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July 17, 2010

Paul Casey


MALCOLM BOOTH: Ladies and gentlemen, we're joined by Paul Casey, who shot a 5-under par 67 today to finish with a three-round total of 11-under par. Paul, you're in great shape going into the final day tomorrow. What are your thoughts about the way it went out there today and about replicating that in tomorrow's round?
PAUL CASEY: I would love to replicate that tomorrow. I'm not sure it would be enough with the way Louis is playing, but I was very happy with that. It was a tough outward nine with the wind, and I watched a lot of the golf this morning, and I saw mixed things. I saw some guys making birdies. I saw some guys struggling a bit, so I really didn't know how it was going to go.
I drove the ball beautifully, and that gave me opportunity to hit nice iron shots to try and keep it by the hole or into-the-wind putts, and I did that, and I made a lot of birdies. I thought we could do the same coming back home with the wind -- the wind almost died. We got to about, I'd say, well, 13, it was certainly a lot less than earlier on, and I thought that was a huge break, but I didn't take advantage of it.
A bit disappointing, but all in all, what was it, 67, I mean, I'm very happy with that.

Q. Was that probably the best controlled round that you've played in a major championship?
PAUL CASEY: Probably the most controlled round I've played round St. Andrews. I'm not sure whether it's the most controlled round I've played in a major.

Q. You never seemed to get in any trouble.
PAUL CASEY: No, but these -- I picked the right line off all these tees today, I thought, and I managed to hit the tee shots where I wanted to, which was huge. I switched drivers from the first round to the second and third rounds. I put in a 10 1/2 degree driver that the guys in the Nike truck built me up, and I got more spin, because the first day it didn't have enough spin on the golf ball. And the last two days I've driven it much better, and I think that was the key.

Q. We talked at Tiger's tournament last year about you wanting to play this course and this tournament so much. It's turned out so far pretty special, hasn't it? And inside, is that pretty much what you expected?
PAUL CASEY: (Laughing) You know, going back to Chevron, I had -- was that probably the first time I completed four rounds of tournament golf after injuring myself? You know, really, at that stage and even going into early this year, I was very unsure of how things were going to go, and sitting here right now, I'm ecstatic.
You know, even right now, occasionally I feel the muscles in the ribs. In no way do they affect my golf. But it's a small reminder that, you know, quite often you take for granted a lot of things, and nothing is better than an Open Championship at the home of golf. So I'm loving it. I'm loving the fact I'm playing absolutely great golf and I'm four shots behind Louis (laughing).
It is what it is. I'm having a great time, and I'm going to go out there tomorrow and enjoy myself and have a good attitude. You know, I didn't really do much wrong yesterday but managed to make a triple on 17, and I know what this golf course can do. It can give you some great moments and it can give you some horrible ones. You know, I'm going to go out there with a smile on my face and enjoy it.

Q. The last Englishman to win an Open did very well here. How much an inspiration is Sir Nick Faldo's achievements? And what would it mean if you're able to close it out here tomorrow?
PAUL CASEY: I'm not sure I'm able to explain what it would mean. It is the ultimate for me. Probably even more so because links golf is something I've struggled with. I've always felt my best opportunity has been somewhere like Augusta with my ball flight. And I've worked very hard to give myself the opportunity to compete in an Open Championship, and therefore the opportunity to win, as I've now got.
So yeah, I'm not sure I can describe what it would mean. And Sir Nick's achievements, if I can emulate just a fraction of what he's achieved, and I remember the -- was it the bump-and-run on the third round on 18? Am I getting my history completely wrong? I do remember watching it. I was probably running out to the practise ground then to work on everything I was watching. But he's certainly a hero of mine, and I would love to replicate what he did here.

Q. Your first appearance in the Masters you were one shot off the lead, I think, going into the final round, and that's been your best major finish and really the best sort of shot, I think, that you've had at one in this spot. Are you surprised that it's been this long since you've been this close on a Sunday going into a final round?
PAUL CASEY: I haven't thought about it too much. You know, there are so many great players out there that -- and Tiger has been in pretty good form for most of that (smiling). You know, I've not played the golf I've wanted to, to give myself those opportunities. That's been a bit frustrating, but you know, I've worked very hard, and I feel that I've got ten years or so to take advantage of my game.
I can't tell you what's going to happen in the future, but I would like to think that -- I desperately want to be a major champion, and I think I have the ability, and I think I'm working hard enough, but that doesn't guarantee anything, as we know. So we will see. What was that, 2004? That's gone very quickly, I must admit.

Q. After a fair few years living in America, it's safe to say you might have lost some of your familiarity with links golf. Do you think this is a week when you've got the feel back?
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, I think you'd be right. I think the bump-and-run I played on 18 the first round, the 6-iron through sort of the corner of the Valley of Sin, I played it beautifully and knocked it to tap-in distance for a birdie 3, just made me smile, because I haven't played a shot like that in years. I'll be the first to admit, I worked so hard when I got to the States at being able to play -- certainly when I went to college, changing my ball flight, getting a high ball flight, being able to play the style of golf courses over there that when I came back to play in the British Isles, I had kind of forgotten how to play a little bit. It's in there. I know how to do it, and I love doing it.
Quite often I picked the wrong shot, maybe hit the ball too high and didn't sort of trust my instincts and get back to what I grew up sort of doing, because we used to play links golf all the time.
You know, as an amateur, places like Nairn with the Walker Cup, I was pretty good at it, so why not?

Q. Did it help today playing with Lee? You two guys seemed to really get on well together, you're old Ryder Cup buddies and you seemed to be having a good time. You even congratulated him on that long birdie putt that he holed. You seemed very relaxed.
PAUL CASEY: That was great. I love playing with Lee, and Billy, his caddie, we get along great. So it was a joy. You know, Lee struggled on the outward half, and it was great to see him make the birdie on 10 because looking at my cards the last three days, the back nine is -- I've done my scoring on the front nine this week and haven't really done a thing on the back nine. The birdies he made on 10 and 11, I enjoyed them, because I thought that would sort of kick start my round on the back nine and we could sort of dovetail -- not dovetail but sort of feed off each other and make a lot of birdies on the back, but it didn't happen.
But yeah, it was a joy to play with him. I get along great with Louis, as well. So I think tomorrow is going to be a lot of fun, as well.

Q. The driver, you went up in loft but you kept the same model head?

Q. Would you explain again why you did that?
PAUL CASEY: I went up about three quarters of a degree. The reason being the squalls we were getting coming through this week, the rainstorms, the ball, my spin rate is pretty low. I'm low 2,000s RPM off the driver, which is great when it's nice and hot and sunny, and tricky when water gets between the ball and the club face. So I had a couple of drives slip off the driver face and not go in the desired direction in practise. So I changed that, got through it on Thursday, played pretty good, but went into the van and -- yeah, Pete Powell in the truck went from a 9.5 to a 10.5, same head, VR torque, same shaft, same everything. I said I just want more spin. He said, easiest way of doing it is more loft.
I haven't had a problem keeping it down if I wanted to keep it down. We're just getting our numbers, but if it just gives another 100 or 200 rpm, that's the difference between middle one that slides off the face, and one that goes down the middle of the fairway. That's given me the confidence this week.

Q. How important was that complete break you took ahead of Ireland?
PAUL CASEY: Ahead of J.P.'s event?

Q. Right.
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, I was thinking about that, actually, on the course today. I think it was key, I really do. The U.S. Open at Pebble and then BMW in Munich, you know, I hit it much better than the scores reflected, and I made mental errors. I got in my own way. I didn't really have fun on the golf course. You know, that little break I took and took a holiday for the first time in ten years in the summer, which I should have done before, because it was great, and turned up at J.P., and I will admit I had no clue where the golf ball was going to go at J.P., but I didn't care because I was relaxed.
Bit of a tan, nice and chilled out, and, you know, just enjoyed myself on the golf course at J.P. and then Peter Kostis came in town and we did lots of work and got the golf ball going in the right direction. And I feel fresh and feel ready to play good golf, feel ready to work, good attitude, and really looking forward to the rest of the year, which I wasn't four or five weeks ago. And whatever happens tomorrow happens, but already I'm looking forward to tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to whatever, Canada next week and then the rest of the year.
MALCOLM BOOTH: Paul, many thanks, best of luck tomorrow.

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