By Brian Wacker, PGA TOUR.COM
DORAL, Fla. -- As Paul Casey warmed up on the practice range at TPC Blue Monster at Doral on Tuesday, a few players stopped by to say hello. After all, it’s been a while since Casey has been out here.
On Dec. 24 of last year, Casey separated his shoulder while snowboarding in Colorado, where he stuck his right arm out to break his fall only to suffer the latest of a long list of injuries for a player who was once as high as third in the Official World Golf Ranking.
“I’ve got a snowboard for sale,” Casey joked. “Unfortunately I don’t have any snowboarding trips planned, but I hear the snow is quite good in Colorado right now.”
Casey’s game is another story. He only began hitting balls a half-dozen weeks ago and says he is rusty entering this week’s World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship.
This of course isn’t the first time Casey has returned from a significant injury.
In 2009, he suffered a rib injury the week before the British Open. He briefly tried to play through it before missing the rest of the season.
Last year, Casey battled turf toe much of the season and finished outside the top 125 on the PGA TOUR money and missed the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup.
After rehabbing his latest injury with former Arizona Diamondbacks trainer Dave Edwards, Casey hopes his latest setback is his last. This will be his first start since the Dubai World Championship last December.
“This [injury] was the most painful,” said Casey, who just six years ago was the European Tour Player of the Year and climbed as high as third in the world in 2009. “But [the time off] may be a good thing. I’ve got excitement about the game and am enthusiastic and hungry.”
Casey, who has one career win on TOUR and 11 on the European Tour, is tempering his expectations, though.
“I’m rusty,” he said. “I’ve been hitting golf balls, but I just haven’t played.”