Paul Casey is rejoining the European Tour after 3 years, aiming to become one of the 12 men to make Thomas Bjorn’s Ryder Cup team next year in Paris.
Casey had not been a member of the European Tour as the current world No. 15 chose to focus on PGA Tour success and rejuvenating his career, which the Englishman certainly has done. Now the 40-year-old is going to make a run at trying to get on his first Ryder Cup team since 2008 at Valhalla in Kentucky.
“I have missed it too much,” Casey said at the WGC-HSBC Champions, according to the Associated Press. “I have missed my contribution to British golf, my contribution to Europe. My Ryder Cup experiences have been the highlight of my career. I want to be — and need to be — part of the European Tour, and then obviously that puts me in line to hopefully, possibly, play another Ryder Cup, which I would dearly love to do.”
Casey was infamously passed over by 2010 captain Colin Montgomerie for a captain’s pick at Celtic Manor at a time when Casey was a top-10 player in the world.
In the aftermath of a divorce, Casey slumped to No. 169 in the world before making the long climb back. He now lives in Arizona with his wife and TV presenter Pollyanna Woodward, and the couple raise two young children together. In fact, it was Pollyanna who convinced Casey to take his membership up again, beginning with the new season at the end of November.
“The only thing that still resonates is she said, ‘If you don’t do this, I don’t want you to regret not doing this,’ which is the thing that stayed with me,” Casey said.
Only European Tour members are eligible to compete for Europe in the Ryder Cup, meaning Casey wasn’t eligible to even be a captain’s pick in the 2016 matches at Hazeltine National. The European Tour has changed its membership requirements, in part, in hopes of luring players like Casey back. Players must compete in five non-major, non-WGC European Tour events to hold status.