Paul Casey will not feature in next year’s Ryder Cup, with one of the sports longest-running sagas resulting in a surprise decision by the Englishman not to rejoin the European Tour. Casey has cited family commitments for a move that will inevitably raise eyebrows.
Casey, who has set up home in the United States, has rejuvenated his career on the PGA Tour to the point where he would already have a strong claim to feature for the European team at Hazeltine in September. Each member of that party, though, must belong to the European Tour.
On Saturday Casey issued a statement that confirmed he will afford himself no change in status. Darren Clarke, Europe’s captain, pointed towards his view of Casey’s Ryder Cup attitude. Clarke had spoken with Casey, with the Northern Irishman leaving with the impression at that stage that the meeting with the US was firmly in his former team-mate’s thoughts. said:
“It is obvious that representing Europe in the Ryder Cup is not on Paul’s priority list, which is disappointing, but I wish him all the best for the future,” Clarke said.
“For me the focus is firmly on the players who are committed to the European cause as we move towards Hazeltine and I look forward to working with these players over the next 10 months.”
Casey had played for Europe in 2004, 2006 and 2008 but his decision – and the timing of an announcement on the eve of the conclusion to the European Tour’s season – may have closed that door fully for the future.
Even the alteration of European Tour criteria, which requires players to feature in five tournaments from next season to hold a full card, could not sway the former world No3 who has now clawed himself back to 24th.
“Having given the matter a great deal of thought, I have decided not to take up European Tour membership for the coming season,” Casey said. “With my wife and young son as my priority, I have decided to continue to concentrate on the PGA Tour which has worked well for us this past year as I have climbed back up the rankings.
“I am very sad not to have the chance to qualify for the 2016 European Ryder Cup team but I believe this decision will help me to be the best I can be both on and off the course and is the right decision for my family.”
Keith Pelley, the recently appointed chief executive of the European Tour, had held talks with Casey and had seemed confident of an alternative scenario.
“I respect Paul’s decision but as I said on Tuesday, we have made it very easy for players to retain their membership of the European Tour by only having to play five out of 37 tournaments outside the majors and World Golf Championships,” Pelley said.
“If that is not feasible for Paul, then there is not much else we can do.”
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