Thomas Bjorn: Europe's Ryder Cup captain

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn is Denmark's most successful golfer, but he now sets his sights on returning his continent to golfing glory.

Posted: Feb 7, 2018 6:02 AM
Updated: Feb 7, 2018 6:16 AM

When it comes to the Ryder Cup, Paul Casey has some unfinished business.

The Englishman played in three consecutive contests between 2004 and 2008 and looked very much part of Europe's future.

But in 2010, having failed to earn enough points to qualify for the team automatically, captain Colin Montgomerie overlooked Casey as a wildcard pick, despite him being ranked in the world's top-10 at the time.

Casey decided to relinquish his European Tour status, making him ineligible for the Ryder Cup. The 40-year-old hasn't played in the event since.

READ: A Dane's date with destiny

A change of heart and schedule has seen Casey reconsider that decision. And now he has one eye on making the European team for this year's showdown with the Americans in Paris.

''I want to play a Ryder Cup, or at least make myself eligible and hopefully play one so my family can be there,'' he told CNN Living Golf recently. ''I've got so many great experiences from Ryder Cups that I just want to try and see if I can make another one.''

After Europe were well beaten by the United States 17-11 two years ago, the 2018 captain, Thomas Bjorn, knew he had to get the likes of Casey back into the fold to add steel to his European squad.

He selected Casey for the recent EurAsia Cup match against Asia, a decision vindicated when the 13-time winner on the European Tour secured two points from his three matches.

And Casey is effusive in his praise of Bjorn.

''I've got a really great history with Thomas since I've been on Tour, he really is going to be a great captain,'' he says. 'Thomas has been great along the way in assisting with the decision that I made.''

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According to Tommy Fleetwood, one of the rising stars of the European Tour, Casey is an ideal possible teammate ahead of September's contest at Le Golf National.

'You want your 12 strongest players and when that time comes around, if Paul is one of them, then you don't want to miss out on that kind of figure and player so it's important that he's come back'' says Fleetwood, who started this year with a win at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship and is a strong contender for Bjorn's team.

Having lived in the US and played on the PGA Tour since 2004, Casey knows more than most about the strength of the opposition that awaits Europe.

''America has really figured out how to play team golf. They've had great success at the President's Cup, now the Ryder Cup is theirs.

"These really young players, if you look at Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, I mean what a unit. All great friends and amazing golfers,'' he says. ''We're going to have to play some amazing golf. But I think the matches will be brilliant I can guarantee. ''

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With eight months still to go until the Ryder Cup and with players coming in and out of form, Casey knows his place in Bjorn's European team is far from guaranteed. It's time to take his chance.

''The clock is ticking,'' he says. ''At 40 years-old now I know I've not got that many more opportunities.''

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