Paul Casey admits that being snubbed by Colin Montgomerie for a Ryder Cup “hurt a lot” but the Englishman is committed to the European cause once again, starting in this week’s EurAsia Cup in Malaysia.
The event in Kuala Lumpur sees Casey return to the team fold for the first time in 10 years, having failed to make three Ryder Cups in a row before making himself ineligible for the 2016 match at Hazeltine by not rejoining the European Tour.
The US-based player has been convinced by Thomas Bjorn, the home captain for this autumn’s encounter in France, to take up that membership again this season and Casey insisted he is over what happened back in 2010.
Despite being the world No 9 at the time, he was overlooked by Montgomerie for the match at Celtic Manor along with Justin Rose, the Scot handing his wildcards instead to Padraig Harrington, Luke Donald and Edoardo Molinari.
“It hurt a lot,” admitted Casey, right, in an interview with Sky Sports ahead of the EurAsia Cup, which got underway today and sees the Europeans as hot-favourites to defend the trophy with a team containing six players in the world’s top 20.
“But it was disappointing that I didn’t play good enough golf to make enough points to make the team. I’ve never questioned the captain’s decision in any team event I’ve played in. The first time I saw Monty afterwards was in Abu Dhabi the following year, and I congratulated him on the win. He probably had a harder time talking to me than I did to him. I’ve never had an issue talking to Colin.”
Casey, who played on winning teams in both 2004 and 2006, is determined to boost his chances of making a Ryder Cup return in Paris by putting on a strong show in a team that also includes Henrik Stenson and Tommy Fleetwood.
“The European Tour has made the choice a no-brainer,” he said of rejoining the circuit. “Plus, at 40, how many more Ryder Cups do I have the opportunity to play in? I’d love to be a part of it again and another opportunity is what I’m here for.” Casey has been paired with 2017 Race to Dubai winner Fleetwood in the opening session in event that, unlike the Ryder Cup, sees all 12 players involved throughout.
Other pairings being sent out by Bjorn in his first taste of captaincy include 2016 Open champion Stenson joining forces with Frenchman Alex Levy.
Last year’s Scottish Open winner, Spaniard Rafa Cabrera Bello, teams up with Austrian Bernd Wiesberger while double Dunhill Links champion Tyrrell Hatton partners fellow Englishman Ross Fisher in the anchor match.
“I believe we are off to a good start with the pairings we have this week,” said Bjorn, who is locking horns with Arjun Atwal in the third staging of the event, which Europe won by 13 points two years ago.
“I’ve worked close with the stats guys and I’ve talked to the players, I’ve talked to the senior players and I’ve talked to the young ones. I think we’re in a good place with the pairings we have.”
(European names first)
8.35am Tommy Fleetwood and Paul Casey v Byeonghun An and Kiradech Aphibarnrat
8.50am Thomas Pieters and Matt Fitzpatrick v Yuta Ikeda and Gavin Green
9.05am Alex Noren and Paul Dunne v Hideto Tanihara and Phachara Khongwatmai
9.20am Henrik Stenson and Alex Levy v Sunghoon Kang and Poom Saksansin
9.35am Bernd Wiesberger and Rafa Cabrera Bello v Nicholas Fung and Li Haotong
9.50am Ross Fisher and Tyrrell Hatton v Anirban Lahiri SSP Chawrasia