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STRAFFAN, Ireland - World Match Play champion Paul Casey said he regretted saying two years ago that he "properly hated" Americans when playing against them in the Ryder Cup.
"I made a mistake last time round," the 29-year-old Briton told reporters during practice at the K Club overnight (NZ time). "I regret what happened and some of the reporting was out of my control as well.
"These are 24 friends here. If we look at the bigger picture, this is just a game."
Casey, who crushed American Shaun Micheel by a record 10 & 8 margin in the final of the World Match Play at Wentworth on Sunday, played down the significance of the Ryder Cup.
"There are things which are a lot more serious going on in the world," he said. "If you look at the US and the UK, we are allies.
"There are bigger issues people other than me have to worry about and we're very thankful we're all friends here."
The Englishman said he and the other 23 players involved must remember to keep this week's biennial team competition in its proper perspective.
"The troops defending our respective countries, they would love to be here watching this, being entertained, watching myself, Tiger or whoever out on the fairways, we have to remember that," said Casey.
"It gets passionate out there. This always provides wonderful memories, wonderful entertainment, but that's all it really is at the end of the day."
Casey said his European team mates had offered to help him spend the one million pounds ($2.86 million) he earned by winning at Wentworth.
"The guys in the team room were suggesting they were going to help me spend it last night," said the world number 17.
"Monty (Colin Montgomerie) was giving me a hard time, asking me if I wanted to swap bank accounts. I declined.
"It's a big sum, an incredible sum, but the thing I'm really happiest about is that I played great golf last week."