Headfort Golf Club Kells
Headfort Golf Club Kells
Headfort Golf Club Kells
Headfort Golf Club Kells
Posted on 27 Apr. 2016

Confident Casey ready for the next chapter

“Team, team, team – that’s my motto,” says Brian Casey and you know it comes from the heart.
At 25 and facing into his third year as professional golfer, his biggest battles in life have been beyond the fairways.
“I’m always going to be someone with a stammer,” he says, “it’s just about how you manage it.”
Last year Casey decided to put his personal life on public display when he made a fly-on-the-wall documentary for RTÉ. The Speech, which detailed Casey’s lifelong struggle to overcome a stammer, saw him come face-to-face with his greatest fear: public speaking. 
“Looking back, I don’t really know how I did it,” he admits. “At the same time, I was always saying to myself if I’m going to get to the top of the world in golf then I’m going to have to be doing this sort of stuff all the time so it was a great opportunity.”
During a break in the golf season, TV cameras followed Casey over four weeks as he put himself through the ordeal of preparing a speech for the captain’s prize at Headfort. The programme culminated with Casey speaking in front of a packed clubhouse.
“I really do think on a personal level, I definitely drew strength from it.”
Emotional and inspirational, Casey’s story resonated.
“I got so much good feedback from it from people who either have stammers or who are just shy and haven’t got the confidence to go out there. I hope I helped a lot of people,” he reveals. “It can have a big effect if you let it. It can totally turn you into a hermit that doesn’t want to socialise. Looking back, I can see all the turmoil I would have gone through with it. Now I’m fine. When I’m speaking well, I play good golf, there’s a knock-on effect and I’ve started to understand that. Self-image and self-talk, it’s so important. If you avoid a situation, you’re only codding yourself.”
Flair was something he always had. Now his life has fluency.
“I’m in such a better place than I was this time last year,” says Casey, who scrambled to keep his place on the EuroPro Tour last year. “I’ve already got starts in Turkey and Egypt through Team Ireland and then I’ve got my own status which guarantees five more tournaments. I’ve signed with Black Star (management company, also home to Michael Hoey and Chris Selfridge) and they’re going to get me five or six tournaments as well so I’m looking at nearly a full season on Challenge Tour where even after Q School, I thought I’d only get five or six and I’d have to do a half and half schedule between Challenge Tour and EuroPro.”
Funded by Sport Ireland, previously the Irish Sports Council, the Team Ireland​ scheme was established in 1999 to help fledgling professionals during their formative years. 
“It is vitally important that we continue to support our individual golfers to ensure that the game remains healthy and that Ireland has a strong representation in professional tournaments around the world,” says John Treacy, CEO of Sport Ireland. “A key component of our investment is financial support for the hosting of a Challenge Tour event.”
The Volopa Irish Challenge returns to Mount Wolseley in September, having been inaugurated last year. As well as giving Ireland players an opportunity to compete on home soil, by hosting an event the CGI has leverage to secure further starts for players elsewhere on the European Challenge Tour.
“The starts are as important as the money,” says Casey, who also receives €5,000 from the Team Ireland fund. “I don’t have the pressure there that I just have this one start and I have to make the most of it. It usually takes a few tournaments to get a bit of form and then you keep it going. It’s never really as simple as coming out all guns blazing. I feel like I’ve got more than one chance.”
Although Casey failed to make the cut at Mount Wolseley in 2015, his game started to click at Q School in November and he produced some of his best golf, including rounds of 64 and 65, to top the qualifiers at Panoramica. While he failed to maintain that form throughout the Final Stage at PGA Cataluyna, he now feels better equipped for the challenge of life on tour.
“I started working with Jussi Pitkanen just after Q School and he would be big into pressure practice and things like that. Since I’ve been with Jussi, I feel I practice a lot better. Before I was a bit hit and miss with how I practiced. I’d come away from it feeling like I hadn’t achieved anything. This way you’ve got your score recorded and you’re trying to beat those scores every time,” he says.
With access to world-class facilities like the GUI National Golf Academy in the grounds of Carton House, practice is never a pain.
“Carton House with Team Ireland is essential because there’s nowhere else to compare with it in Ireland. It’s a great place to go,” he says. “I went to Lumine in Barcelona a few weeks ago and that was the only warm weather practice I’ve had this year. Obviously the heat on your back is great in Spain. I think you can do just as much at home if you know what you’re doing.”
This week he is playing his first event of the season, the Red Sea Egyptian Challenge​ at Sokhna. After an opening round 73 (one over), he is already facing a battle to make the cut but he is more than willing to face those challenge. He only has to think back on The Speech and how he overcame his greatest fear.
“Once you do something as difficult as that, it can make a lot of things seem so much simpler.”​
*Brian Casey is one of 12 players who receives funding and support from Sport Ireland through the Team Ireland Golf scheme, which is administered by the Confederation of Golf in Ireland (CGI).


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