The Forecaddie: Relaxed European Tour membership standards suit Paul Casey

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The Forecaddie: Relaxed European Tour membership standards suit Paul Casey

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The Forecaddie: Relaxed European Tour membership standards suit Paul Casey

 

The Forecaddie once travelled through Europe on a gap year. The way things are going, such a trip will soon qualify for European Tour membership. 

Paul Casey has “returned” to the European Tour after a three-year absence to try to play in this year’s Ryder Cup match. The Englishman will play very little in Europe. Casey’s decision to come back to his home circuit was made easier after the European Tour reduced the number of events required for membership from five to four (excluding the majors and WGCs).

“The fact that the numbers dropped from five to four is massive,” Casey said. “Doesn’t seem like a lot, but it is for me. Everything fell into place — the stars aligned.”

Casey’s appearance in the $3 million Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship was his second of the four following Europe’s EurAsia Cup victory in Kuala Lumpur the week before Abu Dhabi. It means Casey is halfway to his quota. And it’s only January.

The 40-year-old will probably make just two appearances on European soil. Aside from the Ryder Cup in Paris, Casey’s considering the BMW PGA Championship in May or the British Masters in October to make up his four events.

Casey hasn’t been a European Tour member since 2014. In those days, members had to play 13 events. Casey was outside the world top 50 and therefore not eligible for the majors and World Golf Championships which count on both tours, so he decided to play the PGA Tour full time. Casey has lived in Arizona for the past 21 years, a natural residence considering he played college golf at Arizona State.

A young family also curtailed his European Tour commitments.

“I’ve been very consistent on the message, that the reason for stepping away was family,” Casey said. “It was too difficult to do. I was struggling to play both tours and family had to be first.”

That’s why his 2018 schedule will still be mostly based on the PGA Tour.

“I’ll be honest. It’s very U.S.-focused,” he said. “It’s where I continue to live and have done for 21 years. That’s not going to change.”

Here’s The Man Out Front’s question: Will Casey still fulfil his membership requirements in the unlikely possibility he doesn’t make the European Ryder Cup team?

Considering the European Tour’s relaxed membership requirements, maybe a brief visit to his parental home in Surrey, England might suffice.

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