Paul Casey quits European Tour in favour of full-time golf in the US

In a decision which has shocked the European Tour, Paul Casey has quit his membership – making himself illegible for the Ryder Cup.

Casey, who once placed third in the World Rankings, has taken the decision to dedicate his time solely with the PGA Tour. And after shooting 62 in the opening round of the Sony Open in Hawaii, the Englishman elaborated on the reasons for turning his back on his home circuit, of which he spent 13 years and claimed 13 titles while accumulating a healthy earning of over £13million.

“I’m no longer a member of the European Tour, which was a very tough decision,” Casey is quoted as saying in The Telegraph. “For as long as I've been professional I've been a member of the European Tour. For a long, long time now, I've been trying to play both the PGA Tour and the European Tour, and some years I've done it brilliantly, and other years I've failed miserably.

“I just didn't want to keep putting myself in kind of a position where I'm struggling to fly around the world, play the numbers, keep my world ranking at a certain number.

“Not being in the top 50 is really difficult to play both tours. It was a decision I didn't take lightly, and I stewed over it for a long, long time. I became a father in September, which is by far the greatest thing ever, and that's become really the focus for me, being at home with Pollyanna [Woodward, his wife] and Lex [their son]. I've never played a full season in the US, so I'm absolutely over the moon. I can spend a little bit more time at home, come to great places like Hawaii and give it all I've got.”

The 37-year-old has made three appearances at the Ryder Cup and is widely considered a matchplay specialist.

2014 Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley picked Casey as one of his wildcards, despite him struggling mightily and slipping to 78th in the World Rankings. This was after he was controversially overlooked for selection by Colin Montgomerie for the 2010 match at Celtic Manor when he was seventh in the world, before also missing out on Medinah in 2012 after being plagued by injuries.

This is a strange and frankly disappointing move by Casey, whose legion of fans who have supported him over the past few years will now be unable to see him at any European Tour event.

Should the move be successful, then perhaps Casey would have made the right call, but right now few will be quick to subscribe to that reasoning. Only time will tell whether he has made the right choice.