While golf is an individual sport at its core, having a strong support system can sometimes be the most important tool in separating a player from the rest of the pack.
Paul Casey, whose cheering section is led by his wife, Pollyanna Woodward, and his son, Lex, knows that as well as anyone. His life off the course hasn’t always been stable, as it was sometimes the target for tabloid fodder, but his family is now as strong as can be, and the results are indicative of that.
Here’s everything you need to know about the 39-year-old’s family:
1. His Wife Is a Famous Television Presenter
Marrying a pro golfer–especially one as good as Casey–can often shed an unwanted spotlight on significant others, but Pollyanna Woodward, 35, was already used to fame before she met Casey.
The 35-year-old England native has had a long career in television, ranging from work as an actress (“Ghost Squad,” “Doctors”) and driving stunt double (“Eleventh Hour”) to a reality-show contestant (“Popstars: The Rivals,” “Splash!”) to presenter. The latter is where she was most successful, most notably serving as the host of “The Gadget Show.”
Casey and Woodward met in 2011 at the F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. They were engaged in late 2013 and married in January of 2015.
“Pollyanna’s fantastic and understands me very well,” Casey said. “Those that have met her will understand the positivity she carries with her. It’s very infectious and it’s something that’s nice to have around. I’m not that way and I need to be. She is very calm, and I think that’s been a very positive influence on my golf and on my life in general.”
2. They Have a Son–And Another Child on the Way
On September 1, 2014, Casey and Woodward welcomed their first child, son Lex, to the world. Casey won the very first event he played as a father (the KLM Open in Netherlands), and at the beginning of the following year he decided to stop playing full-time on the European Tour, citing his growing family as the reason.
“It was a decision I didn’t take lightly, and I stewed over it for a long, long time,” he said. “I became a father in September, which is by far the greatest thing ever, and that’s become really the focus for me, being at home with Pollyanna and Lex.”
Pollyanna is pregnant with their second child, due sometime later in 2017.
“Lex has no idea what a game changer that’s going to be,” wrote Casey.
3. Casey Says His Son “Is the Life and Soul of Everything I do”
Becoming a father often provides players with a new perspective on life, and the same can be said for Casey–both on and off the course. As part of a campaign to donate $100 to UNICEF for every birdie he hits between May and December 2017, Casey explained what parenthood means to him:
Having children was a game-changer for me, too. The joys of parenthood are completely eye-opening. I have always felt blessed to be without terrible hardship and have thought for years about how I might help others less fortunate. But I struggled to find the right focus — until I became a father.
My son is the life and soul of everything I do. Children are now what I notice day-to-day. On the golf course, I smile to the kids, because I want to make sure they have the greatest experience they possibly can. And even on the golf course, I think, if my son was here right now, how would I behave? How can I make the world a better place for him, and how can I help other children, too? I chose to align with UNICEF because to me, UNICEF is the pinnacle of putting children’s needs first — across the world.
Though he hasn’t won on the PGA Tour since the start of 2015, Casey is tied for the eighth-most Top-10 finishes over that span.
4. Casey Has Pollyanna on His Phone Case
Even when he’s walking the golf course, Casey will always have his wife close to him. That’s because–as the world found out when he pulled out his phone during practice before the 2017 US Open–he has a picture of Pollyanna on his phone case:
And it doesn’t stop there. She’s also on the inside of his jacket:
“(Pollyanna) is everything he needs,” said Peter Kostis, Casey’s long-time mentor and coach. “Positive, funny, upbeat all the time, the soul mate he’s needed.”
5. Both He & Pollyanna Are Divorced
When Casey and Woodward met in 2011, they had something important in common: They were both coming off public divorces. Casey had separated from Jocelyn Hefner–which he later admitted took a significant toll on him–and Woodward was coming off a marriage to Lee Clark, a former QVC presenter.
“You know what, I don’t dwell on that at all,” said Casey in 2014. “If you met Pollyanna, you’d know she is one of the most positive people on the planet. She’s got a perfect name for it. [The previous marriage] is done. I’m very much right now.”