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August 10, 2010

Paul Casey


KELLY ELBIN: Pause Casey, ladies and gentlemen, joining us at The 92nd PGA Championship at Whistling Straits. This will be Paul's 8th PGA Championship appearance. Paul, welcome back to Whistling Straits, unfortunately you missed the cut in 2004. You played a practice round, maybe some thoughts on the golf course in 2004 versus what you've seen so far this week.
PAUL CASEY: I like what I've seen this week. I didn't play yesterday. A rest day, a little bit sick, actually. I'm always sick I think when I come to a major championship, it seems like, this year.
But I played the past Monday before going down to Bridgestone and had a look, and you know, pretty much what I remembered from 2004. Obviously a couple of architectural changes.
The 6th hole, with the addition of the pot bunker in the middle of the green, the front middle of the green -- it's the middle of the green, and the addition of the fairway on 18, which I don't think we'll see anybody use this week unless it's for maybe a lay up. I don't think that's something that we'll be going for with a tee shot. I still think the tee shot is down the right.
All in all, I think it's very, very fair. Looking forward to getting out there today. I thought some of the landing areas were slightly more generous actually than what I remembered in 2004 and some of the lines off the tee that I had were slightly wrong. But, I like the golf course. I think it's quite an intimidating golf course visually, but I actually like it. I think it suits my style of game.
KELLY ELBIN: Maybe just a general comment, also, you're coming off a tie for third at The Open championship at St. Andrews, talk about your game in general coming into this week.
PAUL CASEY: I feel like the game is okay. I think, you know, last week was a little bit disappointing. I didn't play the golf I wanted to play, but I'm working very hard on the swing. There's a lot of room for improvement in my game right now, and post Open Championship was very much the sort of second wave to my season.
There's a lot of big stuff coming up, obviously this week, and I want to finish off this season with victories, and I've got a lot of things to work on in all aspects of the game. And I'm trying to work on them and trying to play good golf at the same time, which is a difficult thing to do, but I feel like there's no reason why the -- the first half of the year was very much getting over the injury and seeing how the game was after the disappointment of last year. And I feel very happy right now and comfortable on the golf course, but I just want to close it out with a victory or multiple victories to make it a really good year.
KELLY ELBIN: Paul missed the PGA Championship last year with a chest injury.

Q. If you're out in the final group on Sunday, is there anything you would do differently from last time, stuff you might have picked up from the Open?
PAUL CASEY: Not hit it in the bush on No. 12. (Laughing).
But no, I really wouldn't do anything differently. I felt like I played very good golf. I really played brilliant golf. I was happy with the way I played on Sunday. I think that the real turning point for me was not making putts on the 18th on Saturday and then missing the birdie putt on 1 and the par putt on 2. If you change those three shots, turn those around, and then suddenly I've put a lot of pressure on Louis and maybe it's a different story.
But the way I hit the ball and the way I conducted myself, I was happy with it.

Q. You were quite sort of talkative to him and chummy with him beforehand; we wondered if that put him at ease, as well as you, and whether you might have be more standoffish if you're in the same position again, or not.
PAUL CASEY: What you saw on Sunday is the way I am. I can be either way. I've played plenty of match-play matches that if I need to be a certain way on the first tee, then fine, if that's the way it needs to be, okay. But what you saw on Sunday is me, and you know, do you need to be standoffish and try to be intimidating to win major championships? I don't think you do.
So as I say, I was happy with the golf I played. I don't think what you saw on the putting green, you know, me smiling, affected the way I played.

Q. But that's how you are in match-play situations?
PAUL CASEY: (Nodding in agreement. )

Q. What's the sickness at the moment?
PAUL CASEY: I've got a just sort of sinus pressure, ears are sort of clogged. Not equalizing very well. Came on sort of Saturday at Bridgestone and got worse. Sunday night I was a bit messy and yesterday I was sort of not feeling very good but I'm much better today. By Thursday, I should be fine.

Q. You say you wanted to work on changes; do you need to, in the middle of the season?
PAUL CASEY: Well, we have no off-season, as you know, so there's no great time to work on it.
It's fine-tuning it, Mark. You know, the ball-striking last week was not very good Monday through Wednesday. Thursday it was -- Thursday, Friday it was pretty good, and then it was a little bit loose on the weekend again. And you know, Firestone is a fairly claustrophobic golf course anyway, you need to drive it well to play well there. I missed a few fairways and I did a brilliant job of grinding it out and scrambling, which I was very happy with, but I need to hit it much better off the tee if I want to win tournaments for the remainder of this year.
It's not a drastic overall. It's just fine-tuning stuff. I probably haven't spent enough time -- I spent a lot of time on the golf course, but I haven't spent enough time probably fine-tuning and honing a lot of the shots required. My golf right now seems to be a little bit, for me, I'm a little bit unhappy with it because it's a little bit sort of one-dimensional. Typically when I play my best, I move the golf ball around a lot. I haven't had great control hitting the usual shape or moving the golf ball around, cuts and draws off the tee, like I usually do. So I need to build that confidence -- just a few hours on the range to build that confidence back up and I should be fine.

Q. What sort of player would you say this course suits?
PAUL CASEY: Sort of player?

Q. Yeah.
PAUL CASEY: Me. (Smiling).
I don't know, it's a tricky one. This is a links look but it's not -- you can't run the golf ball in on this golf course. It's a through-the-air golf course. Length is obviously an advantage. Having said that, if you look at 2004, it was Vijay, Justin Leonard, Chris DiMarco in a playoff.
So if it's a power player, then maybe it's somebody who drives the ball -- but a power player, they have to drive it well and they have to keep it in play. Or, it's going to be somebody who is very precise and very accurate with long irons, hybrids, maybe somebody like a Luke Donald.
I'm going with a power player. I'm going to favor myself here.

Q. Has anybody talked to you about the Ryder Cup standings --
PAUL CASEY: I still haven't looked at it. I know I'm not in it. I haven't looked at it. (Chuckling).

Q. Have you looked at your schedule?
PAUL CASEY: Well, I know I'm playing this week, and I haven't looked at it after that. So my focus is on this week. You know, my primary concerns are trying to figure out how to drive the golf ball well and get around this golf course and give myself a chance to win on Sunday afternoon.

Q. With Tiger doing what he did at Firestone, is there a different feel about golf at the moment; are we entering a new era?
PAUL CASEY: I don't know about entering a new era. But I think there is a slightly different feel. Certainly this week, I think -- I'll be honest, the feeling in the locker room is slightly different. I think guys feel that this is very much a -- I'll be honest, with the way he played the past week, guys feel like this is wide open, this tournament, and that's not a feeling that a lot of guys have had before.
Graeme McDowell played tremendous golf at the U.S. Open. So did Louis playing his golf at The Open Championship. That, combined with the way Tiger played last week, I think guys now feel that -- there are multiple winners, multiple possible winners this week. It's different, not a feeling we've had in a while.

Q. Is there a sense among the players that you feel that he can get it back, but he has lost some of his aura and he will never be quite as dominant as he was in the past?
PAUL CASEY: I don't know. You'd have to ask them. I think he'll get it back, yeah. I don't know if he depends on -- we'll see when he comes back, but I have no doubt in my mind that he will be back -- to his levels, I don't know where he'll be, but to his very, very high standards when he gets back.

Q. And the sense of aura that he carries?
PAUL CASEY: We'll have to see. You know, he might come back better than he was before. I don't put anything past him.

Q. Following that up, do you think given how people putt over age that Tiger will ever putt as he did when he seemed to almost hole 20-footers at will, and do you expect to see him at The Ryder Cup?
PAUL CASEY: Well, I'll answer The Ryder Cup first. Do I expect to see him at The Ryder Cup? Possibly. I mean, it all depends on this week. I mean, he could still -- he's still a favorite, if you look at the bookies for this week.

Q. I'm sure you've talked about it amongst The European Team; what's the feeling?
PAUL CASEY: I haven't talked -- the question was have we talked about it amongst ourselves? Since Sunday finished, I really haven't talked to any European guys. I wasn't here for very long yesterday.

Q. And you weren't talking about it during the tournament at all last week?
PAUL CASEY: Certainly weren't talking about whether he was going to be on The Ryder Cup or not, no.
And as for the putting, do you really get worse with age in putting? That's really disappointing. (Laughter) If I'm beyond my prime in putting, that's quite sad.
I don't see why -- why does putting deteriorate the older you get? I'm sure it would be easier, wouldn't it?

Q. Physically, we deteriorate as we get older?
PAUL CASEY: We just deteriorate, sitting here. (Laughter).

Q. There have been so many first-time winners the last six, seven majors; what do you attribute that to? Is it the different feeling that guys are seeing Tiger as more vulnerable or something else?
PAUL CASEY: I don't think Tiger is vulnerable. I think Tiger is not playing the golf he was playing back in the early 2000s.
Guys have put in -- guys have always worked incredibly hard. We are seeing, certainly, with the guys coming through from The European Tour, I think you're seeing it back to the effects of sort of Europe's greats, the Faldos, Seve, Langer, all of those guys and what they did for the British game, encouraging guys and getting guys on the golf course. We are now sort of taking our, sort of, you know, goals, ambitions as kids, and sort of fulfilling those. We are now sort of in the primes of our career. I speak for myself, I'm a much better player right now than I was back in 2001 when I first got out on tour, professional golf.
And even when you get these guys, Phil and Tiger, playing great golf, we now are at a level where we can compete with them. Maybe not day-in, day-out, as consistently, but when we are on our best, we can certainly win tournaments when they are in the field.

Q. Was some of the talk in the locker room last week because of the fact that Tiger was playing so poorly at a place where he had played so well before, do you think?
PAUL CASEY: Without a doubt. The first round was slightly surprising, worst round he had ever had at Firestone. Yeah, I didn't expect to see scores like that from him.

Q. And do you think that -- were you as surprised as -- were the players as surprised by it as the general populous and the media was?

Q. Hate to remind you but you had your own bad slump several years ago, didn't you. Just take us back to that time, what was that like trying to find a way out of it? Are there lessons from that that we can equate to Tiger?
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, I mean, for me it was regaining my love for the game. I had to first learn to sort of enjoy myself on the golf course. And then once I could enjoy myself on the golf course, even just in a social sort of setting, then the competition side came back very quickly, the competitive side.
It was also for me a reflection that if you don't have stuff in the right place, or if you're not happy away from the golf course, then you're not going to find it on the golf course. So I think that was reflective, when I was playing my worst golf, I was also very unhappy off the golf course, and vice versa.
You know, I read yesterday with Sergio deciding to take a bit of time off, I think that's -- I'll be honest, I want to see the happy, smiley Sergio again. I don't know what's going on with Sergio inside, but it's the same thing; as soon as I see him smiling again, I think the great golf that we've seen from Sergio will come back.

Q. Earlier you mentioned that there's no off-season; would you prefer to have a little bit more of an off-season?
PAUL CASEY: Short answer, yes. I understand how difficult with the playing around the globe, you know, part of it is my own choice. I love to play golf around the globe. So I restrict myself when it comes to having opportunity to take time away from the game.
And there are just too many -- there are too many great tournaments around the world to play in that I have a hard time turning down sometimes. I probably should make more time to get away from the game, but, you know, I guess it would be nice. I'm playing, but it's my own choice, at the end of the day. The actual TOUR schedule, there's things that I throw in which scuttle the whole off-season idea, but the fact that we start -- in the past, we've had sometimes one week between The European Tour schedule from when it finishes and ends, and to be honest I'm not a big fan of that.

Q. Are you planning to play Gleneagles?
PAUL CASEY: I'm focusing on this week. So I need to get the game in shape, get the driving taken care of, and play well, and we'll see what happens after Sunday afternoon. (Smiling).
KELLY ELBIN: Paul Casey, thank you very much.

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