Paul Casey clarifies his decision to pass on European Tour membership
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 30/01/16 8:02pm
Paul Casey has insisted that his decision to relinquish his European Tour membership was taken in the best interests of his family.
Casey resides with his wife and young son in Arizona and plays full time on the PGA Tour, but he did not want to commit to playing an extra five European Tour events this season outside of the majors and WGCs.
Only European Tour members can be considered for the Ryder Cup in September, regardless of where they are primarily based, and Casey's decision effectively ruled him out of Darren Clarke's plans.
Clarke revealed earlier this week that he would welcome Casey "with open arms" if he went back on his decision, but he understood the Englishman putting his family first.
"Would I love to have to him on the team? Of course. He's world class," the European captain told the Daily Telegraph. "I thought he was going to join, but he put his family first and that can't be faulted. All I can is that the opportunity is there for him."
But speaking to Sky Sports 4 during the Farmers Insurance Open, Casey claimed his decision was "never about the Ryder Cup".
"It's all about my family. It was all about them last year, and it still is," said Casey, who played in the two huge Ryder Cup wins in 2004 and 2006 but has not appeared in the contest since the defeat in Valhalla in 2008.
"I was hoping that the rules might shift a little bit. [European Tour chief executive] Keith Pelley said they did, but they didn't if you're in my position.
"The numbers stayed the same, you've still got to play 13 events if you want to be a member of the European Tour. This year is doubly difficult because it's an Olympic year as well. Nobody knows how that will work out, but the schedule is very complicated and will put extra strain on some guys.
"My decision was never about the Ryder Cup, which is what I always get asked. The decision was about what's best for my family, and unfortunately, the by-product is what it is."