Faldo Backs Casey’s Decision To Halt Play Despite Mickelson’s Clear Disapproval.

Nick Faldo has sternly defended fellow Englishman’s Paul Casey’s decision, and much to the then clear displeasure of Phil Mickelson, to mark his ball on the 16th green ahead of poor light halting play in the final round of the AT & T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

Casey was staring at a 3-foot par putt on the third last hole and having forfeited his three-shot day three lead to be now trailing by a similar number of shots adrift of Mickelson.

Mickelson two-putted the 16th to retain the lead at 18-under par but was clearly not happy when Casey, who still had to putt, began chatting with PGA Tour official, Mark Russell and with Casey declaring he could not read the green in the poor light.

Mickelson, and primed to capture the event for a fifth occasion and also seal a 50th pro career victory, was not happy with the ruling arguing he could see ‘fine’ before advised by Russell that the round would resume at 8am local time Monday morning.

Casey, and as Faldo mentioned, was well within the rules of golf to call play for the day as he tries to salvage just  a third Tour title.

“I know we had the option of playing on but I don’t see how we can physically be able to finish,” said Casey in talking with Russell.

“We just cannot play the last two holes in six minutes.  I would like but there is no point as I can even read the putt I have here on 16 and besides the greens are also pretty scuffed-up, so it will mean now fresh greens in the morning.

“So, if I can hole one putt and then play two holes, and two holes of some 800-yards in total, I would but I can’t.”

Russell then said to Casey:  “Okay, you’ve got it.  We’ll be back here on 16 at eight o’clock in the morning.”

By now Mickelson had made his way to the par-3 17th tee, and stood beside his younger brother and caddy, looking very defiant and clearly not in any mood for any fireside chat when the siren sounded indicating anyone still on the course could finish their hole but you cannot tee-up.

Faldo, and commentating for NBC TV, quickly jumped to Casey’s defence.

“Paul Casey is completely right and entitled to mark his ball and call it a day,” said Faldo.

“If Paul Casey had of putted out and gone to 17 and Phil hit a great tee shot, Phil would have run to 17 green and made his ‘3’ then he would still have his three-shot lead then he would have played an iron in the dark off 18 and continue playing in the dark, and even if he took a bogey ‘6’ he’s fine.

“The thing it’s important for Paul Casey even if Phil should win as he’s currently sharing second place on 15-under par and even one birdie over the closing two holes will mean everything to Paul in terms of prize-money, FedEx Cup points, World Ranking points and so on.

“So, we’re staring at two completely different scenarios.

“The thing is also when they now come back in the morning, and while Phil is leading by three, anything could happen. Paul Casey could birdie 17 and Phil bogey and then Paul could birdie the last and Phil par, so they end tied.

“Phil would have loved to get it over with and run but really there is no need to as he can stay one more night here at Pebble Beach.  He’s got his own plane so there’s no fear of missing his flight but it’s a very important moment for Pau Casey.”

Mickelson later calmed down and admitting:  “I get exactly where Paul is coming from.  It’s dark and we’re now going to come back on the morning and find fresh greens as they were getting pretty rough there at the end. So, I totally get it but in saying that I have pretty good vision and I can see fine, so I wanted to continue.

“That is all there is to it but I totally get where Paul if coming from and in all honestly it is probably a good thing as we can play the last couple of holes in pure conditions and that could be helpful for us both.”

In fact, those out first on day four had been greeted by rain and strong winds and then just as Casey and Mickelson were due to tee-off at 10.50am local time a hail storm hit the course and forcing a two-hour delay as greens staff sought to clear hail that blanketed the closing holes on the famed course.



Comments are closed.