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May 23, 2018

Paul Casey

Surrey, England

STEVE TODD: Warm welcome to Paul Casey. Welcome home.

PAUL CASEY: Thank you.

STEVE TODD: Obviously a few years since you've been back to Wentworth, but you're here and just your thoughts on being back this week.

PAUL CASEY: I'm excited to be back. It's great to be home. Just thoroughly excited for this week. I'm in sort of a strange position, haven't yet played the golf course, haven't yet hit a golf ball but very, very excited to hopefully get stuck in tomorrow and yeah, I'm here to try and play a great week, try and win.

Won twice around this great golf course. I've not seen the changes. Heard wonderful things. Seen the stature of this rise, even in the last couple years, how it's grown now, the Rolex Series.

Yeah, it's got all the attributes for a great week.

Q. How is the back, first of all? Obviously pulled out of THE PLAYERS. How is it at the moment?
PAUL CASEY: Way better today. So yeah, withdrew from THE PLAYERS on the Wednesday. So working back, I had pretty good back pain starting at the Masters. It was significant at Hilton Head. Then got a lot of treatment.

Thought it was -- thought I was getting somewhere and then got to Charlotte and pretty much the same story, which was frustrating because I was playing really -- I felt like I was playing good. I had a lot of confidence. Liked the way the course was set up and knew my way around there and felt like I could have done something better than I did.

I mean, it was a good performance, but it was really, really sort of, you know, significant pain to the point where I wasn't hitting the golf shots. I couldn't hit the golf shots I wanted to hit. Got to players. Pain was even worse. Had as much treatment as I could. Hit some balls on Tuesday and just for the -- looking at precaution was, the advice was, you need to go get this fixed.

So fast forward to where we are, which is two weeks of therapy, basically. It's basically all it is is an inflamed -- severely inflamed back L5-L4 facet joint. Sacrum is out of position and all that inflammation was putting pressure on nerves and sending pain down the leg in what felt like the SI joint was all messed up.

Had MRIs. Had all the scans done, on some fairly good -- as my friend put it, weapons-grade antiinflammatories which had taken effect, and saw Tom Greenway yesterday, who is a chiropractor here in town with the British Olympians and I think I'm in a really good spot, but I haven't hit any golf balls. So last time I hit golf balls was last Friday and there was still pain on Friday but we've done a lot since then.

No disc issue. No other issues whatsoever. It's just purely inflammation. And there was no trauma, nothing that caused it. No crashing of bicycles or snowboards. It was just probably long plane journeys. Looking back on it, just the journey to Atlanta itself with Lex sitting on me for four hours or jumping on me. Could be anything.

So I'm not worried. Björn looked worried yet but there's no worry. It's just frustration, that's all it is, which is why I am excited and touch wood, go hit some golf balls after we're finished here and there's no pain and we just crack on and get on with it.

Q. Presumably is it something you have to monitor going forward? No need immediate surgery fix?
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, no, that's the thing, we don't need to getting a cultural and do anything invasive. It's purely a case of, the old thing, just some rest, get the inflammation out, and take care of it.

But I was told pretty much yesterday, like just get back to normal, which I haven't -- I've been in position where I haven't even been able to work out and do everything I that would normally do. It's just the frustration of sitting around. My golf game, I've got to be -- if I'm not the worst-prepared player here, this week something's wrong. I mean, what else is somebody else doing, because I've done absolutely nothing. I've done nothing. Which makes it slightly -- it's going to make it a slightly interesting week.

Par but I know the course, sort of, and excited. Having missed, you know, THE PLAYERS Championship and not got the work in, I'm a little bit of a workaholic when I'm at home, so I'm sort of chomping at the bit. I can't promise what this week is going to be like but I am excited to play.

Q. They do say, beware the injured golfer. So that's maybe a good thing.
PAUL CASEY: Yes. Normally injured golfers are somewhat prepared.

Yeah, I'm genuinely excited. I've been looking forward to this for a long time and when we looked at the schedule and I rejoined the Tour, you know, this was an obvious event that I was going to put in.

With my past successes around this golf course, the quality field, you know, its stature in the world of golf is so important to me, and the fact that it's home and it's where I grew up, right around the corner in Weybridge, so this was the this event is really one of the main reasons why I became a professional golfer, coming down here and watching Seve and Lyle and Woosie and Langer and all those guys when I was a kid growing up.

It has a special place in my heart, so yeah, I can't explain how cool it is and how, touch wood, will be good for tomorrow to tee it up again.

Q. You mentioned Thomas. He's got his vice captain team sorted out now. This is where it really cranks up, I guess, the run in to Paris. There's so many big events but whoever wins this week is going to be in great position?
PAUL CASEY: Every week's important. I don't put anymore emphasis on one particular week. It's about being in form, playing good golf, and being either automatically qualifying or being in great form leading up to that team selection.

You know, what happens in one particular week in May is not going to sway Thomas's mind before September, but it certainly helps. Only weird thing about yesterday is getting assistant captains who are the same age as me.

Q. Does that mean you feel you should have been considered?
PAUL CASEY: No, no, God no, I want to be playing (laughing). No, just reminds me of how old I'm getting.

Q. Those guys, you would think that they will all be viable contenders to be captain themselves one day?
PAUL CASEY: Oh, I've thought about that. I think without question, I think we've probably got more candidates than captain slots coming up over the next decade.

It's not something I've ever really thought about, although we'd like to play the game of, who is going to be next, because I don't know. That's been taken out -- there was a time I had a role to choose that captain but not anymore.

There's a lot of candidates. It's going to be interesting. But we've got other things to worry about before that happens.

Q. With The Ryder Cup obviously on the horizon, do you ignore that? Do you keep it as motivation? How do you compartmentalise the now and the future?
PAUL CASEY: It's always motivation. It's always one of the big goals that I've written down but it's compartmentalisation. It's taking care of this week. It's taking care of every single week, and that's the by-product; making the team is the by-product of doing my job correctly, doing my job well.

Having played in a few and having tried to qualify for many, I'm acutely aware of how to do it and how not to do it, and the years I did it well were the years I didn't focus on the outcome and focused on every week, trying to play well and win.

Early in that process, when I got obsessed about it -- and even at my age, it's still such a big deal, having played them.

I mean, it's why, you know, why I'm doing this. I want to be on that team. I want to contribute to Europe and win that Cup back, plain and simple, and I believe I can be a big part of that. But I have to --

STEVE TODD: Okay -- sorry.

PAUL CASEY: You cutting me off?

STEVE TODD: I was trying to.

PAUL CASEY: No, cut me off (laughing). You going to save me?

STEVE TODD: I was going to save you. We'll go to some Facebook live questions.

Q. Lots of questions on Facebook live. Jerry wants to know, although you have not played in the last couple of years have you watched on TV and what did you make of the event as a Rolex Series last year?
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, I do watch it on TV. I don't watch a lot of golf on TV.

I think becoming a Rolex Series has obviously increased its stature. Not that it really needed any help, where it is in the world of golf.

I think the biggest thing I take out of it, watching it on TV, has been course changes the last couple years, which I'm excited to see, having seen this course kind of morph through the years.

Just hearing the rave reviews that the job that Björn and McGinley and a whole bunch of other guys contributed to the outcome. I haven't seen it. That's the big thing this week. I want to check that out.

Wentworth, I mean, this is the home of kind of European golf. This is -- yeah, the Rolex Series is just kind of the icing on the cake for what this tournament is.

Q. One more from Axel. You've had a lot of success here but what was your first memory of coming to Wentworth?
PAUL CASEY: Still vividly remember standing on the 12th in the trees on the right-hand side with Seve about 15 feet in front of me hitting, looked like a 1-iron but cutting a long iron out of the trees off the dirt up on to the green. That, and then Constantino Rocca almost hitting a scoreboard on the left by the putting green once, hitting a snap-hook. Things just stick in your mind.

It's just, yeah, shots and moments around here. Howard Clark, having a go at Fanny on the bag years ago. Little things stick in your mind when you're like sort of 11 -- 10,11, 12 years old.

What was he called, the beast, Howard? Scared me.

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