PALM HARBOR, Fla. -- Paul Casey understands that, from the outside, it's a head-scratcher that he's intentionally skipping the one tournament he's won on the PGA Tour as part of his run-up to the Masters.
Think how much his fans will be pulling their hair out of he doesn't play well at Augusta National.
Casey, the second-highest-ranked player in the field this week at the Transitions Championship at world No. 7, is taking a two-week break before heading to Augusta. It's all part of a plan to improve his performance at the first major of the year, where he has had solid, though hardly spectacular, results.
He won in Houston in 2009, his first win in the States, then missed the cut the following week at the Masters. It's been something of a trend and it happened again earlier this year on the European Tour's desert swing -- a win followed by an MC. When he and swing coach Peter Kostis mapped out his schedule this year, they decided to take the week off before the Masters as a change of pace.
"If you look at my history in terms of how I've played, sometimes after victories, I've struggled," he said. "I don't know why. Fatigued, whatever it is, but I've performed poorly. So we want to go back to sort of being nice and fresh going into majors and it was a very difficult decision to tell [tournament director] Steve Timms that I would not be at Houston.
"So, yeah, it's not something that's going to be permanent. It's just, we wanted to try it this year and see how it went."
He hasn't exactly been taking it easy otherwise. This is the seventh time in nine weeks that he's played, spanning two tours.
"Yeah, seven in nine weeks has been a lot and I must admit, I'm looking forward to two weeks off," he said.
Casey knows he's going to hear about it if he doesn't sparkle at the Masters, where he has all the tools to contend.
"If I don't play well at Augusta, then I'll be calling up Steve Timms saying, "'I'm really sorry,'" he laughed.
Some players like to tee it up before majors, like Phil Mickelson. Some generally don't, like Tiger Woods. Casey is still experimenting.
"Seems to be a common thread," he said of the week-after hangover.