SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France (AP) — It was exactly why Paul Casey wanted to play in the Ryder Cup again.
The chants of the crowd. That feeling of being part of a tight-knit team. And, most importantly, putting a point on the board for Europe.
“It’s like a drug,” he said. “It’s amazing.”
The 41-year-old Casey welled up at the side of the 16th green after his 3-and-1 win with Tyrrell Hatton against top-ranked Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler in the fourballs on Saturday. He even had to pass on a question while he composed himself.
“I am, yes,” Casey said, when asked if he was getting emotional. “Ask him a question.”
Casey is back in the European team after a 10-year absence for various reasons: A controversial wild-card snub in 2010, poor form in 2012 in 2014, and a lack of European Tour membership in 2016. He decided to rejoin the European Tour in a bid to make Thomas Bjorn’s team for Paris, and was rewarded with a captain’s pick.
He played well in defeat alongside Hatton in Friday’s fourballs, making five birdies in a 1-up loss to Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas.
Casey was even better on Saturday, collecting his first Ryder Cup point in 12 years.
“I was on a mission to get one,” he said.
Casey birdied five of his first six holes to help push the Europeans out to a 3-up lead after eight. Another birdie at No. 14 won the hole, and a par three in front of a huge crowd at No. 16 secured the point.
Then came the tears.
“I’ve always been a bit that way,” he said. “I cry in movies, as well. Hey, not embarrassed. I care about it. It means an awful lot to me. I’m proud to be on this team and proud to be standing next to those other 11 teammates and proud to win a point.”
Casey recounted one story from when he was on an airplane with his wife and they were sitting on opposite sides of the aisle both watching a documentary about the late Formula One driver, Ayrton Senna.
“We both got a tear in our eye,” Casey said, “and the stewardess thought clearly, ‘Oh, they must have had a massive row.’”
With Casey’s accuracy off the tee and Hatton’s impressive putting — Casey ranks his partner as one of the best putters in the world — the Englishmen have proved to be a formidable team.
“He’s always been right there next to me, backing me up, making a birdie or a par if I haven’t,” Casey said. “So I’ve had the ability to kind of freewheel a bit and just go for things.”