RIFFA, Bahrain – Paul Casey expects to needle Colin Montgomerie quite a bit at this week’s Volvo Golf Champions, although it has nothing to do with being left out of last year’s Ryder Cup team.
The brand new European Tour event in Bahrain is played on the Montgomerie-designed Royal Golf Club course, which has been criticized by some players because of the severe undulation on several greens.
“(Montgomerie) is clearly going to get a bit of stick from the players,” Casey said. “It’s almost like the plans came in for the greens and they got multiplied, significantly. Just very severe slopes. … I mean, Monty knows he’s got a target on him this week, but we’re going to have fun with him. We’re not going to be too hard on him.”
As far as the rest of the 7,243-yard, par-72 course, Casey said he and most of his colleagues were more than satisfied.
“I’ll be honest, from the tee to green, it’s a pretty decent layout,” he said. “I think the guys will actually play the golf course very well and make putts on them. What it does, it just limits pin positions. But it is what it is. It’s wonderfully prepared, and there’s a tournament to win this week.”
The No. 9-ranked Casey was left out of Montgomerie’s winning European Ryder Cup team last year, and the Englishman expressed disappointment at the time that he had not been contacted by the captain before his picks were announced.
However, there doesn’t seem to be any ill feelings between the two over that issue. Casey said he spoke to Montgomerie last week during the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship and that “in terms of where we stand, we are friends and we always have been friends.”
“I had no issues with not being selected for the Ryder Cup,” Casey said. “I had issues with the timing of the announcement, that is, finding out on the golf course. … I never had any issues with the decision that went down and I never had any issues with Monty. You know, there was some fun and games in the press about neither of us making contact. I don’t think Colin is a big fan of phones. I’m certainly not. I’m probably the worst person at communication.”
Casey will be grouped with Robert Karlsson of Sweden and Noh Seung-yul of South Korea when the tournament starts Thursday.