to win. I’ve won I think a couple of times on the Asian Tour but never on The International Series and never won in Vietnam, never played golf in Vietnam, so that’s the goal this week.
“We’ve got some great players in Ogletree and Ormsby playing this week and Anirban is playing this week, I’ve got to keep my head down and try to play some great golf on a great golf course and see what happens.”
L-R- Anirban Lahiri of India, Michael Tran of Vietnam, Paul Casey of England and Wade Ormsby of Australia pictured with the winner’s trophy at a press conference on Wednesday. Picture by Paul Lakatos/Asian Tour.
The 45 year old has previously won twice on the Asian Tour with both victories coming in China in 2005, at the TCL Classic and the Volvo China Open. Most recently Casey has found success on the LIV Golf League winning the team event with Crushers GC at LIV Golf Mayakoba, where he also finished fourth individually.
Speaking of his LIV Golf experience, he said: “It was my second time on a podium, first team victory so that was quite cool. I guess that is the interesting thing about LIV now, I’m a guy who played college golf, I played with, believe it or not, Pat Perez, Matt Jones and there’s other guys who went to the famous Sun Devils (Arizona State University) – Phil Mickelson, Jon Rahm. I’ve sent Jon Rahm a lot of texts this year saying congratulations, I just copy and paste now!”
Casey alluded to the innovative initiative that is The International Series and recognises how important it is to have the newly formed enterprise as part of the Asian Tour.
“I think it is very important now. I’ve played sporadically on the Asian Tour and coming back and playing a couple of them you can feel the vibe, you can actually feel that things have been elevated, there’s a clear pathway now for guys who play well on the Asian Tour,” he said.
“You can feel that there is a different level to everything but yet it’s got the same warm feeling that the Asian Tour has always had, the people are so nice, the staff are amazing. I’m really happy with this, where it’s at and it’s going to get better and better and better and a great reward for the guys that play well, so The International Series is real.”
Casey played the Pro-Am on Wednesday. Picture by Paul Lakatos/Asian Tour.
The Englishman will tee it off at 11:50am local time alongside the previous winner on The International Series stage, Wade Ormsby who triumphed in Thailand last month, and Taichi Kho who was victorious in latest Asian Tour event, the World City Championship.
Casey has his family here supporting this week, and is looking forward to the all-round experience in Vietnam for both himself and his children: “It’s great fun, it’s nice to bring the kids somewhere around the world and wonderful they get to see Vietnam a little bit, it’s an experience. It’s not just living in your neighbourhood, wherever that happens to be around the world, you’ve got to see the world a little bit and this is something that is very different to what they experience at home.”