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September 27, 2018

Paul Casey

Guyancourt, France

TOM CARLISLE: Paul, thanks for your time. Welcome to the Media Centre.

PAUL CASEY: Thank you.

TOM CARLISLE: Your first Ryder Cup in ten years, and you made the decision earlier in the year to rejoin The European Tour and staking claim in joining this Ryder Cup side. What's it like finally being here at Le Golf National?

PAUL CASEY: Amazing. I made the decision almost two years ago, and so to be sitting here now is very satisfying, very enjoyable. It was obviously the goal to make that team, and now the goal is to win points, which I believe I can do, and I'm super excited for this week.

I mean, to finally be here, seeing all the images of what it was going to be like, that first tee, and to get a taste of it the last couple of days, I can't wait for tomorrow.

TOM CARLISLE: And what's it like pulling on that jersey again and being back in the team room?

PAUL CASEY: It's very special. Yeah, it takes me -- I think I've got more of an appreciation this time around. I've taken notes this week and tried to be -- really pay attention to how special this is.

To be wearing this and to be standing alongside my teammates and captain, vice captains, and everybody that supports us, yeah, very proud and honoured to be donning the blue and gold, blue and yellow.

Q. It's been ten years since you were last year. Has The Ryder Cup changed in the ten years since you've got here? Has it surprised even you?
PAUL CASEY: Yes. The only previous European Ryder Cup I played was The K Club in 2006. The first tee wasn't like this one.

I think just bigger scale. You know, the passion is still as intense. It's just grander. It's just bigger. It's just been amped up, yeah.

I'll let you know. Ask me the same question again on Sunday, because so far, it's just -- we haven't had the full experience yet.

Q. Do you think the nerves will be amped up, as well? Do you think you'll feel the nerves more than ever because it feels that bit bigger?
PAUL CASEY: I don't know. It felt great on the golf course yesterday. We had a small tasting of that first tee yesterday. It was really noisy. Who did I play with -- Henrik, Thorbjørn and Tyrrell, and then when we walked off the tee and we looked back, about a hundred yards, we looked back and realised it was about 5 per cent full.

The noise will be a good thing. I mean, yeah, as a team, we're ready to embrace it and we know that the vast majority of that noise is for us, which is a massive advantage.

So will I be nervous? I think, yeah, I remember back to Ryder Cups I played before, I was always nervous. It will be no different tomorrow. But that quickly subsides and you get on with the match and you get into it, and then it's all about winning points.

Q. I'm interested to know how you would describe your standing in the team. You've played Ryder Cups before obviously --
PAUL CASEY: Veteran.

Q. But what's the difference kind of, not just what the Ryder Cup is like, but being back in the team room after so long now with Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy, who have five each under their belt?
PAUL CASEY: My standing?

Q. Are you giving out lots of advice, or are you sitting back and soaking it in?
PAUL CASEY: I'm playing a role on and off the golf course. To be honest, we have so much depth in both those departments.

You know, I'm doing my bit. Our guys are so good that -- and our captain is so on top of things that not a lot needs to be done currently. It's all about getting ready for tomorrow. You know, I feel our rookies don't behave and look like rookies. They are already incredibly accomplished. Our veterans, guys like you have just mentioned who played five or more Ryder Cups, they know what they are doing.

And you've got multiple guys in the team room -- I'm not the most experienced guy in the team room, and I'm not the oldest, actually.

Yeah, so maybe I'm not a veteran yet, but I'm in a good position. I've got the attributes. I've got the tools to help guys, and I've got the tools and the attributes to play a different role with other team members.

Q. When you say you're taking notes, is that like a personal diary you're making of this week?
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, I don't have a diary, but just standing back and making sure I absorb this.

Ryder Cups in the past have gone so quickly, and yeah, I just want to make sure I remember this. You know, at 41, I don't know how many opportunities I'm going to get to play another European-based Ryder Cup. I don't want this to be my last European-based Ryder Cup, but plain and simple, at 41, it's got a chance that it is.

So I just want to make sure that I pay attention to it and enjoy it, deliver points, play my heart out, but enjoy it at the same time.

Q. Are you more determined this time around because it's been ten years?
PAUL CASEY: Not a point to prove. I'm just here to play the golf I'm capable of and see what that produces. We're playing against a brilliant U.S. Team and we have massive respect for them. You know, on paper, they are better than us on paper.

There's no point to prove. Just here to do my bit and we'll see what happens.

Q. What did you miss the most?
PAUL CASEY: What did I miss the most? The team part, the team element. The vibes in the team room.

You know, you just -- yes, we hang out a lot on Tour, around the world, when we're playing, but it's not the same. I miss putting on the clothes in the morning. I miss that first tee. I've missed a lot.

But I think the most is missing the vibes, the team, how close you get with these guys, and they become -- they always do become really good friends. Friendships always grow in this situation.

Q. Does the nature of this course provide home advantage for Europe, and how does the course suit your game in particular?
PAUL CASEY: I think it does a little bit. The course definitely suits me. I drive the ball very well, and it's a ball-striker's golf course. It's probably been documented; you've seen the rough out there. The fairway is not overly generous, and the rough is very penal.

The greens are large, and positioning the ball on the correct side of the hole is going to be paramount. Yeah, it's a definite advantage for us, I think.

Our team certainly knows the course better than the Americans, and I think it suits my game very, very well.

I know the course and I've always known where to hit it around here. Even for myself, though, it's different from what we've seen in French Opens, just the lushness of what we're seeing and the preparation and the way it's set up, so that's been a little bit of learning the last couple of days, but I feel very, very happy and comfortable with it.

Q. Were there times where you felt like you would never be in this position again, and how did you cope with those weeks, Ryder Cup weeks, when you were not here competing and maybe home watching on TV?
PAUL CASEY: I think after I missed out in 2010, and I want to say -- my memory's vague, but 2012 and 2014 where I had struggled with my game, those were probably the times when I wondered and hoped if I'd play another one if my form wasn't there.

I remember, a really good relationship with McGinley, and wanting to play for him, but just wasn't playing nearly the golf I wanted to or needed to to get close to making his team.

Same with Ollie. And then missing out in 2016, although not being a member -- not being eligible and not being a member of The European Tour.

I felt like I could and would; it was just a matter of when. Yeah, sorry, I can't remember the first part of your question.

Q. How did you cope?
PAUL CASEY: Oh, how did I cope? I mean, it's always one of those when you -- I've always had ups and downs in my career. When you're over here playing bad golf, you can never see how to play good golf again; and when you're playing good golf, you can never understand how you play bad golf. You just get on with it as a player, as an athlete. You just deal with it.

I always loved the work, so when I struggled with my game, in 2012 or 2014 when I didn't make these teams, it was just a quest of, let's get better; what do I need to work on? There are opportunities.

It's never been an issue to deal with it. You just work through it.

Q. Did you watch them?
PAUL CASEY: Oh, yeah. It's the best thing on TV. It's the greatest thing on TV (smiling).

Q. I don't have any statistics to back this up, but it seems like over the last 30 or 40 years at a Ryder Cup, compared with a major, you see more spectacular, memorable, brilliant shots than you do bad moments, more rising than falling.
If that's the case, why do you think that is?

PAUL CASEY: The repercussions are only loss of hole if it doesn't -- if the shot doesn't come off, Doug, plain and simple. I mean, thank goodness we're playing match play around this golf course this week. Wouldn't want to play stroke play around here; you would see defensive golf around here if it were stroke play this week.

But you'll see spectacular stuff again this week. The golf course sort of demands it, really. The situation demands it.

You know, fourballs, for example, you have the opportunity, you can relax. You have kind of an insurance policy standing next to you. I've always been -- part of it I can't answer for you because guys are always nervous, every day, especially Friday, and yet they always rise and they always perform brilliantly, and I'm sure we'll see the same tomorrow.

Guys will be extremely nervous on that first tee, with probably just shy of 10,000 people chanting and singing, and yet it will be spectacular from the get-go. That's the nature of The Ryder Cup.

Q. Just wondering if the notes you're taking are any part of being sort of useful, if you were perhaps to be captain yourself one day? And if it's a simple no to that question, could you possibly compare how Thomas is doing compared to the other captains you've played under?
PAUL CASEY: I don't know what you're talking about with that first part.

Q. Neither did I, really.
PAUL CASEY: Comparing Thomas, I've never compared captains to each other because the three that I've previously played for have all been very different styles and all been brilliant in their own different way.

I mean, you know, you're asking me to compare like Langer to Woosie? I mean -- come on. But the result was the same.

And how you captain, I don't know, I've never been a captain, but it's probably determined with the team you've got and what needs to be done.

Thomas has been brilliant. Yeah, I won't compare him to the other three I've played for, but he's been absolutely brilliant. Every player is so up for this week, so wanting to play great golf, not only for their country and their continent, but for him, because of how hard he's worked and the energy that he's put into this.

Yeah, if I can say this, you know, we love Thomas Bjørn, and cuddly Thomas; he's been absolutely fantastic.

Q. Can you talk about winning and losing, how does that colour the week's experience for you guys?
PAUL CASEY: How does winning and losing?

Q. Colour the experience of the week.
PAUL CASEY: I think it's fairly black and white. It's why we're here, is to win. So these amazing dinners like we had last night and the grandeur of the opening ceremonies, it's all about the result at the end of the day. That's all that matters -- so, yeah.

Q. This is obviously the last Ryder Cup before Britain leaves the EU. As an Englishman, the unity, the fans, particularly the English and British fans with European hats on and things, do you find that heartening, like the unity on display at such a tumultuous time for the country?
PAUL CASEY: I haven't even thought about it. Hopefully I've got some matches to play the next couple of days.

Sorry, I haven't even thought about it.

TOM CARLISLE: Good to know you're focused on the golf. Thank you.

PAUL CASEY: Thank you, everybody.

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