ATLANTA -- During Wednesday's practice round, Paul Casey and Luke Donald played together, testing the narrow East Lake fairways and slick greens. And their conversation surely went a little something like this:
Donald: "Bloody sorry about that whole Ryder Cup snub, mate. Was gobsmacked when I heard it. You deserved it, sure you did."
Casey: "Bugger all, Luke! We've got us a plan for kickin' Monty right in his sizable bum, we do! Pip pip cheerio, lad!"
Yes, in our little world, every Englishman talks like an extra in a road production of "Oliver." And no, I have no indication that there was any conversation at all like that.
Regardless, there very well could have been, because Casey came out swinging on Thursday at East Lake. On an afternoon in which the normally hospitable East Lake reared up a bit -- only nine players shot under par -- Casey notched a 4-under round to tie him for the lead with Geoff Ogilvy and, yep, Luke Donald.
Casey's play is particularly poignant because of the aforementioned snub; Colin Montgomerie -- for reasons he still hasn't explained sufficiently -- left Casey off the European Ryder Cup team. (Note: That photo is not from Atlanta; it's from a couple years ago. But I do like Monty's Jedi ball trick.)
Casey could potentially get on the Ryder team if Lee Westwood isn't ready to play. But the fact that he wasn't brought in the first time around -- and the second-guessing that's sure to rise to a scream if he manages to win the Tour Championship and/or the FedEx Cup -- mean that the screws tighten on Monty just a little bit more.