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September 21, 2016

Paul Casey

Atlanta, Georgia

THE MODERATOR: We're going to get started. Going to welcome Paul Casey in the room at the TOUR Championship. Paul is entering here at East Lake at number 5 in the FedExCup standings. This is Paul's second time top five heading into East Lake. In 2010, he was in the top five, one of those coveted spots. Paul, any comments on being back at East Lake for the second year in a row, and thoughts on the week?

PAUL CASEY: Really excited. It's cool to be back here second year in a row. I'm amazed I'm in the top five, going to be in the top five. I just got asked a couple of questions earlier. Obviously, I've had a great last couple of weeks, but when you look at, for example, who's not here, you've got an Open champion who's not here and a gold medalist who's not here. I feel kind of cheeky that I'm in the top five and guys like that are not here.

But it's not going to stop me from trying to take the opportunity to try to win this thing this week. Game's in good form, and hopefully that week off has not broken my momentum.

Q. Does it feel the same, this year being number 5 as it did in 2010? Or did it have a different feeling back then?
PAUL CASEY: I don't know. It's a long time ago, six years. I don't know. Good question.

I think my -- all I know is that year I finished like fifth or something like that, fourth, fifth. If I finished second, I would have won, but I finished fifth, and I dropped down in the FEDEX to sixth in the end of the whole thing, which is very confusing.

The points were still incredibly volatile. Now it's -- I think my chances might be a little bit better with the way the points are now structured. I feel good about the game. I don't know in terms of how I feel because I'm not sure how I felt back then.

But I did have a second place finish to Dustin back in 2010 at the BMW championship. So there are similarities.

Q. As you look at the other four in the top five and handicap that, who do you think looks most formidable? And especially the guy who's at number 1 that you just mentioned.
PAUL CASEY: I think it would -- my clear favorite has to be Dustin. The way he played at Crooked Stick was just brilliant. I think -- I actually looked through the stats. A couple of other guys did. And Dustin doesn't ever get enough credit for other aspects of his game. Everybody focuses on the driving -- and I mean, he was clearly a long way past myself and everybody else that week. But I think I may have clipped him in terms of how I played tee to green, so strokes gained in proximity to the hole. But his wedge game and putting are just great. They really are.

You know you need everything around in East Lake. So Dustin has to be the clear favorite because his wedge game has become so good in the past 12 months. It's very tough to beat a guy like that when he plays good golf. For me, it's very difficult. Not so for maybe a Rory or a Jason because they have the firepower as well, but I've got to do something special, and he has to make a mistake.

Jason would probably be -- again, with the firepower thing, Jason would probably be my second pick. If he's healthy, then incredibly dangerous. It seems like we haven't seen him play his best yet this year.

Q. Hi, Paul. Good to see you. New look to the course, the flipping of the nines. What do you make of that, your personal thoughts? And how do you feel it will impact this tournament?
PAUL CASEY: I think it's a good move. I actually haven't played now the back nine yet this week. You know, just thinking about it before we arrived here this week -- I like the volume tilt we have coming down the stretch. For me, it was for me and other places, it was a case of hanging on the last three holes. 16, 17, 18 were just tough to make birdies, tough to make something happen. And then hung on in the last three, three holes where we can be very aggressive. Hopefully, the tees are moved up on 18 on Sunday and make that par 5 reachable would be very cool.

Also, the possibility of an eagle, somebody could make double, I just like that. I like the fact there could be a lot of movement. The things I'll explore today on the back nine that I found on the front nine. Visually, it changes a lot. So holes like the old 15, number 7 -- old 16, number 7 now. At least with grandstands and hospitality units, you never saw the lake behind. So the shot actually becomes tougher because you lose your depth perception a little bit with sort of the infinity effect down towards the lake. You might see guys hit better shots than you've seen on certain holes in the past. You might see guys really struggle to get it close on certain holes because infrastructure has a lot to do with it. Grandstands and hospitality units can help or hurt depending on the hole.

I think you might see a lot of different stuff this week. It would be cool.

Q. This is the tenth anniversary of the FedExCup. How has it grown in importance in your eyes?
PAUL CASEY: In my eyes, yeah, every year it's gone up. I'm not sure what I made of it when it first appeared and was first created. I think it was very much -- it was very much just about money. This is just a lot of money, huge amount of money. But now that doesn't seem -- and amongst the players, that's not really talked about now. Guys want to win the FedExCup, and that will only grow as time goes by.

It's still a ridiculous amount of money, and for, you know, a lot of guys in the field, maybe there's a few here, it doesn't change their lives that much. But for most of the guys in the field, this would be a life-changing victory, and for me, I'm one of those guys.

But more than the money, I want the title. I want the silverware. I want the exemptions.

Q. I apologize, but as I do every year, I ask the top five guys, what would you do with the $10 million, and is it on your mind?
PAUL CASEY: It's not on my mind. As I just said, it would be, you know, life-changing for me. It would give me security. I'd stash it away. Although my house in England is now worth nothing because of Brexit -- you told me to bring up the Brexit thing.

It's -- I've lost enough money over the years. So I'd keep it.

Q. I was going to say, just playing with Rory tomorrow, could you talk about that.
PAUL CASEY: That's going to be cool. I think it's -- there's no such thing as a bad pairing, as you know, this week. I think that could be -- he's always one with -- maybe he's the guy with the most firepower out here when he's playing his best. We get along great. We had a good chat after Deutsche Bank. He played an amazing round of golf there, and it's going -- yeah, I think it's a great pairing. Pairings have a lot to do with it, you know that.

I've had a good run here with, I think, some -- I've always been even after the first round of the TOUR Championship. I've always been near the top. I like that he plays quickly, plays well, makes birdies. Tag along on his coattails, although I'll be playing first all day -- again.

Q. Paul, you made it clear Ryder Cup, no regrets, but playing with Rory just a week before Hazeltine, do you think you'll maybe get one or two pains?
PAUL CASEY: Of course, yes. I don't want to talk about it, but yes. Yeah, that's going to be -- it's a weird one. Ask me maybe in a couple of weeks once I've watched it, but it's already slightly strange in the -- I can compare it to -- you know, in the past, when I've missed a Ryder Cup because I haven't qualified or I've not qualified for the Masters and I've sat back and I've watched those events, you watch them with a sense of I wish I was there, but I had my opportunity and I didn't get there. That's one thing.

But when I watched the Olympics this year, where, okay, I didn't qualify, but I didn't have -- I didn't play good enough to golf -- to get in the top two for Great Britain, but I've not had a chance to play for a gold medal, and I didn't have a chance this year, and I may not get a chance for another four years, and hopefully, I get one then. Boy, was I jealous watching that, and I said that to Justin.

I held his gold medal at Deutsche Bank. He seems to have it everywhere. Kuch had it last night. Everyone is carrying around their medals. It's cool. That's the one thing so far in golf that I haven't had an opportunity to play for, and would dearly love to.

So maybe watching the Ryder Cup next week because I haven't -- obviously, I'm not eligible -- maybe I'll have the same kind of feeling. Yeah, it hurts a bit more.

Q. Just one more. Given you're in the top five and destiny is in your hands, you could become the European Billy Horschel and maybe because of the rule change.
PAUL CASEY: See, I have visions of bad pants. [Laughter.]

Sorry, I got sidetracked when you said Billy Horschel.

Q. If you win the whole thing a week before the Ryder Cup, it could lead to a European tour change, a rule change there.
PAUL CASEY: The reason for not continuing to take up my membership is a family reason and a quality of life reason. Hey, if there are rule changes because of something I've done, it was certainly not any intention of mine. Again, maybe let's discuss it in two weeks if something like that happens.

THE MODERATOR: We have to cut it off. Paul, thank you so much for your time. We really appreciate it.

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