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January 15, 2015

Paul Casey


Q.  What a great way to begin your 2015 calendar year, nine birdies in that round.
PAUL CASEY:¬† I don't know what to say.¬† I mean, I'm ecstatic.¬† First, I'm loving being in Hawai'i.¬† I have not been here for a long time.¬† The last time I was here was 2010 when I played in Maui, and it's just‑‑ it's great to be back.¬† I've been in the Middle East for so long, and I chose to come over here.¬† I had no idea what to expect today, so I'm over the moon with that.

Q.  It looks to me like you hit your irons really well combined with a lot of really good putting.
PAUL CASEY:¬† Yeah, a lot of pin‑high iron shots today.¬† I've been working hard on stuff on the swing, and I think I played golf swing a little bit of the time, but the key really was the irons predominantly were pin high, gave myself sort of a lot of nine‑to 12‑foot putts out there, and I holed a lot of putts.¬† I can't explain it, just felt very, very comfortable with the putter, considering I have not done a massive amount of practice, and it's nice to see them going in the middle.

Q.  Tell me about the middle of your round, birdies at 17, 18, 1, 2, 3, 5?
PAUL CASEY:¬† Well, I left one out there on 16.¬† I had about a four‑foot putt for birdie there, missed that.¬† You know, it was still a good par.¬† I felt I kind of need to get back on it.¬† Wonderful shot into 17 that led to a birdie.¬† 18 really is an opportunity if you get the tee shot around that corner there.¬† It's a hole you feel like you've got to take advantage of.¬† 1 is tough.¬† 1 is a very tough opening hole, and I think it was much easier the fact that it was halfway through my round.¬† I bombed a drive down there, had only a 9‑iron in for the second shot, played that wonderfully, set up a good birdie there, and I got a little bit lucky on 2 after pushing a 3‑iron right off the tee, found the cart path, good drop, hit it close, and the same on the third hole, as well.¬† So really the key has been kind of the 8‑irons and 9‑irons I've been hitting close to the flags today.

Q.  Finally 100 percent healthy?
PAUL CASEY:  Oh, no, I'm never going to say that.  But I'm loving my golf.  I'm 100 percent happy with where I'm at and ecstatic.  Today I was excited to get on the golf course, and I can't honestly say that through the years I've been excited to get out on the golf course, and I was looking forward to today, and I think that's a big part of what we do.  I hope I can retain it all the way through the season.

Q.  You made a bunch of saves early on, did you?  I was trying to go over your round when I caught up to you.
PAUL CASEY:¬† You saw me‑‑ yeah, you popped out on the good stuff, didn't you?¬† Well, and the three‑putt.¬† What was the question?

Q.¬† Could you have imagined 62 the way you started your round today?¬† Seemed like you had to get some up‑and‑downs early.
PAUL CASEY:¬† Yeah, you're right.¬† Good birdie on 10, good drive, good pitch, good putt.¬† 11, the wind just picked up for like 15 minutes, and it disappeared, and I didn't hit a great shot on 11, but I missed the green by a good 10 yards left on the bank in the rough, and made a wonderful up‑and‑down.
11, poor tee shot, good up‑and‑down for par.¬† 12, poor tee shot, good up‑and‑down for par.¬† So yeah, and then after that I was kind of off and rolling.

Q.  What changed it?
PAUL CASEY:¬† Nothing.¬† The driving remained fairly average, but they were findable, and they were in good spots.¬† The irons were wonderful.¬† I mean, that stretch through‑‑ 13 is tough anyway, and 11 is not easy if you‑‑ not that easy.¬† I got lucky where I needed to get lucky, and I recovered and kept the round going.

Q.  Do you have much of a history around this track?
PAUL CASEY:  I have no idea.  No, I think I played it once and missed the cut.  I've been in the Middle East for 10 years or whatever it's been, nine years.  This is the 10th, isn't it?

Q.  Didn't know what you were missing?
PAUL CASEY:¬† I knew what I was missing, and it was tough‑‑ it was a very tough decision not to go to Abu Dhabi.¬† It was their 10th year anniversary this year, and I was asked to go over and made the choice to be here.

Q.  A couple years ago you had the Volvo to defend early on, didn't you?
PAUL CASEY:  Yeah, but I'm no longer a member of the European Tour.

Q.  Did you play all nine of those, Abu Dhabi?
PAUL CASEY:  I think so.  No, I missed one because I dislocated my shoulder.

Q.  Talk about your five birdies in a row.
PAUL CASEY:  I kind of put that nine behind me and said let's have another good nine.

Q.  You birdied four of the first five on the new nine then.
PAUL CASEY:¬† I wasn't thinking about what just happened.¬† When I birdied 2, I didn't think‑‑ I wasn't thinking about just birdieing 1.¬† I did a good job of staying in the present.

Q.  I have to ask, did 59 get in your head at all?
PAUL CASEY:  Oh, God, no.  What did I shoot?

Q.¬† You were 8‑under through‑‑
PAUL CASEY:¬† It's par‑70.¬† Yeah, I never thought about that.¬† I didn't know it was par‑70.¬† Sorry, killed your story.

Q.  No, that's fine.  Nothing ever stops us, you should know that.
PAUL CASEY:¬† I suddenly thought last week, because Jason Day, he shot‑‑ there was two guys who shot 11‑under on Sunday.¬† I was thinking about other people's golf game.

Q.  You should do it more often.  You weren't doing the math, you were just trying to make birdies?
PAUL CASEY:  Correct.  That's never been my strong point, mathematics.

Q.  Nine birdies out there.  You had a stretch where you had five in a row.  What worked well for you out there today?
PAUL CASEY:¬† The short kind of mid‑irons and the putter.¬† You know, I didn't know what to expect.¬† I'm usually not a guy who's quick out of the blocks, but it was exciting to get out there.¬† I mean, this is perfect, starting in Hawai'i, perfect weather.¬† For once in my life I was excited to get out of bed and get to the golf course.¬† The short irons worked beautifully, the putter was on fire, and I'm ecstatic with that because it could have gone either way, but to start the season the way I have is fantastic.

Q.  You decided to not play on the European Tour early this year and kind of focus on the PGA TOUR.  Can you comment on that a little bit?
PAUL CASEY:  Yeah, I became a father in September, which is by far the greatest thing ever, and that's become really the focus for me, being at home with Pollyanna and Lex.  It's a very tough decision.  For as long as I've been professional I've been a member of the European Tour.  I've always been able to.  For a long, long time now, I've been trying to play both the PGA TOUR and the European Tour, and some years I've done it brilliantly, and other years I've failed miserably, and I just didn't want to keep putting myself in kind of a position where I'm struggling to fly around the world, play the numbers, keep my World Ranking at a certain number, and not being in the top 50 is really difficult to play both tours.  It was a decision I didn't take lightly, and I stewed over it for a long, long time, and it's tough not being in Abu Dhabi this week.  HSBC are a great sponsor in Europe and golf around the world, and I've won that tournament twice.  I took that very, very seriously.  My apologies went out to them, and I fully commit this year to playing the PGA TOUR, and I'm excited about that.  I've never played a full season in the U.S., so I'm absolutely over the moon.  I can spend a little bit more time at home, come to great places like Hawai'i and give it all I've got.

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