March 24, 2024

Paul Casey explains heart-rending hidden reason for LIV Golf move for first time | Golf | Sport

Paul Casey has revealed that he chose to join LIV Golf partly due to fears over the health of his caddie, Johnny McLaren, who had a brain tumour removed last April. Casey has previously criticised Saudi Arabia but joined LIV in 2022, becoming one of several top golfers to make the switch over from the PGA Tour.

Explaining his decision, Casey said there were ‘breaking points’ with conditions on the old tour, such as being stuck in a hotel room in Japan for 10 days during the Covid pandemic. He also revealed that McLaren’s health was a factor in his thinking, with the hectic schedule of the PGA Tour putting too much of a strain on his caddy and best friend.

“This is something I have not talked about but people know it on LIV and the DP World Tour, PGA Tour as well,” said Casey on the Are You Not Entertained? podcast.

“You know my dear caddie, Johnny McLaren? Johnny ‘Long Socks’ McLaren as he’s affectionately known. Anybody who wonders what that means just has to look up a picture of Johnny and they’ll see a 50-year-old guy wearing his Jordan 1s and his big long socks lolloping around the golf course.

“Johnny and I have been best mates and a team for the last eight years. Well, Johnny had a brain tumour removed last April, so when you’re never quite sure what is going on in peoples’ lives, there’s a lot. That is something Johnny and I spoke about and that is another reason why we went to LIV because we couldn’t keep doing what we were doing.”

Casey also suggested that strict Covid protocols on the PGA Tour helped to shape his decision to join LIV despite previously refusing to play in Saudi Arabia.

“We were throwing out false positives on our way to Japan where you were going to get locked in your hotel room for 10 days,” he added. “We both hit a breaking point and said we can’t do this anymore. Knowing Johnny’s health issues at the time and what we were dealing with, that’s a little bit more insight into why I’m doing what I’m doing.”

Casey went on to insist that PGA Tour boss Jay Monahan should have acted quicker to resolve the organisation’s bitter divide with LIV. It was announced last June that a deal could be struck with LIV’s backers in Saudi Arabia but Casey believes the delay meant the likes of Lee Westwood, Henrik Stenson and Ian Poulter were ‘thrown under the bus’.

“We take the blame for this, as players, but I’m not sure the blame rests squarely on our shoulders,” said Casey. “For the longest time we’ve just wanted to play golf. That’s it.”


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