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June 27, 2015

Paul Casey


Q. We're joined by Paul Casey. Paul, old school Paul Casey back on the leaderboard. 64 on Saturday, moving day.
PAUL CASEY: Finally. Took my time, didn't I, getting back to that kind of form. It was good stuff. Really, really good. Got off to a great start which is key around here, and just enjoying this golf course. What a lovely place to play. Greens were perfect and took advantage of benign conditions before this little bit of rain came in.

Q. Currently leading the field this week in greens in regulation. Hitting a lot of really good iron shots this week.
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, you have to. This is a golf course where the green is relatively small, but they're tucking the pins away and putting them on some funky little slopes. If you short side yourself, especially if you get over these greens, you're going to be in a world of hurt. I've been striking it very, very well, good control of the spin and good distance control, obviously.

Q. This is at 15. Went for the green today?
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, the 3-wood, caught the down slope and shot kind of through the back right. I'll be honest, it was a great two-putt. Just watched Gary Woodlands make par from the edge of the green in the group ahead, so very happy with that.

Q. Talking about your iron play. This is at 18 from the middle of the fairway?
PAUL CASEY: 136. Played at 128 with the pitching wedge, so, again, for me, that's quite a bit of yardage off a pitching wedge. But I feel dialed in and rolled that one for birdie.

Q. You've won once on the PGA TOUR, 14 times worldwide. We were joking you used to be on top of the leaderboard. You've gone through injuries. It's great to see you back. What's been the change?
PAUL CASEY: Two things. From the golf side, if you're on the golf course, very simple with what I'm doing. I'm still working with Peter Kostis, nothing has ever changed. But now he's got a fit and healthy Paul Casey to work with. I understand my golf swing much better than I used to. I'm not pressing anymore. In fact I'm pressing less. And off the golf course, Pollyanna and Lex, things are great off the golf course, running around with that little dude. Well, he's not running, but I think he gives me great perspective on what everything is all about. So when I get out here, I thoroughly enjoy myself and I have something to play for.

Q. 64 will do it, Paul.
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, it's been a long time since I've actually moved on a Saturday, at least in the right direction. But what a glorious golf course out there. It was absolutely perfect. I know it was a little overcast, but just a joy to play, big crowds. Greens that you can actually read and roll the golf ball on. Although it's not that easy, I got off to a cracking start and apart from the little blemish on the card, it was a wonderful round of golf.

Q. You speak of the blemish on the card, but you really had it going out there, and I felt you were really dialed in with the irons because you gave yourself a lot of very good opportunities.
PAUL CASEY: I did, and you're right because an example would be 18 when I had 136 to the flag, it was downwind. I played it 128 and took a pitching wedge. That's not a full wedge for me, as you know. So that's quite a bit off it. When I'm dialed in and able to land the ball within a yard or two of what I want from it, 128 or 136, things are going in the right direction. You have to be on your irons around here. They stuck a lot of pins at the back of the greens today. You had to be somewhat aggressive. But if you got it wrong and you don't have great distance control out here, you could be in a whole world of hurt. So I've got a lot of greens in regulation. I've already been told that so far this week. I'm going to need to keep that going tomorrow. Hit a lot of greens, try to keep it below the hole. But I really am just having a blast around here. First time here, and what a great golf event. Everything about this is just superb.

Q. Your first start here at the Travelers Championship. Thoughts so far?
PAUL CASEY: I love it. It's great. It was a tough one. I've always traditionally gone to Europe this time of year. My dear friends, actually a dear friend of mine who runs the BMW over there, and it was tough to call him up and say I'm not going to be there. But what a great event this is. Not being up here and playing Travelers before, I love it. I love the golf course. I love the huge crowds. I can't believe everybody turns out and comes to this great place. A golf course, well, the greens which are perfect, especially compared to last week. It's just a joy, everything about this. And I think that reflects in the golf I've been playing this week.

Q. It's such a different mentality coming off of Chambers Bay where not a lot of birdies are there. Compared to a course like Travelers where you have to make a ton of birdies if you're going to put yourself in the mix. How does that change your mindset knowing that four or five birdies in a round really isn't going to cut it?
PAUL CASEY: It's not bad, four or five birdies. I think I'd take five a day if you can eliminate any bogeys, I'll take that. But I'm like that. I'm a guy that hits a lot of greens in regulation. I'm pretty aggressive when going with the irons into the greens. I try to give myself a lot of birdie looks. To me, as a player, I love playing these kinds of events where you can go low. I think it's good for the psyche. If all you ever do is play events where level par is winning score, you feel like you get beaten up, and you've got to have these, because every now and then you've got to go really low. I shot low when I was playing college golf. I was renowned for shooting low scores and getting course records. I haven't got too many course records on the PGA TOUR. But as they say, guys are pretty good out here. It is fun. You can't get the wrong side of it. With a golf course like this, it's not that easy. I think the scores are reflective in the fact that we've got perfect conditions and perfect greens. If you get to the wrong side of it, you can make bogeys very easily out there. I'm going to try to keep my nose clean and do what I've been doing the last three days and repeat it tomorrow. But no matter what happens, it's been a great week so far, and hopefully we can cap it off with a chance at victory tomorrow.

Q. Last time I talked to you, we talked about how important it was to have a positive attitude. You said, I am so happy again playing golf with my family life, my personal life, everything is good. So heading into Sunday, how big and how important is that to really stay positive and bring having fun on to the golf course?
PAUL CASEY: It's very easy in the place I'm at right now. Life off the golf course couldn't be better. Wife, Pollyanna, and Lex, little Lex he's got his first two front teeth that have popped through. So he doesn't care what I shoot. I feel like I've got something to play for playing for those guys, and that makes it very, very easy to come out here, devote my time when I'm out here trying to shoot the best possible score I can. And if I don't, it doesn't really matter. So in some respects it's kind of a go-for-broke attitude that I sort of play with. That's where I've been playing all year. Seems to be pretty good. No wind yet, but I'm feeling happy, and even though I start off the week pretty tired after the U.S. Open last week, I'm feeling fresher and fresher as the week goes on. So we'll keep our fingers crossed for tomorrow. If it turns out that way, great. If it doesn't, I feel like a win is pretty close.

Q. Talk about your round today. What went well better than others?
PAUL CASEY: Any time you shoot a 64 on a Saturday, it's pretty good. It was a great round of golf. I think the key was I started off good. I hit it close on 1 and 2 and started off with two birdies there and got things rolling. I think the key was I had great control of the irons today. I struck the ball beautifully with the irons and had wonderful distance control which is required around here. These are not the biggest greens and there are a lot of undulations out there. I didn't put myself in any awkward positions. I actually made the round of golf very, very easy. Apart from the blemish on the par-5 on the back nine, which was just merely a poor tee shot, there is not a lot else I would have changed about the round of golf. I'm not sure I could have shot much lower than I did.

Q. Tomorrow, big weather coming in. You've got to tee off early tomorrow.
PAUL CASEY: Well, threesomes. I think today I was a fan of the twosomes. I like it when we play quickly. Tomorrow's threesomes will slow things up. It just depends on how much rain we get tonight and tomorrow morning. Hopefully we don't get too much so it doesn't turn into a quagmire out there for the players and spectators because it's wonderful for at least them walking around. Hopefully it doesn't dampen everybody's spirits. It doesn't affect us too much. I think it makes some of the fairways a little wider because they can be softer. Maybe be a little more aggressive and hit second shots into greens. And short of it actually raining when we're playing, I don't think it's going to affect anything. If it rains when we're playing, then all bets are off. You never know.

Q. How did you feel coming into the tournament? Did you feel you had a chance?
PAUL CASEY: To be honest coming in when I arrived on Monday, this is a place I've never seen before. I took Monday, Tuesday off. Well, Monday was travel day back from the U.S. Open. Tuesday I took off. I didn't know. The legs still felt very tired, even through Thursday I felt tired. I felt like I made one or two, not a lot, but one or two mental errors and gave away a shot or two through maybe just poor decisions, purely based on fatigue. But I think not knowing this golf course, maybe that was useful because I didn't know where some of the danger was. I think I instantly fell in love with it because it's just I like this style. I just love this place. Love the trees, love the golf course. Perfect conditions and great crowds. It's a joy to play out here.

Q. Did you hear anything specific from others about the course? What did guys tell you about it coming in?
PAUL CASEY: I honestly knew nothing. All I heard was great things about how well we're looked after. There is always a lot of talk about what happens in the clubhouse and great everybody it, and the staff and the people and the fans and the food. This is where you should go to dinner. They never told me anything about the golf course, but everything off the golf course has definitely proved right, and what they didn't tell me on the golf course, that's also been amazing.

Q. Will you watch Bubba on Sunday?
PAUL CASEY: No, because Bubba plays a different game from me. No point in me watching Bubba. It's a whole different game. I wish I could play that, but I can't.
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