A look at in-form Paul Casey’s hopes of glory in the 2021 Majors

After his fast start to the season and second place in last year's PGA Championship, is Paul Casey ready to take the final step and win his first Major title?

Paul Casey has started 2021 looking like a man on a mission.

He's finished tied 8th at The American Express in California, won the Dubai Desert Classic and taken tied 12th at the Saudi International in back-to-back weeks in the Middle East before jetting back to the United States to post a top five at Pebble Beach.

That's an awful lot of air miles but the 43-year-old has done it all with a spring in his step.

Casey has had a superb career, once reaching No.3 in the world. Now 16th, he's accumulated 15 European Tour wins and three PGA Tour titles.

But there's still a glaring omission: no victories at the Majors.

Casey will turn 44 three days after July's Open Championship at Royal St George's, the final Major of 2021.

Is he now too long in the tooth to scoop one of the game's biggest prizes with so much young talent around?

And if he hasn't landed one after 66 attempts, has his time passed?

Well, maybe not. The Englishman was runner-up in last year's PGA Championship and has plenty of other big finishes at the highest level.

Ryder Cup colleagues Darren Clarke and Henrik Stenson were in their 40s when finally making the big breakthrough in Majors. And Phil Mickelson was 43 when he won the 2013 Open Championship.

Casey is far from a busted flush yet and, on current form, he should carry plenty of optimism for his quartet of bids this time.

Here, Planet Sport Golf examines his hopes at this year's venues - Augusta National, Kiawah Island, Torrey Pines and Royal St. George's.

The Masters - Augusta National

Casey's best odds: 45/1 at Unibet

Record at The Masters

Appearances: 14

Cuts made: 10

Top 10s: 5

Best finishes: 4th (2016) 6th (2004, 2015, 2017), 10th (2007)

Casey has always expressed a love for Augusta National ever since finishing tied sixth on debut in 2004.

Only once outside the top 20 in his first five Masters, he enjoyed his best run of T6-T4-6 between 2015 and 2017 before adding another top 15 in 2018.

He closed that event three years ago with a superb 65 and opened the 2020 Masters with another 7-under-par round to take the first-round lead.

In fact, he's had as many top 10s in this Major (five) as he has in the other three combined.

As for his Augusta numbers, Casey topped the Greens in Regulation stats in 2017 and scrambled better than anyone in 2015.

But he's only once finished in the top 10 for Putting Average so, if he is to land that elusive first Green Jacket, the flatstick will need to be at its best.

Encouragingly, he's ranked 10th for Strokes Gained: Putting in his last two events - the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and the Saudi International.

PGA Championship - Kiawah Island

Casey's best odds: 80/1 Unibet

Record at the PGA Championship

Appearances: 18

Cuts made: 12

Top 10s: 2

Best finishes: 2nd (2020, Harding Park) 10th (2016, Baltusrol)

Casey didn't crack the top 50 in his first five stabs at the PGA and was 0-for-13 in terms of top 10s up until 2015.

The good news is that he's getting better. At Baltusrol in 2016 he finally posted a top 10 before contending heavily at Harding Park last August and finishing tied second.

That runners-up finish was his best ever finish at a Major.

This year the tournament heads to Kiawah Island, a course he tackled in 2012.

Europeans did well that year, occupying five of the top six slots and Rory McIlroy winning with 13-under.

As for Casey…. ouch! He shot 79-85 and missed the cut by a distance.

Some context though: he was in a huge slump at the time and, prior to that PGA, Casey had missed 10 of his 11 previous worldwide cuts during a miserable run between March and August.

US Open - Torrey Pines

Casey's best odds: 55/1 bet365

Record at the US Open

Appearances: 17

Cuts made: 11

Top 10s: 1

Best finishes: 10th (2007, Oakmont)

For someone who drives the ball so well, his record in the US Open is curiously poor.

Casey has managed just a single top 10 and that was T10th was 14 years ago.

At least there are a few more encouraging signs of late. In his last four he's posted 26-16-21-17.

This year we're at Torrey Pines where Casey was 65th in the 2008 US Open (79-70-76-73).

Record at Torrey Pines in the Farmers Insurance Open

2002: 22nd

2015: Missed cut

2016: Missed cut

2017: 28th

Casey has also played the regular PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines on four occasions.

His results are mixed and he hasn't contested that event since 2017.

On his last appearance, he was 13th going into round four after a Saturday 68 but dropped down with a closing 73.

Open Championship - Royal St. George's

Casey's best odds: 50/1 bet365

Record at the Open Championship

Appearances: 17

Cuts made: 12

Top 10s: 2

Best finishes: 7th (2008, Royal Birkdale) 3rd (2010, St. Andrews)

Just two top 10s in 17 Claret Jug cracks is particularly underwhelming.

However, that did include a top three at St. Andrews in 2010 when his dreams of a first Major were very much on the cards.

Casey was four behind leader Louis Oosthuizen after 54 holes but also three in front of third-placed Martin Kaymer. It looked like a two-horse race.

He'd cut the gap to three after eight holes on Sunday but a triple bogey at 12 ended any hopes as Oosthuizen kicked clear.

The event is back at Royal St. George's this year and Casey took part in both the 2003 and 2011 Opens held there.

Paul Casey in action at Royal St. George's in 2011
Paul Casey in action at Royal St. George's in 2011

In the former he crashed out at halfway after rounds of 85-71 while 2011 brought tied 54th (74-69-78-72).

Overall, there's a feeling that this year's Major venues aren't ideal for him based on past performances.

But, of course, the exception is Augusta National.

Before finally winning his first Major, the 2017 Masters, Sergio Garcia had won the Dubai Desert Classic a few months earlier.

Danny Willett also won that event on the way to glory at Augusta National in 2016.

This year's Dubai winner? Yep, that would be Paul Casey. The omens are there. Casey is playing well enough to make them a reality.

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