On the morning after one of the most shocking, sobering and painful days of his professional career, Paul Casey played golf with friends.
The morning after that, he is scheduled to tee it up yet again, this time at fabled Pine Valley with a group including a player who actually made the Ryder Cup roster.
Unlike Casey himself.
Shell-shocked or not, the world's ninth-ranked player tried to move forward Monday after he was skipped over for a spot on the European Ryder Cup team by captain Colin Montgomerie.
Which isn’t to say it was easy.
"Obviously, he's extremely disappointed," said Peter Kostis, Casey's swing coach, who played alongside his pupil in a friendly round Monday at a course in New Jersey. "He wanted to play very badly. But it is what it is, and it's out of his control."
It is what it isn’t, too, a phrase that described the whole confusing Sunday scenario, which resulted in Casey and world No. 22 Justin Rose being bypassed for one of three available captain's picks doled out by Monty after the European Tour event concluded in Scotland night.
Casey took the news hard and was struggling to maintain his composure when offered condolences were offered by a parade of onlookers who felt he had been, as they might say in that particular area of New Jersey, royally hosed. Casey at one point was unable even to croak out a response and kept his dark sunglasses in place to mask his watery eyes.
Kostis, also an analyst for CBS Sports, came out counterpunching Monday and defended Casey against those who felt he should have played more often in Europe to help secure an automatic spot based on merit. Casey, who played in the final group at the British Open six weeks ago, was bounced out of the top nine eight days ago.
"When they say he didn’t play enough or isn’t committed enough, look at the numbers," Kostis said.
Fair enough. Of the two PGA Tour members who were picked ahead of him Sunday, Padraig Harrington, who hasn’t won a tournament in two years and hasn’t won a match in the past two Ryder Cups, played in two European Tour events in 2010. Luke Donald, ranked No. 10 in the world last week, one slot below Casey, played in four European events this year. Casey has played in five.
Kostis said Casey was seriously taken aback by overseas reports characterizing him as a less-than-cohesive figure in the Ryder team room, but in other media quarters, his snub by Monty was fiercely criticized.
"Trust me, he has been heartened by the outpouring of commentary along the lines of, 'I can’t believe what happened,'" Kostis said.
Adding more salt to the wound -- Casey personally attended Monty's wedding two years ago and they share the same agent.
Considering that players who already secured positions on the European team were critical of a selection system that could leave out Casey and Rose, a two-time winner on the PGA Tour this year, Kostis predicted that an overhaul will be forthcoming. Casey, a member of both tours, is on the European committee that overseas the Ryder system, ironically.
"In my opinion, the real bad thing here is the system," Kostis said. "It sucks when you can’t manage to get a player with two big PGA Tour wins or a guy ranked No. 9 in the world on the team. Their system is even more convoluted than FedEx Cup points.
"The net result of this whole debacle is that their points system is going to change."
The timing of the announcement could stand a good enema, too. The Barclays results were largely irrelevant because Monty had to announce his picks when the final round in the States was still being played. In the U.S. process, the wildcards picks are announced a day after the final qualifying tournament in the evaluation period has ended.
"I think the way he found out was even more devastating than the news itself, and that's something else that needs to be rectified," Kostis said.
In a particularly brusque slap, Casey learned he hadn’t been picked when Harrington's wife, Caroline, gave her husband a cheery thumb's up as the two pairings partners played the sixth hole Sunday. When Casey didn’t receive a similar gesture from her, he knew he was toast.
Casey and Kostis are set to play Pine Valley on Tuesday and Wednesday with a handful of fellow members from the Whisper Rock Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., including PGA Championship winner and Ryder member Martin Kaymer. Kostis said Casey was bruised but moving forward.
"He is doing as well as can be expected, and I am going to use Dustin Johnson as an example," Kostis said of the player who lost a shot at the PGA title because of a last-hole rules infraction. "He has made a giant step toward putting it behind him, or at least as much as he can in one day.
"He's going to try to continue toward that end like Dustin had to after what happened at the PGA."
Good luck there. The difference is, Johnson was zapped in a cut-and-dried, black-and-white, depersonalized ruling. It'll be impossible for Casey not to take his subjective snubbing far more personally.