Paul Casey was notably absent from the Ryder Cup earlier this month as Team Europe lost the biennial competition for the first time since 2008. But that doesn't necessarily mean that the Englishman has already played his last match.
Casey rescinded his European Tour membership in January, a move designed to help him focus solely on the PGA Tour. It also meant that he was ineligible for the Ryder Cup, a fact that grew in importance as he continued a successful 2016 campaign capped off by two runner-up finishes during the FedEx Cup Playoffs.
Casey continued that form into the new season with a T-3 finish at the Safeway Open, and his No. 12 world ranking last week was his highest since being ranked 10th in June 2011. He opened the WGC-HSBC Champions with a 5-under 67 to sit three shots off the lead, then opened the door for a possible return to Team Europe down the line.
"I mean, certainly, a decision I made to focus in the States, I feel has paid dividends. It's made things a lot simpler for me," Casey said. "But there are still desires to play in another Ryder Cup and play some more stuff in Europe. But right now the focus is here and I am enjoying it."
Casey, 39, represented Europe in three straight Ryder Cups from 2004-08, compiling a 3-2-4 individual record while helping the team to a pair of victories. He was notably left off the 2010 team by captain Colin Montgomerie despite being ranked inside the OWGR top 10 at the time, and he hasn't played for Europe since Valhalla eight years ago.
Casey now lives with his wife and son in Arizona, making travel back and forth to Europe a bit more difficult. While he may don the blue and yellow again in the future, he admitted it was difficult to watch several of his countrymen go down in defeat at Hazeltine.
"Really tough watching that," he said. "We know what a pressure cooker the Ryder Cup is, and I'm sure they have a wonderful experience. There's nothing like representing your country."