Paul Casey is hoping to defend a European Tour title for the first time in his career as he returns to the site of his Porsche European Open victory two years ago at Green Eagle Golf Courses.
Paul Casey, statements
“It’s my second defence which was delayed, I had one in the States as well with the Valspar. Finally, here we are. It means I had the trophy for an extra year. I’m super excited to be here, but I’m really happy for everybody here in Hamburg, at Porsche, the promoters, the other sponsors and the European Tour. It’s one thing me being delayed a year for my title defence – but knowing the energy, and money, that went into last year’s event that never happened, I can only imagine the disappointment that everybody had. You can see the relief and joy on everybody’s face that we’re here and finally going to get this thing going, it couldn’t be better.. I’d love another victory. I’ve managed to successfully defend a title before, but I haven’t done it on the European Tour. I would love to defend this one and continue that strong run of form. There’s a lot to play for, a lot of points, various teams to make that I’m not yet guaranteed to be on. Obviously I want to stay near the top of the Race to Dubai and give myself a chance to win that, because that’s another thing I’ve never won. There’s lots of things to play for this week. The tournaments I’ve played in the US in recent weeks now have an energy to them we didn’t have before,” he said. “It makes you realise sport is not the same without that fan element, without that spectator element, 2,000 is a really good number of people. People have got to be spaced, but that’s a good number of people and a good amount of energy and hopefully something I can draw from this week. To be honest, Valspar and The Players, that’s when thing have started to change and I’ve noticed an up-tick in my play and a sharpness and a focus, an added layer. It might be some of it is a little bit of pressure, you’re now in people’s gaze. You’re there under scrutiny and something about that has raised my focus.”
Mexico’s Abraham Ancer will make his first appearance on Continental Europe this week as he contends with the formidable Porsche Nord Course at the Porsche European Open.
“I played here for the first time yesterday in the Pro-Am and the golf course is an absolute beast. It’s going to be a true test. You have to hit it far and straight. It was pretty windy and that back nine was one of the toughest I’ve ever played; it’s going to be a true challenge, you have to hit it really good out here. I definitely wish I could hit it maybe another 20 or 30 yards farther with my driver. You have to be in the fairway so driving accuracy will be important. With these green complexes and a lot of long irons into par threes it’s going to be extremely important to have a good ball-striking week, that’ll be the key. If not, your short game has to be super, super on-point. It’s a ball-strikers paradise out here. I love travelling and getting to see different places I’ve never been and what better way than playing in a tournament? I really enjoy seeing different golf courses and different conditions. I’ve been able to do that a few times on the European Tour at the Irish Open and in Saudi Arabia. So far this week has been really nice – the people have been incredibly nice and the hotel is great. I wish I could go out and about and check out the city. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to do that and have to stay in the bubble. That’s okay, I’ll be back when everything is a bit more normal and be able to check out Hamburg a lot more than this week.”