Paul Casey rejoins European Tour next year in a bid to secure a spot in the Ryder Cup team for the eagerly-awaited 2018 event.
Casey has been a regular on the PGA TOUR in the United States, but, desperate to earn a spot in Europe’s 2018 Ryder Cup team, the 40-year-old Englishman has decided to switch back across the Atlantic to aid his cause.
He has been ineligible for a wild card since handing in his Tour card in Europe three years ago. But after consulting with European Tour team captain Thomas Bjorn, Casey has decided he must play in Europe next year to qualify for an automatic spot in the line-up to face the Americans at Le Golf National in Paris in September.
After spending the last three years on the PGA TOUR, Casey said: “I’m excited to say this—for next year I am going to rejoin the European Tour. 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 little girl at home.
“I want to play another Ryder Cup. 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, for multiple reasons.
“But it’s not just the Ryder Cup. What excites me more is the role I can play supporting the young guys.”
He added: “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. Missed my contribution to European golf and watching the Ryder Cup and not being a part of that.
“Thomas [Bjorn] has been a massive support and has certainly assisted in me making the decision with his confidence in me and his backing of my game. I feel like obviously the golf I’ve played the last few years, I can be a massive contribution on the course. I would love to play the role of a senior member on Thomas’s team.”
Casey has appeared in the European Ryder Cup three times, winning twice when helping Europe to success at Oakland Hills in 2004 and K Club in 2006. But he has not appeared in the tournament for almost a decade—his last appearance was at Valhalla in 2008 when Europe suffered a defeat.
Casey’s time on the PGA TOUR has yielded just one win, the 2009 Houston Open. Having lost his form, he has returned to the world’s top 20 this year with consistent performances, albeit failing to add another PGA TOUR title to his list of accomplishments.
The 2009 Houston Open success is one of 17 professional titles for Casey, 13 of which were achieved on the European Tour. Three came in 2006—the year Casey was named European Tour player of the year—while the most recent was in 2014 before he switched to the PGA TOUR.