GOLF

Paul Casey to re-join European Tour next year

Paul Casey has announced that he will make himself available for the 2018 Ryder Cup by re-joining the European Tour next year.

The Cheltenham-born golfer had to give up his European membership in 2015 when he decided to focus on the PGA Tour, citing his young family making him not want to travel as much as the principle reason, being based in Arizona.

Europe’s rules state that a player must be a member of the European Tour to qualify or be selected as a wildcard for the Ryder Cup, and since 2015 he had declined to re-join.

Casey’s time away from the European Tour has seen him shoot up the world rankings, rising from 75th at the end of 2014 to his current position of 15th.

“I’m excited to say this – for next year I am going to re-join the European Tour,” Casey said.

“The reasons why I didn’t renew my membership originally was because of commitments to my family and, if anything, that’s now doubly difficult because I’ve got a seven-week-old girl at home.

“As hard as it was trying to make it work three years ago, struggling with my game and dropping out of the world’s top 50, I have missed it too much.”

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Casey was part of the European team for the record nine-point Ryder Cup wins in 2004 and 2006, along with the defeat at Valhalla in 2008 where he was unbeaten in his last three appearances. However, Casey were not picked as the wild card by Colin Montgomerie in 2010, despite being ranked seventh in the world art the time, and he has shot down popular rumours that the decision to exclude him played a part in him turning his back on the European Tour.

“I love a great conspiracy theory, but that’s rubbish,” Casey said.

“The number of events that we were required by both Tours at that time made it very difficult to play both well and I suffered. My game wasn’t there to do both successfully. I spoke long and hard with Pollyanna [his wife] about the decision, but we both agreed this is really important for us.”

Casey went on to claim his legitimate excitement to be re-joining the Tour, claiming that he couldn’t deal with the regret of not joining.

“I think ultimately the biggest thing about making this decision is I’m avoiding the regret of not doing this,” he said.

“I want to play another Ryder Cup and that’s why I need to do this. I genuinely can’t tell you how excited I am and how cool it is to think about the possibility of that next September.”

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