July 14, 2009

Paul Casey creeps closer to Tiger

Besides mountain biking together in the hills north of Scottsdale, Paul Casey and his instructor, Peter Kostis, have spent hours on the practice tee at nearby Whisper Rock Golf Club. It was there that they came up with a 10-year plan for Casey's career. "Our philosophy was to identify Paul's weaknesses [like his short game] and make them strengths," Kostis said after Casey, 31, won the BMW PGA Championship in May and climbed to No. 3 in the World Golf Ranking behind only Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. Casey's ascension might come as a surprise to some because he hasn't won a major and has only one PGA Tour victory (the Shell Houston Open in April), but the Englishman has shown dramatic improvement in the two areas he and Kostis targeted: total putting (from 175th on the PGA Tour in 2008 to 13th as of early June this year) and scrambling from the rough (191st to 10th). "I would be very disappointed if he didn't win multiple majors," Kostis said. ...

Angel Cabrera hopes to get back to Oakmont for the first time since winning the U.S. Open there in 2007. He plans to make the visit before playing the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio, in August. The club has dedicated a room to the Argentine. Cabrera hosted Oakmont member __John Swigart__at his home club in Argentina three weeks before winning this year's Masters. "He is a really kind man with a big heart," Swigart says. ...

In an era when not many LPGA Tour professionals are signing endorsement deals, rookie Vicky Hurst, 19, scored a big one with athletic-clothing label Under Armour. She won five times on the Duramed Futures Tour in 2008 to earn her LPGA Tour card. ...

Rich Beem will return to Hazeltine National in Minnesota for the PGA Championship (Aug. 13-16) with some philanthropic karma. Beem, who won the 2002 PGA at Hazeltine, established a fund for namesake Rich Behm (pronounced "Beem"), a Dallas Cowboys scouting assistant who was paralyzed from the waist down after the roof at the team's practice facility collapsed during a storm in May.

Tim Rosaforte, a Senior Writer for Golf Digest and Golf World, appears on Golf Channel's "Golf Central" and NBC's coverage of the Players, U.S. Open and Presidents Cup.