Casey, the world No 24, announced during the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai a fortnight ago that he’d be ruling himself out of next September’s match at Hazeltine through not renewing the membership he gave up in order to concentrate on the PGA Tour.
The decision led Justin Rose to claim that Casey, who was the world No 7 at the time, being overlooked by Montgomerie for one of his wild cards at Celtic Manor had left his compatriot with “a bit of a scar”.
Expanding on what he meant by that, Rose commented: “When you put so much into the Ryder Cup and feel like you should be on the team and you get let down like that, maybe that’s harbouring some of his decision-making to this day.”
“I hope not,” said Montgomerie when asked if that might be the main reason behind Casey’s shock announcement. “You are talking nearly six years ago – that’s half a career, for goodness sake.”
The Scot, who earned the tag of Europe’s talisman over eight playing appearances in the event, added that he was “disappointed” by Casey’s decision after watching him climb back up the world rankings following a drop to 75th on the list at the end of last season.
“He’s done well this year,” acknowledged Montgomerie. “At the moment, he’s in the top 12 in Europe and, therefore, would be a good asset for the Ryder Cup. It will be a great shame if he wasn’t playing at Hazeltine and that seems to be the case due to the fact he’s decided not to take up European Tour membership.
“If I was Darren Clarke, I’d be disappointed in that decision because Paul has returned to form and was one of the few Europeans to make it to the final 30 in the FedEx Cup Play-Offs this season.
“When Paul Casey plays his best, he is as good as anyone, so I’m disappointed about his decision to effectively turn his back on the Ryder Cup. That’s a real shame for Europe. But, at the same time, we are all individuals and entitled to make individual decisions.”
Europe, of course, will be bidding to make it four wins in a row in Minnesota, where they will definitely come up against a team that will include Tiger Woods in some capacity.
While still hopeful he’ll be able to recover from his back problems to secure a playing role, the 14-times major winner has already been appointed as vice captain by Davis Love.
Montgomerie described that as a “wise move”, adding: “I think Davis is just trying to give the US Ryder Cup campaign a boost and this appointment is definitely that. But I hope that Tiger doesn’t perform his duties solely as a vice captain. I hope he is playing because the Ryder Cup is a better place with him involved in that capacity than not.
“I think it is going to be a difficult match for Europe to win next year. I sense real positivity in America about the young players coming through and winning on the PGA Tour.
“There are a few of our top players who haven’t performed well this season and dropped down the world rankings. They’ve got to get back to top form. We’d love to win it again, of course, but it won’t be easy and, remember, that we had to come back from 10-4 in the last away match at Medinah.”