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May 20, 2009

Paul Casey


STEVE TODD: Paul, thanks for coming in today. Welcome back to England, and you come across with some fine form from the United States. If you can just start by telling us your hopes for this week.
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, it's great to be back. You know, I love to place. It's nice to finally be back home this year. I haven't really spent any time here, yet. It's nice to catch up with family and friends and things I miss, one of which is this golf course.
So a great field, lots of World Ranking points, and the goal this week is obviously to play very good golf and give myself a chance to grab some points, some World Ranking points, some Race to Dubai points and I would dearly love to give myself a chance to win this thing and win a BMW event.
STEVE TODD: You come full of confidence; you have a good record around this course, as well.
PAUL CASEY: It's not a bad record. My best is only tied ninth in this Championship, but I do know how to play this place, and the golf I've been playing recently has been good. I just need to continue that form, continue that trend and continue to make some putts and give myself a chance.

Q. Going back to your form in America, your maiden tour victory over there, how much confidence does that give you coming back to Wentworth and playing a European Tour event?
PAUL CASEY: I think the confidence is obviously pretty good right now, but every event I tee it up in is obviously a big challenge, and the field is very strong this week.
Even after the win in Abu Dhabi and then the win in Houston, every week you get back out there, you don't feel that different.
You know, you just have to start fresh again, so I don't come in here sort of on top of the world thinking this is going to be straightforward or I'm guaranteed to play good golf. I can't think that way.
This is a tricky golf course, and I'm going to have to manage my golf ball very well around here. I think if you look at the guys who have won this championship the past few years, they have clearly had very good putting statistics and short game, and this is not a golf course you can dominate off the tee. So I'm going to have to find a way around it and try and knock the putts in.
So it's very, very difficult. I don't think anything that's happened so far this year can help you predict how guys are necessarily going to play this week.

Q. After Tucson, were you sort of down or lifted by the result that week?
PAUL CASEY: I think I was lifted, actually. Reason being, I think Geoff played fantastic golf. I played good golf and lost, which was disappointing. Clearly the best chance I had had to win a PGA TOUR event. All I had to do was beat one guy. But he played great golf, and he flat-out beat me. It was as simple as that.
But I didn't walk away from there feeling like I lost an opportunity. I just needed to play better golf, or continue to do what I was doing. It didn't need much more. So I think it gave me that sort of belief that I'm very, very close and I'm working on the right things and going in the right direction, and maybe another opportunity will pop up soon, and sure enough, it did.
So I truly believe that finishing second at the Match Play assisted me coming down the stretch at Houston.

Q. As well as you played this year, have you played as well as when you won the Match Play here a few years ago?
PAUL CASEY: I think I've played very good, consistent golf this year, but I think the Match Play was something special. I mean, I had a lot of fun during the Match Play. I think the frame of mind I had and in that format, I was able to go for pins, force the issue a little bit and try to pile on, certainly the final, pile on my position in the final holes with Shaun Micheel and it was go-for-broke really and see what happened. Once I was 4- or 5-up after the lunch, it was like, try and get 6- or 7- or 8-up, and that's just the way it went. There was nothing to lose really.
Just one of those days when the golf ball was coming out in the right place and finishing pretty close to the flag and I was making the putts. You can't play golf like that, I don't think, in a stroke-play situation -- or, you know what, to be honest, I would like to play golf in that situation, but I really was going at the flag. And I have to confess I don't always go at the flags in stroke-play like that. I play more conservative. Maybe I should.

Q. Last summer you were very close to dropping out of the world's Top-50. Did that come as a shock when you saw that, and did it change anything about mental attitude, approach, ethic, work ethic?
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, but I'm trying to think of what did change. I mean, once you're in that Top-50, it's a nice little comforting sort of area, comforting zone, you're in all the sort of big events, the majors, the world golf events, and it's a bit of a wake-up call when you get to the edge of it.
It's just been good, solid stuff, ball-striking, fitness, mental game. It's all just been very, very basic stuff, but working incredibly hard.
I don't say there's anything necessarily drastically different on what I've been working on. I think maybe just the work ethic's just been harder.

Q. John Daly question. He's been over here for a while now. I guess you must have been a student in the States when he won the Open in '95, or your late teens. Were you a Daly fan there and what are your thoughts on him now and his trip over here?
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, I had one of those white-headed drivers with the red shaft, which I actually won in a competition as an amateur, and it was the best thing ever. It was the same driver I think he used at Crooked Stick when he won his PGA there.
Yeah, definitely a fan -- what was the last half of the question? I was just reminiscing about the driver.

Q. What are your thoughts on his trip over here for the four weeks he's been over here, and the way he is now getting sort of back?
PAUL CASEY: It is great to see him out here. I am a huge fan of John's. I love the play he plays golf. I think he's so talented. He's a pleasure to be around. I've got along great with him. He's always been a gentleman to me, and he still has that buzz about him. People want to be around John, whether John's doing well or you know, John has obviously been through some tough times. They just want to sort of help him out and be around him whether it's good or bad.
And I just walked through the range and there's just 50 people just standing behind, just watching what he does. And I think it's great. It brings something to this golf tournament, brings something to every golf tournament he plays in; I can see why sponsors continue to invite him, and I can't blame them.
I think in all, he's stayed positive on the game of golf, and you know, I want to see John playing his best golf again, because when he plays his best golf, it's truly phenomenal. That's what I'd like to see. I'd like him to tee it up this week and go rip it, and hopefully get a chance to play with him over the few events in Europe wherever he might be playing. Maybe I'll play with him on the weekend, I don't know, but it's good to see him back here.
Having said that, nice trousers. (Laughter) I hope he's getting a lot of money.

Q. I remember you a couple of years ago saying that you felt you had made it to the upper echelons of golf almost despite the system and you were talking about your foundation. Can you just tell us where that is at the moment in terms of its development, and is it proving difficult with you being based in the States most of the time to give it the time and commitment that's necessary?
PAUL CASEY: Honestly, yes, it's a little bit -- really trying to define what I'm trying to achieve is the most difficult thing. I think I've been very, very lucky to have not had anything, touch wood, sort of truly terrible. I don't have, you know, experience with sort of terminal illness or something like that that I can genuinely put all of my focus into.
I feel the reason I'm sitting here today, is because of the opportunity I was given as a kid growing up, and that's what I've wanted to create with the foundation. Having said that, there's a lot of stuff out there trying to do the same thing, and you end up just sort of overlapping.
So I need to figure it out. The guy I work with and Guy in the back, we are trying to figure it out, and I want to continue to give that opportunity to kids. It doesn't just have to be in golf. It just has to be in life in general. Certainly welcome to more ideas, but I think we are going to re focus here. Right now it's still a little bit vague, and that's no good. I can't focus my time and energy, which I want to do; I don't think it matters, I haven't been here so far that much this year.
You know, time is a precious thing, but when you're into something 100 per cent and your heart is in it, you will always find time to create the time.

Q. Is it necessarily a question of time or money or a combination of both or inspiration, perhaps?
PAUL CASEY: It's not a question of money. We'll find the money. It's a little bit the inspiration. And then once that's there, the focus and the time will be there, as well.
So really right now, it's focusing down and getting the inspiration and being behind it 100 per cent with not only my brain but my heart.

Q. Just going back to the nice things you were saying about John Daly, in view of all that, do you think he was treated unfairly by the US PGA or by the people that criticised him over the last year?
PAUL CASEY: I don't know all of the details. I think it would be un-wise to comment on that.
All I know, I think he's a great guy at heart. I try and see the good. Has he possibly made a couple mistakes? Yes, but I mean, I think they pale in comparison to what's going on in the world in general right now.
So all I know is when he's out on the golf course, he brings a smile to people's faces, and that's the most important thing. I think that counts for a lot right now. People will go home and say: I saw John Daly today, and look at his trousers, they were outrageous, but I saw him his this 4-iron fantastic and he stopped it on the green and it was 230 yards or whatever. And that something in that -- there's a lot of great players out here, but John creates memories. I think that's the bit we need to focus on with John.

Q. Would you choose to watch him --
PAUL CASEY: Yes, I would watch John.

Q. Ahead of everyone else?
PAUL CASEY: Depends who is playing.

Q. Whoever is here?
PAUL CASEY: Whoever is here this week. I might watch myself actually (laughter).
I would go watch him if he was playing well. I'm not sort of, car-crash TV, I'm not into that. But if John was playing great golf and up there, even just in the lead or a few shots off the lead, I'd go watch him, yeah, and in front of a lot of other players.

Q. We had Rory McIlroy in this morning talking about why he felt individual golf is more interesting to him than team golf. Do you think his view on that will change after he's played in The Ryder Cup, and what's your view on the balance of those two?
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, I think his view of it will change once he plays The Ryder Cup, and I think he will be on the team in 2010. Yeah, something very special about it. Ask him again once he's been there in Wales.

Q. What was your reaction when you heard it; amused?
PAUL CASEY: I didn't really read the comments, but yeah, I'm not going to read too much into it.

Q. Did you ever think that yourself before you played in it? Did it change the way you thought?
PAUL CASEY: I don't know exactly what Rory said, and I don't know how it was sort of taken. You know, he's very focused on tournament week-in and week-out, one shot at a time.
When he gets there, he'll understand. I think representing your country is for me, not knowing what it was going to be like going into it, I just know that representing -- any time I've represented my country has been a very special thing and I've wanted to do that, and something more, obviously, because I was representing Europe, as well, and my tour and my other teammates.
But I didn't have any idea how big it was until I got there, I must admit.

Q. I just want to ask you about Shane Lowry's win at the weekend. Great story obviously.
PAUL CASEY: I watched that.

Q. Some subject I don't knows from the states that it maybe raises questions about the strength and depth on The European Tour; I don't think it's happened in 19 years in America that an amateur has won. What's your view on that, bearing in mind you are based up there a lot of the time.
PAUL CASEY: Has Phil Mickelson been playing 19 years; was he the last?
He's clearly a brilliant player. I'm going to guess he plays a lot of links golf and probably knows that golf course quite well; I may be wrong.
Certainly as an amateur growing up, I felt like all we used to play was links golf and I knew how to play it pretty well, and then as soon as I turned pro, we make a visit to a links course about once or twice a year.
Watching it, it looked like he played great golf. I wouldn't take anything away from him or put down my fellow pros. I mean, crickey, I played in the Johnnie Walker Classic and lost to Danny Lee, and I thought the field was quite good there.
I think amateurs now are very -- well, they are a lot more established. They are much -- it's certainly easier for the Amateurs now to make that transition to the pro ranks and win fairly early. I'd like to know how often that happened. I say that as a bit of a statement; I would like to know how often that happened many years ago.
There's a lot of factors that went into last week. But yeah, as I said, I think he clearly deserved it from the quality of golf he played and it shouldn't take anything away from the pros.

Q. Going back to what you were just saying about the tournament play, as against Ryder Cup, you had probably two of the biggest and best weeks of your life back-to-back winning the million pounds and the record-winning score in The Match Play here and then the very next week being on the winning team in The Ryder Cup. Which of those two, if you could, would you say gave you the biggest buzz?
PAUL CASEY: I think standing on that stage being introduced as a Ryder Cupper is still a huge buzz. Winning around Wentworth was great. I was at home, a lot of friends and family, and all I had to do was beat one guy on Sunday.
Yes, it was an awful lot of money, and the biggest win I had had anywhere, biggest win I had ever had. But it paled in comparison to standing on that stage at The Ryder Cup and Oakland Hills, or standing on the first tee with David Howell wondering whether I was going to make contact with the golf ball; it's not even close.
Different feelings, though. I mean, winning the Match Play, you come in here, you do the press conference, and yes, it's exciting, it's great. But usually you go home and you sort of sit on the couch and go, now what. It's great, but it was very different from a Ryder Cup experience. You've got 11 other team members and captains and vice captains and family, and all the rest of it that you share that win with.
And then for me, I even get comments about it now; I watched you play at Oakland Hills or The K Club or whichever one it was, the hole-in-one. For me, The Ryder Cup situation pops up more than anything else. Don't know why, it just does, and it provides some of the best memories.
Are they better memories than winning individually? They are different. And I'm not Major Champion, I'd love to be and I think winning a major is still the pinnacle and still the ultimate goal. But Ryder Cup experience is up there.

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