PAUL Casey has hit some memorable iron shots in his career, highlighted by a hole-in-one in the 2006 Ryder Cup to close out a foursomes match. But it’s his beautiful driver swing that has always turned heads. If it weren’t for multiple injuries over the years, the likeable Englishman from Arizona State University might have been one of the best in the Tiger Woods era.
Says his longtime teacher, CBS commentator Peter Kostis: “Paul doesn’t talk much about the injuries, but he has suffered from a bunch of them, like torn rib muscles, a left-thumb injury and persistent turf toe. “Nevertheless, he’s one of the purest, most consistent swingers of the club on tour.”
Kostis is literal when he uses the word “swinger.” Casey has somewhat of a classic action, with an unrestricted hip turn on the backswing, plenty of leg action, and soft arms in the follow-through. Casey admires his teacher as well: “I always go back
to what we call Peter’s Rules,” he says. “Strong grip before weak; ball back before forward; feet narrow before wide; heel up before down. Good advice for everyone.”
Bowing The Legs
“We work a lot on being athletic,” says Kostis, Casey’s teacher of 16 years. “I like his kneecaps over his feet and his right foot flared out.” This allows Casey’s right hip to clear going back. “We also work on keeping his left hand strong [turned to his right on the club].”
Hands To Buttons
Casey starts with his hands in line with his shirt buttons and maintains that relationship to his mid-line at halfway back. “That’s his backswing key,” Kostis says. “He trains with medicine balls, which forces you to get the body rotation in sync with the hands as you move.”
Let The Knee In
Kostis wants the left knee behind the ball at the top. “The outside of Paul’s left foot comes off the ground,” Kostis says. “Sometimes he’ll let the heel come up, too.” This goes against the modern idea of locking down the lower body as much as possible. Kostis says restricting things can cause injury.
Legs Go Forward
Starting down, look at Casey’s lower-body action. It’s the epitome of leading with the feet and legs, which sets the downswing sequence. “He’s maintained the flex in his knees. And look at that tremendous clubhead lag, which leads to heap of speed at impact.”
The Big Push-Up
“Notice Paul’s belt rises dramatically from pre-impact to impact,” Kostis says. The lead shoulder and upper body are being pushed up by the right leg. “Overall, Paul feels like he’s pulling through a little more than he’s pushing, but it’s about 51/49,” Kostis says.
An Easy Ending
Into the finish, Casey’s arms are relaxed. Kostis says it’s like the Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt: Instead of tightening up towards the finish line, he stays relaxed, giving it a burst of speed. Paul holds his finish until the ball lands, with no recoil of the club. He’s balanced and in control.
39 / 5-foot-10 / 82kg
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