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Refreshed Casey aiming for second Dubai win of 2021

The Englishman claimed the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in January – having previously won the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in the United Arab Emirates in 2007 and 2009 – and he is keen to add to his haul in the Middle East at the penultimate event of the 2021 Race to Dubai season.

Casey last played in the CJ Cup @ Summit on the PGA TOUR three weeks ago and the 44-year-old feels he has benefitted from a rest as he prepares for a Dubai-double header, starting this week on the Fire Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates followed by the season-ending Rolex Series event, the DP World Tour Championship on the neighbouring Earth Course.

He is joined in the field for the AVIV Dubai Championship by Bernd Wiesberger and Tommy Fleetwood, his Ryder Cup teammates from Whistling Straits, Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher, who is making his 600th European Tour appearance, and defending champion Antoine Rozner.

Frenchman Rozner claimed his maiden European Tour title last year when he came from four shots back to win by two courtesy of a closing round 64. He added a second victory in the Middle East at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters in March.

Meanwhile, the players in the field at the AVIV Dubai Championship have been reflecting on yesterday’s momentous announcement that from 2022, the European Tour will become the DP World Tour.

Player Quotes

Paul Casey

On this week:
“The form coming in is probably not great. I feel good this week – I’ve just had three weeks off. Ball striking is getting back to where it normally is.

“You’ve only got so much fuel in the tank and maybe it’s just been slowly leaking out. I’ve given it so much this year and there’s been some great moments but there are the big things that take the energy out – Ryder Cup, Olympics and things like that and all the Majors.

“Sometimes you just need to sort of hit the reset button, I think the three weeks off puts me into a good position going into these last two. I feel energised, I feel ready to go. I’ve just had three weeks off and this will be my final two events of this season so I’m really excited.

“I like the Fire Course. For all the years I’ve been here I’ve walked right next to it and never paid any attention – it’s a very good golf course. Visually for me it’s very appealing, I played it well today in the pro-am, I’m looking forward to getting stuck in.

“I think if you look at stats I’m probably a guy who likes a seven, eight, nine under winning score, something that’s quite tough, where a really good round is something where you just break par – those big, big birdie fests maybe not as much.

“But I like it, any time I turn up I’m turning up to try and give it my best and try and win the tournament. I’ve had one victory in Dubai earlier this year and I’d love to add another one to that.”

On the DP World Tour:
“It is exciting stuff. I was disappointed it wasn’t called a world tour about 20 years ago! I always thought we should be the world tour, we play pretty much everywhere.

“It’s about time so I congratulate DP World and the European Tour on this announcement. It benefits the players but it benefits everybody that is out here on Tour. It’s not just the players making money that trickles down into caddies and support staff and media and everybody – the whole family benefits from this so fantastic news.

“This is massive and I think it shows the strength, considering that technically we’re still in a pandemic as well, that shows the strength of the Tour, the strength of golf globally.

“There’s a positve trajectory in the environment that we’re currently in. Imagine if travel becomes easier and sporting events without retrictions become the norm again, the trajectory could be even steeper than we’ve currently got.”

Antoine Rozner

On this week:
“It’s great to be back. I have a lot of happy memories here and it’s a great place, great to be in Dubai and I’m very happy to play on this course again.

“It pretty much all started here. Last year I was having a great season and to win here was just a really nice way to finish the season. After that, everything started really well for me. I had another win in Qatar just two months later, I went to America, played great, and everything pretty much all started here.

“I gained a lot of experience and a lot of maturity on the course. I think my game is great as well. I’ll definitely use the experience I gained from last year, as far as being really aggressive on this course, because there will be low scores. Winning is not easy but when you’ve got it done once, and for me twice, it’s just a completely different feeling. You know how to win and it will help me a lot for the rest of my career.”

On the DP World Tour announcement:
“It’s very exciting news. I got it online like everyone else. It’s very exciting and I think our Tour is getting bigger and bigger. The support we have from DP World is amazing and I think we’re very lucky as players to be players on this Tour for the next few years and hopefully as long as possible. We’re very lucky as players to live in this moment.”

Stephen Gallacher:

On this week:
“Obviously I’m very proud to reach this number. It’s one of those ones that creeps up on you. When I reached 500, that was pretty good to do and there have been a lot of guys that have done it, but 600 is a bit more special. Here’s to 700 now!

“Dubai is the place that put me on the map, helped me get in the Ryder Cup with my second win here in 2014. I just love it here and I love coming over. There’s something in the air that brings the best out in me, so I’m delighted to do it here.”

On the DP World Tour announcement:
“When Tommy [Fleetwood], Adrian Meronk, Dean Burmeister and myself all saw it yesterday first hand, we were all unanimous that it was a great thing to happen for golf.”

“I think we are in a strong place right now. I think to have the Strategic Alliance with the PGA Tour and now have the backing of DP World and all our other main sponsors – Rolex, BMW and all the other contributors – I think we are in a really strong place at the moment.

“And to hear Jay Monahan’s words yesterday really cemented the fact how much we are working together.”

Bernd Wiesberger

On this week:
“I feel good about this week, had a couple of nice weeks off, got some good practice in and worked on those things, amongst others, and hopefully it’s just one of those days where it didn’t really work out for me. All-in-all I feel good and hope to finish the season strongly.

“I enjoy time at home. With travelling a lot, it’s been my 15th season as a professional, you enjoy being home and recharge and seeing friends and doing things other than golf. I’ve also enjoyed the time on the golf course practicing over the last couple of days and get a little bit of competitiveness back for the last few weeks and the hunger back as well.

“It doesn’t take much for me to get motivated for events like this, especially at the end of the year and trying to achieve a couple of goals at the end of the year. I’m ready, I’m looking forward to it and have really, really good final eight rounds of the year.”

On the DP World Tour announcement:
“It’s exciting times. We’re getting a lot of support over here in the Middle East and Dubai and with DP World being a long-time supporter of the Tour at the final is great. It’s nice to have that support for the upcoming seasons to grow our Tour so it’s nice to have that news last night. Everyone is really exciting going forward.”

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