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April 7, 2016

Paul Casey

Augusta, Georgia

THE MODERATOR: It's my pleasure to welcome Paul Casey here today. What a great round, Paul, 3‑under par, six birdies.
This is Paul's 10th Masters appearance and his best finish was tie for sixth in 2004 and 2015.
So I'll open it up for questions.

Q. I asked you this the other day, but can you elaborate on why you like this golf course so much and it suits your game, it seems like?
PAUL CASEY: I mean, certainly suits my game. I think the fact I've got a high, traditionally a high ball flight; the ability to hit the driver a little bit right‑to‑left. I've always felt I'm a good lag putter, whether the stats show it or not, I've always felt comfortable on really fast greens.
I think the love for this place started, was Lyle in '88? '88 was my first memory on TV of watching Sandy hit it into the bunker on 18 and the 7‑iron out to the jig on 18. As a young boy in England, it was always on very late at night, so being able to stay up late at night and watch the Masters was just something very, very special. It was this magical attraction, which you sort of fell for. Plus the Europeans had this great success through that period, Sandy and Faldo, Woosie, Langer, Seve.
The fact you get to play the golf course you saw on TV as a kid, I've never lost that love and that excitement.

Q. Was it inspiring playing with Jordan? What particularly were you impressed by him?
PAUL CASEY: I was impressed by everything today. That was a flawless round of golf. When he got into trouble, and you can ask him, looked like he didn't commit to his tee shot on 16, or wasn't happy. Just wind picked up, something happened. But he bailed out in the right place and what could have been an error, he turned into a wonderful par save. It was absolutely flawless.
One of the toughest days I've ever seen around Augusta National. Although, I think we got let off the hook with the rain last night, still incredibly tough.
I played a wonderful round of golf, but it was great to have a front row seat to watch that.

Q. Do you take it as a compliment to be drawn with him, the progress you've made in your game?
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, I had to ask twice, Kevin Na, he suddenly had the draw sheet on Tuesday, and he said you're ‑‑ what timeare we? You're 9:48 with Spieth and DeChambeau. I was like, yeah, okay. You're winding me up, Kevin. I truly didn't believe him.
Yeah, an honor to have that draw. Yeah, surprise. I chuckled with Poulter because Poulter has a very good draw, as well. Wherever Poulter is, he goes, I can't believe that.
I said, It's a compliment.

Q. When people think about playing in this kind of wind conditions, and they think about the ball in the air, but I'm wondering about the greens. As the day has played out, could you see the pace noticeably change on the greens? The forecast is for this kind of wind conditions for a number of days. Are we to the point now where the ball wobbles a little bit and you have concerns about that?
PAUL CASEY: It didn't today. We have seen that before int he past around here. It didn't today. But who knows if it will this afternoon.
The fastest I saw them so far this week was Tuesday‑‑ no, Wednesday, Wednesday afternoon, very early afternoon, like about midday. The 7th green was the fastest I've of seen the 7th green, which is why we got let off the hook with the rain last night.
But then again, we know the Committee always has control of this golf course and that's the wonderful thing about it (smiling). I don't think it's going to be an issue. Plus the rule has changed, which I like.

Q. Can you talk about what your impressions were about Bryson, first time here, obviously as an amateur, and going around?
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, a great young guy. I resisted the urge to have a look at the golf clubs. If he's on the range later, I'm actually going to ask. But I resisted the urge to take one out and have a look. Didn't even go down that road.
I thought, a big set of shoulders, great ball‑striker. I found it fascinating. Saw him a couple of times doing some calculations in his head. I don't truly know exactly his approach to the game, and if it is mathematical, he still plays with a wonderful artistic flow. I was very, very impressed.
And then we quizzed him on a little bit of science on the back nine. Yeah, basic rocket science, how much thrust it would take to get out of the moon's atmosphere, I think (laughter).

Q. Did you learn anything at all?
PAUL CASEY: Went straight over my head (laughing).

Q. The crowds around Spieth seem to be large and very loud; is that any distraction to you at all?
PAUL CASEY: Loud in a good way. Very courteous today. It was great. And it should be loud. You know, he's defending champion. He got a great reception. Everybody gets a great reception. But he got the right reception. I love the reception. I've been fortunate to have been paired with Tiger and other champions. Especially around Amen Corner, when you walking up onto that 12th tee, that's just one of the best feelings. It's one of the walks in golf. You've got the first tee at St. Andrews and the walk up 18 at St. Andrews, but walking up the 12th tee with a Masters Champion is something very, very special.
I thought it was great today and I'm looking forward to that tomorrow, and hopefully I get paired with great champions all week. I feed off that. I think it's marvelous.

Q. At the top, you talked about your comfort level here, and I'm just wondering if you could maybe verbalize or expand upon what it is to have the feelings you have when you're so comfortable at a place, whether it's here or elsewhere or what that does for you?
PAUL CASEY: Don't confuse comfortable with not being nervous and understanding that it's going to require extreme skill and concentration through the day.
But it's, I think, the fact that my first appearance in 2004, I had arrived a month before, played a couple of practice rounds, was assisted‑‑ Dale hooked me up with a couple of great caddies, and I learnt an incredible amount in a short period of time.
Luckily, I'd say my game suited this place. That's the comfort. But at no point am I‑‑ do I cross the line and become cocky and not concentrate and focus.

Q. What does that sort of do when you sort of show up at a place when you are comfortable, whether it's here or elsewhere or just in general?
PAUL CASEY: I know what I have to work on. Prep for this week, it's not the easiest but it's the most focused because it's pretty much the same every year. In fact, you can start prepping incredibly early. You know what you're going to get, so that's the nice thing, but the work never seems to end. You never seem to have it all. You go out there and you go, I wish I had worked on that, because this golf course always produces the kind of examination which is incredibly thorough through the bag and through the repertoire.
I've got stuff to work on this afternoon that should have been tighter today, and that's the beauty of it.

Q. Your second shot at No. 7 today, was that a pretty tight fit over there? Did you have to kind of aim a little bit left? That's a remarkable shot.
PAUL CASEY: No, I got lucky. I pulled it, as well. I was aiming six feet right of the flag and you saw the result, about eight feet left of the flag was the result.
So fortunate. And fortunate that there was a tiny bit of first cut, second cut, whatever we‑‑ just a slightly longer cut down the right‑hand side to stop it from being blocked out by the trees. That hole is incredible. I've always found it incredibly difficult, that position, but I'd take four in that position.

Q. If you do get to peek in Bryson's bag, what do you expect to see and do you think it might change the game of golf as he thinks it could?
PAUL CASEY: I've always felt‑‑ I don't know what I'm expecting to find. I didn't look too closely on the way around. But I've always felt that it's a wonderful‑‑ if you're going to teach an amateur the game of golf, being able to just have one swing and the fact that‑‑ 14 different clubs, different lengths, different weights, it's all just‑‑ it's quite confusing.
I started with one club, just a 7‑iron, a cut‑down 7‑iron. Wasn't fitted for me at all. I think giving somebody a few different lofted clubs which are built the same and you've really only got to have one swing to hit those different clubs and hit them different distances, I think that's a wonderful way of teaching somebody, and I think there probably is something to it.
How many different lengths does he have, do we know? All the irons are the same and the woods are the same?

Q. The driver is longer than the 3‑wood.
PAUL CASEY: I don't know, but I'm assuming he's then got only two or three swings, really. Beautiful. It's so simple.

Q. There may have been a 7‑putt on the first green today. I'm just wondering how terrifying can that green be, especially as the opening hole in a major championship like this?
PAUL CASEY: There may have or there was a 7‑putt?

Q. It was either 6 or 7. We are trying to confirm.
PAUL CASEY: I'm sorry. What's the question? Lost focus (laughter).

Q. It's a difficult green, but it's also a difficult hole, and the first one of this tournament. Can you just talk about that combination and how that could get in your head?
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, one of the most underrated, least‑talked‑about difficult holes around here and they were generous today. The pin is nine off the left and I've seen years where it's been four off the left, or I'd say five.
I'm always nervous on the first green. The fastest green on the course is usually the putting green behind the first tee. Second fastest green is usually the first. And trying to gauge that, it's almost impossible to leave yourself a nice putt on that green, because it is that difficult.
I can see how it‑‑ I've started tournaments with a 4‑putt. Firestone I started with a 4‑putt once, front left pin, incredibly difficult, fast green. So I know what it's like. Once you get the first one and you get a little bit ‑‑ things can spiral, sort of things close in.
Boy, whoever that was, I feel sorry for them. It's the beauty of major championship golf, though. It's not meant to be easy.

Q. Shall we tell you?
PAUL CASEY: I'll find out anyways. Who was it?

Q. Ernie.
PAUL CASEY: Wow. Yeah.

Q. You mentioned playing with Tiger and other champions. Was it like playing with a Tiger or a Phil, to that magnitude? And were you guys put on the clock around 14 or 15?
PAUL CASEY: It is like playing with a Tiger or a Phil, but they are all different. But playing with Jordan, there definitely is something there, yeah, so it's very cool.
We were put on the clock on 17, which I'm surprised Steve Rintoul put us on the clock on 17. I'm surprised we weren't on 14 or 15.

Q. It looked like you guys got off 14 really fast.
PAUL CASEY: 14, we had some‑‑ there were three pars made. But 14, Jordan had to move his mark. There was a little bit of messing around, moving some chairs. Jordan went long on 14.
15 is just difficult, so you take your time on the second shot but then there was a little bit of water trouble there, so we had an issue there. It just kind of snowballed a little bit. It is what it is.

Q. Can you just expand a little bit on what you just said about Jordan; can you put a finger on what that something there is? You've been around it obviously with Tiger.
PAUL CASEY: He just exudes‑‑ it's obvious he's a Major Champion, but he just exudes that sort of, whatever that is, that you expect from a‑‑ he's not world No. 1, but a world No. 1 Major Champion. I don't know. I haven't given too much thought about it. But just know there's something different, something cool.

Q. Just as a follow, is it remarkable that he has that at such a young age?
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, it's a knowing, it's a confidence. It's the way he walks. It's the way he stands. It goes all the way through from the way he speaks and the way he shakes your hand and the way he deals with people, as well. It's wonderful.

Q. You had a little misstep over in Amen Corner. Can you talk about that and the fact how you could deal with that, maybe because you've been around here enough, to not get flustered and be able to finish off the round?
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, the bogey at 11, I hit a good drive on 11, had 208‑‑ no, had 216 to the flag. We were trying to hit 208 just right of the flag on 11. The wind, we felt, was in off the right, kind of like a sort of two o'clock kind of angle. Hit a 4‑iron. 5 wasn't going to make that. And the 4‑iron just went straight through it. Just the slightly smoother swing, took the spin off the golf ball, straight through the wind, into that back bunker. Played a good bunker shot, but left myself a very difficult putt.
I didn't do anything wrong. Committed to every single shot on the hole, all five of them (laughter).
And 12, boy, Jordan's ball went through the wind. He hit soft 8 on 12, bold line. Didn't hit anything.
DeChambeau's ball definitely caught the wind. I then go up there with a 9‑iron trying to hit sort of a three‑quarter 9‑iron and it just gusted really, really fiercely straight into the face, and so we backed off. We waited a second. When I eventually hit it, it almost just turned around and went back down the other way, which is where it landed up long in the pine needles, sort of Greg Norman‑esque, scared me.
It's the only place on the golf course where it's difficult to read the grain through, because you're in the shade and the growth is very different on that 12th green. It's very difficult to read how the ball will react, and I elected to putt it. Maybe in hindsight, that was the wrong choice. I probably should have tried to bump it. Didn't get the put on the green and then missed the next one.
Easy to bounce back, because I committed to every single shot. There wasn't any indecision, and technically I didn't hit any really bad shots.
So hit a wonderful drive up 13 and a little bit upset I didn't win some crystal for an eagle.

Q. Did you expect to get through this entire press conference without one Ryder Cup question‑‑
PAUL CASEY: Thank you, Mr.Casey.

Q. Is there anything left to say or are you happy where it is at the moment?
PAUL CASEY: I'm in the same place I am when I made the decision, which is taking care of the family and the priority is they are the number one priority.
I was fortunate to bump into Mr.Pelley on Wednesday walking to the putting green, and you know, just had a quick chat, good chat, and it still stands. If my position changes, which I'd like it to, maybe a major victory or something like that, you know, I'll readdress it. And if the number changes, I will readdress it.
But the number didn't change from last year, and so I have to give my focus to my family.

Q. So you're saying, possibly suggesting if you did win this weekend, then it might be‑‑
PAUL CASEY: That would move the needle (laughter).
THE MODERATOR: Thanks very much, Paul.

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