NASSAU, Bahamas (AP) Paul Casey would love nothing better than to wear a uniform and play for the flag in 2016.
His motivation is Rio, not Hazeltine.
”Not that I know,” Casey said Tuesday with a smile, ”but I think we have until July 11.”
He was talking about the cutoff for qualifying for the Olympics, and the 38-year-old from England has a good chance to qualify for the United Kingdom. Casey is No. 24 in the world ranking and currently behind Justin Rose (No. 5) and Danny Willett (No. 20). As steady as he has been playing, Casey is setting his target on the top 10. The UK can have as many as four players provided they are within the top 15 on July 11.
As for that other flag-waving event?
Casey disclosed just over a week ago that he was not going to join the European Tour, and thus will not be eligible for the Ryder Cup team. In his mind, this was not a decision based on the Ryder Cup. It was a decision for wife Pollyanna and their 15-month-old son Lex.
”I’m going to continue to focus on the family, which means I’m going to be playing here next year,” said Casey, who lives in Scottsdale, Arizona. ”Family to me is the most important thing.”
Asked if it was hard to turn down the Ryder Cup, he said it was ”not about that.”
”It was looking at the schedule and looking at how much time I can spend with my family,” he said. ”I’m saying `yes’ to family. My life has changed drastically for the better in the last 15 months from having Lex. It’s magic. I wanted to be as good of a father as I can possibly be and spend as much time with Lex and Pollyanna.”
The European Tour last month significantly changed its membership requirements, though it wasn’t a change that helped the top players. Instead of a minimum requirement of 13 events on the schedule, players only have to play five times, but that excludes the majors and World Golf Championships. So that would have come in handy a year ago for Casey when he was not eligible for the eight biggest events.
”Nothing is changed for me,” he said. ”For me and others in the top 50, you still have to play the same events. It would have helped me when I was in the 80s. But it doesn’t change a thing now. And nothing has changed for me. I’m still going to focus on my family.”