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Paul Casey hits out at European Tour over Ryder Cup requirements

Paul Casey opted against joining the European Tour this season despite being keen to play in the Ryder Cup. David Cannon/Getty Images

The controversy surrounding Paul Casey's decision to rule himself out of reckoning for Ryder Cup selection has taken another twist after the Englishman hit out at European Tour officials.

Arizona-based Casey last year opted against joining the European Tour, therefore rendering himself ineligible for this year's Ryder Cup, which takes place in September at Hazeltine National, Minnesota.

Keith Pelley, the European Tour chief executive, has insisted his organisation made it "very easy" for players to keep hold of their membership after cutting the qualifying requirement from 13 tournaments to five -- a number than now excludes majors and World Golf Championships.

World No.30 Casey, however, revealed his frustration with the current system, claiming his position inside the world's top 50 put him at a disadvantage under the new rules.

"I was really frustrated when I read Keith Pelley's press release," he told the Times. "It was infuriating actually. He was saying he had done everything he could to make it easier for Paul Casey to play the European Tour. Keith Pelley -- you did not. He made it easier for guys outside the top 50. I appreciate that, don't get me wrong.

"I have had no second thoughts. As recently as the Open last year I was leaning towards joining the European Tour. But, deep down I was hoping there would be a shift in the membership requirements.

"The reality is that there hasn't been. Not for me anyway. I know the new rules help those outside the top 50. But I'm inside the top 50 and so playing five outside the WGCs and the majors is pretty much exactly the same as what they wanted from guys in my position before the rule change.

"I like to think that, if Samuel Ryder were alive today and saw the present situation, he would be saying that this was not what he envisioned when he came up with the original idea for the matches. Last time I looked I was European, so that should be enough to make me eligible. I've never agreed that to be eligible you should have to be a European Tour member."

Only seven Europeans sit above Casey in the world golf rankings and the 38-year-old admitted his annoyance at the fact defending champions Europe would enter the competition without their strongest squad.

"I don't believe there are 12 players better than me," Casey said. "That's my opinion. And I've heard it from others. I take that as a huge compliment. And the whole hoo-ha I take as a compliment. If people didn't ask me about it, it would mean I was irrelevant.

"I don't care about relevancy, but it tells me they think I am capable of winning big events and all the rest of it. I smile. Which is why I'm not bored with the questions. But they do make me chuckle."

Pelley defended the European Tour's decision to change the qualifying requirements, insisting the new rules did not favour players outside the world's top 50.

He said: "We made a number of changes to our regulations to make it easier for all our players -- inside or outside the top 50 in the world -- to retain membership for the 2016 season, not just the change from 13 events to five but also announcing that the Open de France would count as two events played, in addition to the Olympic Games counting. I also said in November that I fully respect Paul's decision and that has not changed."