Paul Casey insists he won’t play in pain in Spain as chases down Race to Dubai leader Lee Westwood at the Volvo World Match Play.

The English ace is desperate to get back on the winning trail after three months on the sidelines with a rib injury.

But he’s not quite 100 percent and vowed that he won’t play on at all costs in the 16-man matchplay showdown at Finca Cortesin.

Asked what it take for him to pull out, Casey said: "Sharp pain. That's enough.  I'll be out of here. I'm not going to push it and do any more damage.

"Right now it just feels like an ache. It feels tender, it feels tight and it gets tired, but it's not a sharp pain.

"I think a nice way of putting it is that the muscles get slightly angry around there and they're telling me they're not liking what's going on.

"The thing I haven't done is hit balls out of the rough, I haven't since Akron, but there's no rough this week.

"Trouble is, there's no way really of testing it until I'm out here in the mix playing golf.

"Part of it could be the travel, but there's a whole combination of stuff that is making me feel like maybe it wasn't quite as far along in being fixed as it should be."

World No 4 Casey topped the Race to Dubai until he crocked himself hitting out of the rough at the Bridgestone Invitational in Akron in August.

Now he’s ranked fourth and over £255,00 behind pace-setter Lee Westwood, who’s determined to become European No 1 for the second time since 2000.

He confessed in Spain that he has lost distance off the tee because of his injury with a normal 180yard 7-iron now going only "in the low 70s." His driving distance has also been affected.

Young guns Martin Kaymer and Rory McIlroy are breathing down Westwood's neck in the money list.

But the Worksop star, 36, is determined to finish the job by showing the kind of swagger that made him a multiple winner nine years ago.

Westwood said: "I think I had youthful, fearless approach which made it easier for me to win on a regular basis - just that habit of turning up almost cocky.

"I'd like to get that back.  I'm much more mature now, as well.  I've had more experiences and been through more things.

"I've been through the highs and been through the lows and I think having been through the lows, it makes you stronger, especially if you can come out of there successfully.”

Westwood plays Jeev Milka Singh today and twice on Friday with clashes against Ross Fisher and Camilo Villegas in the new, Champions League style group format with all matches played to an 18 hole finish.

And he reckons that fitness will play a massive part in deciding who takes home the £675,925 top prize.

He said: "It will be a test of stamina.  You know, it's a demanding golf course on the body, and that will make it even harder that we have to play at least 54 holes over the first two days.

"There will be no real reward for giving somebody 7 & 6 and you can walk in after only 12 holes."