ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – Watching Europe lose the 2016 Ryder Cup was a major factor in Paul Casey’s decision to rejoin the European Tour, the Englishman has admitted.
Casey returns to the European circuit after a three-year absence. Falling out of the top 50 and having a young family prompted that decision, but Casey found the anguish of watching Europe lose at Hazeltine hard to take.
“Watching the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine I was frustrated that I couldn’t contribute,” Casey said on the eve of the $3 million Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship. “The result was a hard one to watch knowing that you’ve got no impact whatsoever.
“It’s a major part of this decision.”
There’s another contributing factor. The three-time Ryder Cup player is now 40, and knows his chances of helping Europe win the Ryder Cup are dwindling.
“The opportunity to play for Europe is now on the table at a Ryder Cup, and just something I just wanted to do, knowing that the clock is ticking. At age 40 I don’t have that many opportunities.
“Of all the golf I’ve played and victories I’ve had, it’s amazing how the three Ryder Cups, sort of nine days of golf that I’ve been part of, feature so heavily in the amazing memories I’ve had, great memories I’ve had in my golfing career. There’s nothing quite like that.”
Casey is making his second European start of the 2018 season after helping Europe win last week’s EurAsia Cup. Mentoring a couple of young Englishman in that event has also whetted his appetite for his first Ryder Cup since 2008.
“The role that I feel I can now play and the assets I have to contribute to a team are great, when maybe in the beginning I couldn’t play those other roles. I wasn’t the experienced guy. Teaming up with a Tyrrell Hatton or a Tommy Fleetwood and being almost double their age is a cool role, and one that hopefully I can play in Paris.”
Casey is wise to choose Abu Dhabi as the first stroke play event on his schedule. He’s a two-time winner in Abu Dhabi (2007 and 2009).
A third win would be the perfect way to return to the European fold.