Casey in a bunker over 'hate' claim towards Americans

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The Independent Online

As team competitions go, golf's version of the World Cup is not quite up there with the Ryder Cup, as Paul Casey inadvertently managed to prove on the eve of the 50th playing of what was originally known as the Canada Cup.

As team competitions go, golf's version of the World Cup is not quite up there with the Ryder Cup, as Paul Casey inadvertently managed to prove on the eve of the 50th playing of what was originally known as the Canada Cup.

Casey, a member of the winning European team at Oakland Hills in September, did not take the escape route of saying he was misquoted in an interview with the Sunday Times. However, he certainly winced at the way his words were presented in yesterday's tabloids, the Mirror using the headline: "Americans are stupid. I hate them."

The 27-year-old from Surrey spends his winters in America, has an American girlfriend and an American coach but whether talking or playing golf, restraint is not always his first instinct. In the interview Casey had been attempting to describe the motivation for the European players at Oakland Hills. "We properly hate them," he was quoted as saying. "We wanted to beat them as badly as possible."

He also said that the newly appointed US captain, Tom Lehman, was not high on some people's Christmas card lists following his involvement in the excessive American celebrations when they won the Ryder Cup at Brookline in 1999.

Paul McGinley, who was also in the victorious European team this year, thought Casey had gone too far. "Hate is a bad word to use," said the Irishman. "It's a terrible thing in sport."

Casey said yesterday: "Americans do have a tendency to wind people up. When they are chanting 'USA', it just makes you want to beat them even more. That was the point I was trying to get across. They probably failed to realise it really riles us and the rest of the world."

Casey also thinks the Americans should play more around the world. Their team here, instead of comprising Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson or any of the other leading Americans, in fact consists of Scott Verplank and Bob Tway. Verplank, having seen the tabloid version of Casey's comments, said: "I wouldn't think it's the smartest thing to do if you're going to stay in the States. How can you say derogatory things toward a group of people and not expect them to take it personally? He's obviously got some sort of burr under his saddle but if he's uncomfortable in the States I don't think anybody would miss him if he went back to England."

Casey has been fifth, third and second in the last three World Cups. He lines up here alongside another Englishmen who lives in America, Luke Donald. Ireland are represented by the former winners McGinley and Padraig Harrington, the highest-ranked player present, while the hosts, Spain, have Sergio Garcia and Miguel Angel Jimenez.

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