Very special to beat Tiger, says Valspar winner Casey
Paul Casey was delighted to edge out Tiger Woods to claim the Valspar Championship and relishes the prospect of battling with the golfing great again at the upcoming Masters.
A fine 65 on Sunday saw Casey come in at 10 under overall, setting a target that Woods – trailing rookie Corey Conners by a stroke at the start of the day – could not quite reach, falling one shot shy in a mixed final round.
The victory was Casey's first on the PGA Tour in nine years and the significance of beating Woods along the way was not lost on him as he looks ahead to the first major of the year at Augusta next month.
"I feel great," he told Sky Sports. "I'm excited [ahead of the Masters], not only for my game, but also the fact Tiger's playing great. It's cool, couldn't be better. I'm a fan of golf as much as I am a player.
"To pip him is very special. He'll be on top form when we get there [Augusta] and I'm looking forward to it. I think I've got a good chance."
And Casey was pleased to finally secure just his second Tour win, although he insists he has been playing without pressure.
"There has been a lot [of talk about coming close but not winning]," he said.
"It's got to the point where it's gone the other way, where actually I'm playing very free golf, very relaxed and very at peace with whatever happens on the golf course.
"I think I can say that because of my life away from the golf course – my wife and my kids. To then get both is obviously the icing on the cake."
Casey's best placing at the Masters, which Woods has won four times, is a tie for fourth in 2016.