Three months after making what he called the "horribly awful" decision not to pick his "friend" for the Ryder Cup, Colin Montgomerie still hasn't spoken to Paul Casey.
The latter admitted as much here yesterday after putting himself in contention for the Dubai World Championship.
The news will surprise many, not least because when overlooking Casey, the world No 7, in his three wild-card picks for Celtic Manor, the Europe captain vowed to talk with the Englishman who "attended my wedding". For his part, Casey looked hurt at the continued silence when, for the first time, he spoke in depth about his rejection.
"No, I haven't yet spoken to Monty," said Casey, denying that, as believed, the pair had chatted in the hours after the team announcement. "But I think there's a voicemail somewhere."
Casey then revealed that he had expected Montgomerie to seek him out at a pro-am dinner in Shanghai four weeks ago, particularly as the Scot had not only informed the press of his intention but also texted Casey that day. "I saw him there, but then he was gone," said Casey. "He knew where to find me."
When asked if it was strange that they had been at the same function and Montgomerie had failed to make contact, Casey replied with more than a hint of bewilderment. "We also have the same manager," he said.
Perhaps Montgomerie's latest snub is just as well, as it is doubtful Casey would have agreed with his explanation for looking to others at Celtic Manor. Montgomerie cited Casey's unsuitability to the foursomes format, saying it would have "limited his role". That viewpoint plainly baffles, if not angers, Casey.
"I've only lost two foursomes and one of those was against Tiger [Woods] and the other time was when I played with Henrik [Stenson] when we just didn't gel," said the three-times Ryder Cup player. "Otherwise my record with David Howell and Luke [Donald] is 100 per cent. When we won the 2004 World Cup in Seville, Luke and I scored better in the foursomes than in the fourballs, shooting 64-64. So me not being very good at foursomes is nonsense."
Another supposed factor was Casey's unpopularity in the team room. "I don't believe that for a second," he said, looking stunned by the suggestion. "But if you are talking about popularity in general, that shouldn't count anyway, as it should be all about how many points you put on the board."
Nobody has ever doubted Casey's talent. What was in question was his commitment to securing enough points to qualify as of right. Despite being just one place off the last spot, Casey declined to travel to the last qualifying event at Gleneagles, electing to play in America instead – although he was hardly alone on that score as Padraig Harrington and Luke Donald, who were chosen, also stayed Stateside that week.
"I've only got myself to blame regarding the Ryder Cup – I didn't have enough points," he said. "But what did hurt me was the way I found out. Can you imagine what it was like, with the press conference happening while we were on the course and finding out that way?"
Casey was actually playing with Harrington, on the seventh hole of the final round of the Barclays event, when the news came through. "I didn't know what to do," he said. "I felt like shaking Paddy's hand and walking in, to be honest. Whatever happens, that's got to change – the announcement has to be put back to Monday. It's simply unfair. It was unfair on all of us."
That is an argument for another day. For now, Casey is taking motivation from what has quite plainly been the worst time of his career. "If I've been knocked down or told by someone that I can't do something then I've always liked to fight back and prove someone wrong," he said.
Certainly, that has seemed the case here. After 12 holes of the first round he was two over par, but at the halfway point is just one off the pace on seven under. Ian Poulter and Ross Fisher head a stellar leader board that also sees Lee Westwood on eight under.
In the Order of Merit battle, Martin Kaymer appears to have the £935,000 bonus in the bag. The German is alongside Casey and is eight shots ahead of Graeme McDowell, who alone can deny him the Harry Vardon Trophy.
McDowell shot a 73 to stand at one over but needs at least third place to overhaul Kaymer's £250,000 advantage. If Kaymer wins this event, though, Westwood needs to finish second to stop the German taking over as world No 1. A thrilling weekend beckons.Reuse content