(Reuters) - European Team captain Thomas Bjorn tapped into Paul Casey’s vast match play experience on Thursday in naming the Englishman as one of his two wildcard selections for January’s EurAsia Cup against hosts Asia.
Casey was part of back-to-back Ryder Cup triumphs in 2004 and 2006 but the Phoenix-based 40-year-old was unavailable for selection in the last edition after giving up his European Tour membership to focus on the PGA Tour.
“Once Paul announced he was rejoining the European Tour, and therefore making himself available for selection, that decision was a no-brainer for me,” Bjorn, who will also lead Europe’s Ryder Cup challenge in France next year, said in a statement.
”He is a wonderful player with a lot of experience and I think the young guys can learn a lot from him.
“He’s also got a fantastic match play record and not just in Ryder Cups. He is comfortable with where he is in his life right now and him wanting to part of the EurAsia Cup team also shows his commitment to the European Tour and the road he is now on.”
The European team also includes Englishmen Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton, Ross Fisher and Matthew Fitzpatrick, Spaniard Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Austrian Bernd Wiesberger, Ireland’s Paul Dunne, Belgian Thomas Pieters, and the Swedish duo of Alex Noren and Henrik Stenson.
Alex Levy of France was the other wildcard selection for the third staging of the tournament at Kuala Lumpur’s Glenmarie Golf and Country Club from Jan. 12-14.
“I have assembled a team which will hopefully go out and retain the EurAsia Cup,” Denmark’s Bjorn added.
“But I also have one eye on next September and selecting Alex will give him a feeling of being part of what a team event feels like, as I know it’s very much on his mind to try and make the Ryder Cup team.”
Bjorn’s counterpart Arjun Atwal will name his Asian team on Tuesday as the hosts look to win the event for a first time after tying in 2014 before suffering a heavy defeat two years later.
Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by John O'Brien