PALM HARBOR, Fla. -- This is what you'd call a calculated risk.
World No. 7 Paul Casey won his lone PGA Tour title two years ago in Houston, then trekked the next week to the Masters full of momentum, mojo and brimming with confidence. He left Augusta National two days later after missing the cut.
This year, the pre-game plan has changed completely. In a move that probably won't make many Texas fans happy, Casey is skipping Houston and taking two weeks off before the Masters, which means his final tuneup is this week at the Transitions Championship outside Tampa.
The reasoning is fairly simple. It's partly an experiment based on past data.
Casey has a history of winning tournaments, then falling flat the next week in instances when he has played. It happened again this year when he won in Bahrain on the European Tour's desert swing, then missed the cut the following week in Qatar. Casey has noticed the trend and doesn't deny it.
So why not embrace it?
"We're trying something different," Casey said.
This way, he can't mess up his Masters chances by screwing up and winning in Houston. Yeah, it sounds sorta crazy, but it will be interesting to monitor his results at Augusta, for sure.
Casey has an odd record at Augusta National, where he finished T6 in his first appearance in 2004, which still represents his career best result. Ever since, he has two top-10s, a top-20 and has missed the cut twice.