Paul Casey’s favorite 2018 Ryder Cup memory: Thomas Bjorn’s unsavory tattoo

April 2, 2020

Paul Casey entered the 2018 Ryder Cup seeking revenge. From 2004-2008, Casey was a Ryder Cup stalwart, winning seven of his nine matches. But after two victorious efforts, Casey entered a 10-year hiatus from Ryder Cup play on a loss to the Americans at Valhalla in ’08.

With the Europeans up big heading into the singles matches, victory was within grasp. But for the Casey and company, there was real estate far more valuable than transatlantic dominance at stake. Real estate which rested upon European captain Thomas Bjorn’s rear end.

“We were in a strong position but not a comfortable position,” Casey said in an interview on GOLF‘s Subpar podcast. “The narrative that evening, Thomas (Bjorn) was like, ‘Just remember guys, I’ve promised to get a tattoo of the winning score on my a– if and when you guys win.'”

For the Europeans, the goal couldn’t have been more clear.

“That’s all he said in the captain’s speech that night … all he had to say,” Casey said. “That was a common theme in the back of our head: let’s make that number as large as we can.”

On Sunday, Casey handled his end of the bargain, halving his singles match with Brooks Koepka. As the day progressed, the Europeans’ lead grew larger. Suddenly, the attention shifted to the final singles match of the day between Alex Noren and Bryson DeChambeau. Victory was a certainty, Bjorn’s tattoo dependent only upon the final score of Noren’s match.

“Alex Noren comes down 18, and if he misses the putt on 18 against DeChambeau (the final score) ends up being another half-point,” Casey recalled. “We still win, but the scores are different.”

The difference in score was insignificant to history but critical to the eventual size of Bjorn’s ink. To ensure the final score tallied an extra half-point, Noren had to conjure magic on the final green. A near 50-foot putt stood between a final score of 17 1/2 to 10 1/2 and 17 to 11. Noren drained it, to Bjorn’s chagrin (and Casey’s delight).

“He holes that monster putt, that what 35, 40-footer up across, which meant that it ended up being a half-point, which means there’s extra ink on Thomas’s ass because of Alex Noren’s putt, which is the best thing!”

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