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Michael Taylor 24th Aug 2010 - 14:26

Paul can make his Case-y to Monty

Paul Casey heads into the first FedEx Cup playoff event, The Barclays, perhaps needing a big performance to ensure his participation in October's Ryder Cup.

The Gloucestershire man, who has gone winless since May 2009, found himself edged out of the automatic qualification positions after Peter Hansson's victory in the Czech Open and now it's up to Colin Montgomerie to include him as a wild card pick.

The betting suggests Casey has little to fear (he's 1/16 to play at Celtic Manor) but nevertheless he'll be desperate to rubber stamp his participation by standing out amongst an elite field in New Jersey.

There's no reason to think he hasn't got a good chance either, as we all know when Casey is on his game he's one of the very best in the business - the problem is holding it together for the full four rounds.

His tee to green game is top notch while his ball striking ability will stand him in good stead on a course that demands a little bit of everything but offers most opportunities to the most accurate players out there.

Casey may not be able to scramble as well as a Phil Mickelson or strike quite like the Jim Furyks of the world, what he does offer his backers is enough consistency to ensure a brilliant all round game.

It comes as little wonder that he's managed five top tens this season, the only surprise is that there is nothing in the win column.

The key factor between a massive success and another missed opportunity could come down to whether he's dropping short range putts on greens that rank as some of the hardest for ten yards or less putts.

Casey's putting is neither here or there most of the time, and that needn't be a big worry, it's just essential that the short ones are going in regularly enough and if they are he's sure to be shorter than his 28/1 starting price come Friday morning.

Away from the European Ryder Cup picture you have to feel that the two big names have to produce this week.

Tiger Woods has been everything you'd expect from a washed-up journeyman recently, I don't believe it'll play out like that for much longer though.

He's now freshly divorced and while he isn't exactly burden free this has to come as something of a relief with the pressure gradually easing after a traumatic year.

Whether this will mean his putter warms up is impossible to answer right now. You do have to believe his 12/1 starting price may be the biggest we see for sometime though, however I'm once again unwilling to bite.

As for Mickelson I have to say he's puzzled me over the past few months.

He constantly challenges going into the final day yet once play gets underway he's an also ran. In fact it's hard to think of many occasions where you've seen the ball dropping from 10+ yards on a regular basis on a Sunday.

Despite all this he remains impossible to ignore, especially when scrambling is so highly valued this week so I can't help but nibble at the generous looking 12/1.

It's not going to be all about the top stars though with the tournament history showing some interesting names as past winners including the returning champion Heath Slocum.

This time I fancy it could be 66/1 shot Bo Van Pelt who puts the cherry on top of what has easily been his best ever season.

The big Indianan has a great streak going, never failing to make the weekend in his past twelve tries while six top tens has catapulted him right up to 13 in the FedEx Cup standings - the only thing missing is a win.

If he continues striking the ball as well as he's managed over recent weeks then he'll be in contention, the issue has to be whether he can hold it together on the final day, especially if some big names are close in tow.

Whether he can or can't remains to be seen but at 66s he's unbelievable each way value.


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