home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


March 26, 2019

Paul Casey

Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida

JOHN BUSH: We'd like to welcome everyone to today's call with Paul Casey. We appreciate your patience. Paul is a busy man here in Austin, but we're happy for him to join us now for a few minutes. As you all know, he is coming off of his third PGA TOUR victory, winning back-to-back at the Valspar Championship. Paul, welcome. Thanks for joining us.

PAUL CASEY: Thank you.

JOHN BUSH: Take us back to Sunday, just a couple days ago, and what it felt like to be able to defend your title at Valspar.

PAUL CASEY: Yes, thank you. It felt really, really cool. You know, I was nervous on Sunday but really excited, and going up against the world No. 1, I know I had that one-shot advantage, I was great. I was incredibly composed. I played a really, really nice round of golf on what I thought was maybe the toughest setup I've seen around that Copperhead golf course. I obviously made a couple of mistakes but then everybody did out there it seemed, and you know, got lucky.

The window opened on 18. The chance was there, and made the solid par out of the bunker on the right-hand side. But it just felt great all day. It felt very reminiscent of wins I had had sort of 10 years ago. I feel like I'm kind of getting into a stride. So last year's victory was very emotional. This one was very different. This one I just felt controlled, and it's -- yeah, I'm in a really good spot.

Obviously a little fatigue coming into this week, but it's great to defend that title. First time anybody has done it. I'm in a really good place right now.

JOHN BUSH: Speaking of a good place, you're No. 4 in the FedExCup, three top-3 finishes this season. Just talk a little bit about your form. Obviously it's in a really good way right now.

PAUL CASEY: Yeah, it is, and I think what's interesting is I've been -- I always work hard on the game, but I spoke a little bit in the press conference a minute ago, I got asked the question of if the young guys -- the winning age is getting younger on TOUR and why, and we talked about strategy, the young guys come out here and they just basically bomb it, and I've been looking at my game and being much more aggressive than I used to be.

You're right, I've made a ton of World Ranking points so far this year, fourth in the FedExCup, but I've also had two missed cuts, which I've been a pretty prominent kind of cut maker the last few seasons. It's rare for me to miss a couple of cuts at this stage with this kind of level of golf. But it just shows that maybe a little bit more volatility in my game is in some regard a good thing. I'm going for things more, giving myself more opportunities. So yeah, two missed cuts but three top 3s. I kind of like that. You know, it's way better than being the middle of the pack or 20th, and it's good stuff.

JOHN BUSH: Just briefly let's chat about this week, your 14th Dell Technologies Match Play. You finished runner up at this event in 2009 and also 2010, and I'll mention for everyone on the call, you're paired -- you'll be grouped this week with Cameron Smith, Charles Howell III and Abraham Ancer. If we can get your thoughts this week on the Match Play.

PAUL CASEY: Yeah, it's a format I love. I've had success in match play, obviously Ryder Cup recently. I've won a World Match Play at Wentworth. Pretty okay success in this Dell World Match Play championship, more so success when it was down in Tucson, but I love the format. The group play is -- you know, you can't get ahead of yourself. I've got three very strong competitors. Maybe it's not the -- I saw kind of what I thought was a little bit of a group of death yesterday with Stenson, Furyk, Mickelson and Day, and it doesn't on paper look like the toughest group, but I saw what Cam Smith was doing with Leishman late last year, Ancer has been playing wonderful golf recently, and Chucky Three Sticks, I've known him forever. We're very close friends. They're all dangerous. They're all incredibly difficult matches, and I am not taking them lightly. I know how difficult this week is going to be. Hopefully I make it through the group stages, make it to the weekend, but first things first, one match at a time.

Q. I'm wondering, that more aggressive outlook you were talking about, I can see why that would translate well this week. How does that work for Augusta? Is that something you're going to take into there or not?
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, I think so. Good question. I've obviously had good success around Augusta. Well, good finishes, certainly. I think, yeah, I mean, every championship, every golf course, the style of play has had its effect. No question that Augusta, too, I hit more aggressive shots or more drivers there than maybe I used to. Tees have gone back, as well. We got a little bit of a change this year on, what is it, hole 5, where the tees have now been pushed way back, so we're going to have to react to that. But if I want to beat, there's no question, Rory and Dustin and these guys, they have more than me. They're the ultimate guys right now. If they play their best golf, I'm not sure I can beat them. So I've got to try and play them at their own game, and that means being aggressive because conservative play, if I'm not making enough birdies, then I've got no chance. So yes, it's going to play into that.

You know, I don't think the second shots change that much, I don't think the putting changes that much. Still some of the slopiest greens we play. You have to be very precise with your approach shots. But yeah, you can make those second shots, approach shots easier if you take maybe a little bit more risk off the tee.

Q. I wonder if you could just talk a little bit about how important your practice session was or your unscheduled practice session at Sawgrass.
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, I hate missing cuts. I've just said that maybe I'm going to be more volatile, but it still irks me. I pride myself on being world class, so any missed cut on any golf course is -- yeah, kind of pisses me off to be honest. But I used it constructively. I wasn't going to fly back to Arizona. The family is there. I was doing a charity day on Monday for Bryson DeChambeau down in Orlando, so there was no point in going anywhere.

You know, you'll see guys quite often do a Saturday practice session if they've missed cuts. That's quite common. But it's fairly uncommon to see guys do a Sunday practice session because it's just one of those things, you stay out of the way of the leaders, you don't want to kind of almost be seen there.

But I actually went out there, had breakfast with Fleetwood, Rahm and Rory. We were laughing and joking. We were watching James Corden videos pranking David Beckham. We were just having a laugh and joke, and yeah, went out to do some work. It was so important. It was really big.

One of the areas I worked on was sort of 40 yards and in because that was sloppy at Sawgrass, and I knew that I would need that kind of distance at Valspar, and I'm going to need it again -- actually this week you need it and then Masters you need it, and I played the par-5s last week in Tampa 15-under. So there's no question that that work from 40 yards and in was instrumental in me getting that victory last week.

You know, I tried to stay out of the way, as well. I saw Rory this morning, and I said to him -- we'd exchanged messages, congratulations, but I hadn't really talked to him face to face, and I was like, I hope I wasn't putting you off, because it's a big ol' range at Sawgrass, but yeah, you want to stay out of the leaders in contention. It was good. I used a bad thing to basically -- to my advantage. Sometimes missing the cut and making errors, it highlights what needs work, and Sawgrass highlighted a lot of things that needed work.

Q. Looking ahead to the Masters, obviously your record there without ever having won it is excellent. Coupled with the form that you've begun this season in, do you think this is your best chance to win a major so far, and if not, do you think you'll get a better one in the remainder of your career?
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, I don't know the answer to the second part of that. But this is -- yeah, you're right, this is certainly a very, very good opportunity, and I think -- and the reason why, although maybe I don't quite have the physical attributes that I once did, just based on age, and there's no question that the competition I'm going up against is as fierce as ever, with guys who are incredibly hungry. I mean, you're looking at Dustin and Rory, who they don't have green jackets and they desperately want one. It's a tall task, but I kind of, why not. I'm very hungry to win it. I want to win it. Everything -- in the past maybe early in my career I wasn't quite -- maybe I wouldn't have been sort of -- maybe, maybe not the right mindset or -- yeah, for whatever reason. Hard to think back to those times.

But I can't think of a time when I've been maybe as excited for a championship as I am coming up in a couple of weeks. Everything is there. The mental side of it, the physical side of it. I just need probably a little bit of luck, maybe a good tee time, maybe a couple of guys to make a couple of errors, which you don't ever wish on anybody, but if I do, yeah, there's no reason why I can't give myself a good opportunity come Sunday afternoon.

Q. Just like to follow up on what you were saying about the mental side of your game and the mindset, we know your game is in a good place. We know you're still putting the work in on your game, but you seem to be more relaxed, composed and perhaps more accepting of mistakes on the golf course now; is that fair to say?
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, I think so. I think a lot of that's come -- probably a couple of factors. One, I'm very happy in my life in general. I've got an amazing wife and kids. Yeah, I'm in a great spot there. I think I'm also -- I'm of the understanding that time is running out. I'm 41. Maybe I've got four or five years of world-class golf ahead of me. I'm fairly philosophical about it. There's things I want to achieve, things that I want to tick off that I haven't done. I'm acutely aware of that. But I'm not dwelling on it, just sort of giving it 100 percent and see what happens. You know, if it was meant to be, it is, and if it isn't, it isn't. Plain and simple.

Yeah, maybe in the past -- again, I'm not sure what the mindset was in the past, but it wasn't this. You know, Westwood said something I think -- I don't know, fairly recently or late last year after his great victory at Sun City. He's like, I am dangerous because I kind of don't care. I've had a great career, and people are not expecting me to do anything, and that makes me really, really dangerous. To a certain degree I'm sort of in the same position.

Yesterday -- not yesterday, Sunday, teeing off against Dustin Johnson, I know I had a one-shot lead, but for me there was zero pressure. Dustin was the favorite; he's world No. 1. Everybody expecting him to win, so that made me really, really dangerous, and I won, and I'm going to carry on that attitude and that sort of outlook as long as I can. So yeah, nobody necessarily expects me to win, but deep down I think I can. I know I can.

Q. I just wonder how significant you feel it is that it was achieved on such a difficult course setup obviously with the context of four upcoming majors in mind?
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, I think it was -- I think it's really key, and it still shows I play the toughest golf courses well. It's hard to explain how difficult that was on Sunday. It was one of the most difficult tests I've ever seen. They were very close to almost losing that golf course was kind of the word amongst the players. It got so dry, which is rare for Florida. The greens got so crispy. They couldn't quite keep up with it. But I like it. I like it that way. It exposed any flaws you had, and there's no question I made errors, three-putts and silly little things. But you know, looking ahead to the majors, Augusta -- Augusta is very similar in that regard to the challenge we just faced last week.

Unfortunately I don't know -- well, I know Pebble Beach very well, and I've played it well this year. It was a good result. Maybe my scores haven't been historically brilliant around Pebble Beach, but I know the setup is going to be excruciatingly difficult around there, so looking forward to that. Bethpage I've played a few times, but I don't know it that well. We know how tricky that is.

I've never played Portrush. That's a total unknown this year for me. I'm going to go over early and get some practice in.

But yeah, no question I like the fact that -- yeah, I'm older, but I love it difficult. It's difficult this week, as well. I almost tend to shy away from the really easy shootouts, the birdie fests. It's kind of not what I want. Yeah, you know, I'm not sure I can keep up with some of these guys when they're shooting 25, 26 plus under par for a week. That's tricky. That's difficult.

Q. You were mentioning earlier about kind of your relationship with some of the other European players, obviously Ryder Cup teammates. Looking ahead to the Masters, you're one of a big really strong European challenge given the form the last three events on the PGA TOUR won by Europeans. So what do you make of the rest of the guys, the likes of Rory, Fleetwood, Rahm coming over, looking for their first green jackets?
PAUL CASEY: What do you mean? What do I think their chances are?

Q. Do you think those guys are --
PAUL CASEY: I think their chances are strong. I look at somebody -- Rory obviously, we know he's got everything you need to win a green jacket. I'm thinking more -- let's put the mental part of it to the side. Let's look at it purely from a physical attribute sort of side. I look at high ball flight, the ability to shape it a little bit right to left, great touch putter. Jon Rahm fits right into that. He's got all of that. His ability to hit a golf ball and control it and shape it, great touch putter. When he won in Torrey Pines, he demonstrated that.

Rory we know his abilities are off the charts.

Tommy is good, as well. He's one of the highest iron flighters out there. That's crap English, but his ability to flight an iron is untold. I'm trying to think of some others. Rosey we know. Last year lost in a playoff to Sergio. Who am I missing? I'm trying to think of guys --

Q. Molinari.
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, Frankie. Well, I mean, he doesn't -- slightly different ball flight, so you know, I think that's why -- honestly, if I were to rate from a physical capabilities, I'd put him more likely to win a U.S. Open or obviously his Open Championship than Augusta National, but that's not to rule him out. You can't rule anybody out who played on the European Ryder Cup team last year. Not a single one of those guys. But obviously some we'd rank higher than others.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297