Casey returns to action in Germany with eyes focused on Ryder Cup team

Paul Casey, BMW International Open
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Paul Casey knows that he needs to win some tournaments to have a chance to qualify for the European Ryder Cup team.
By
PA Sport

Series: European Tour

Published: Wednesday, June 20, 2012 | 4:06 p.m.

COLOGNE, Germany -- Only 100 days to go to the Ryder Cup and only 10 weeks to make the side -- good news for Paul Lawrie, bad for Paul Casey.

Missing last week's U.S. Open was a calculated move by Lawrie as he tries to earn a second Ryder Cup berth 13 years after his first.

It could have backfired, but it didn't. He dropped only from second to third in the points race and so the 43-year-old Scot is close to clinching his place as he returns to action at the BMW International Open.

Missing the San Francisco action was not part of Casey's plan, however.

After a setback in his recovery from the shoulder dislocation he suffered snowboarding on Christmas Eve, the former world No. 3 pulled out of the season's second major.

Casey is now hoping for the best in Germany, but at 30th in the Ryder Cup standings he has no more time to lose.

"I think I'm done with the recovery. I just need to get the golf game back now -- I just need to play," he said. "If I get going, I still firmly believe I can qualify. It's a case of winning golf events and that's all I can focus on.

"I'm not going to focus on the alternative, which is not making the team."

Aware that his whole game "needs sharpening up," the 34-year-old's aim is to "go out and make a bunch of birdies and enjoy it. And from there just start cranking up the intensity and focus," he said.

Casey is also entered for the French Open in two weeks and might add the Scottish Open at Castle Stuart the week before he heads to Royal Lytham, the course on which he made a successful defense of the English Amateur title in 2000.

He has some happy memories of Gut Larchenhof as well. It is where he had his lowest-ever European Tour round, a 10-under-par course record 62 en route to finishing third in the 2002 German Masters.

Casey plays the first two rounds with Retief Goosen and Thomas Bjorn. The South African finished tied for 10th last week, but Bjorn missed the cut.

Lawrie, paired with big-hitting duo John Daly and Alvaro Quiros, has laughed off being wrongly named throughout Colin Montgomerie's new autobiography.

All references to his 1999 British Open victory and Ryder Cup debut that season talk of Ireland's Peter Lawrie rather than Paul, but Lawrie said: "He's sent me a text to say it'll be changed for the second run of the book. It's not really an issue, but it's funny."

According to reports, he did not think the same about Glasgow-born Montgomerie carrying the Olympic torch through his home city Aberdeen last week.

On his website, Lawrie wrote: "I should have just said, 'It's nothing to do with me who carries the torch', but it's difficult when a lot of people are asking me why I wasn't asked.

"I honestly don't think I should have been asked. Memo to self ... stop making comments on things that have nothing to do with me!"

Montgomerie is back from his commentating work in America to try to reignite his career and will also be at Sunningdale next week trying to qualify for the British Open -- which Lawrie is exempt for until he passes 60.

Martin Kaymer, Sergio Garcia and Bernhard Langer, now 54, are also in this week's field trying for a title won in Munich last June by Pablo Larrazabal after a five-hole playoff with Garcia.