124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2

The Loop

Paul Casey still hedges on Ryder Cup, but "I'm all in for the Olympics," he says


Harry How/Getty Images

March 05, 2016

DORAL, Fla. -- For those struggling to get their heads round Paul Casey’s reluctance to join the European Tour and so make himself eligible for the upcoming Ryder Cup matches, further confusion was thrown into the mix immediately after the former European PGA champion’s second round 68 at the WGC Cadillac Championship. Talking about the Olympic Games, the Arizona-based Englishman was at pains to emphasize how much he would relish the opportunity to represent Team Great Britain.

"I’m all in for the Olympics,” said Casey. “I want the tracksuit. I want everything. I would love to be part of that mix. It would be great if there were three of us in Rio. Danny (Willett) is playing some tremendous stuff. Right now, the team aspect of it looks to be him and Justin (Rose). I’ve got time to catch them, but I’d love to be there if only in an individual capacity. The more of us there, the better chance we have of bringing home medals.

“Winning this week wouldn’t hurt my chances. I always watched the Olympics growing up. I love it to death. It’s the fact that you only have a chance to win a medal every four years. Representing my country is, so far, the biggest thing I’ve done in the game. And I’d love to do that on an Olympic stage.”

Inevitably, the subject of the Ryder Cup also came up. Casey still has until May 1st to change his mind and join his home tour in a belated effort to make what would be his fourth appearance in Europe’s colors. But that seems unlikely. Only last week at the Honda Classic, Casey told the London Times he had “no second thoughts” about his decision.

“As recently as the Open last year I was leaning towards joining the European Tour,” he said. “But, deep down I was hoping there would be a shift in the membership requirements. The reality is that there hasn’t been. Not for me anyway. I know the new rules (reducing the number of tournaments required from 13 to five, excluding the four majors and the World Golf Championships) help those outside the top 50. But I’m inside the top 50 and so playing five outside the WGCs and the majors is pretty much exactly the same as what they wanted from guys in my position before the rule change.

“I was really frustrated when I read (European Tour executive director) Keith Pelley’s press release. It was infuriating actually. He was saying he had done everything he could to make it easier for Paul Casey to play the European Tour. Keith Pelley – you did not. He made it easier for guys outside the top 50.”

One week on, Casey’s tune was a little different.

“I don’t think about it,” he claimed. “I’m still thinking about playing out here and focusing on putting together a great round of golf tomorrow. I get to go home to the family next week, which I’m looking forward to.

“I love Darren to death. He’s got my full support. He’s going to be a great captain and I’m right behind him. But the focus is still out here right now. I haven’t even thought about what winning a big event would do to my thinking. I don’t think about what has happened up to this point. And I don’t think about the future. So it’s not a concern.”