Casey (69): Major win could change Euro Tour plans


AUGUSTA, Ga. – On this, Paul Casey has been exceedingly clear.

The Englishman announced late last year that he would not be taking up membership on the European Tour in 2016, which means he will not be able to play on this year’s European Ryder Cup team.

Casey said the decision was based on remaining close to his family in the United States and his continued focus on playing the PGA Tour.

On Thursday, after an opening 69 left him three shots off the early lead at the Masters, Casey said a major championship victory could change his mind.

“If my position changes, which I'd like it to, maybe a major victory or something like that, you know, I'll readdress it,” said Casey, who has played on three European Ryder Cup teams but none since 2008. “That would move the needle.”

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The European Tour changed its criteria for membership last year, dropping the minimum from 13 events – including the majors and World Golf Championships – to 11 tournaments, excluding the majors and WGCs.

Casey has said that for a player in the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking, however, the minimum number to maintain membership has remained the same since he would still play all of the marquee events as well as the regular European tournaments.

Casey also said he met with European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley this week at Augusta National and that the two had a “chat.”

“The number didn't change from last year, and so I have to give my focus to my family,” Casey said.