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July 18, 2019

Paul Casey

Portrush, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

PAUL CASEY: I'm not that far away. Sort of two or three off of top-10. So, yeah.

Q. First tee with Rory, could you feel the atmosphere?
PAUL CASEY: Oh, yeah.

Q. Could you feel what he was feeling?
PAUL CASEY: It was a significant moment. It was -- we're in Northern Ireland, we haven't been here since '51. Yeah. I can't imagine what it was like this morning with Darren. You heard it with everybody, because G-Mac wasn't that far ahead of us. I could hear the roar.

It was a moment in golf history right there.

Q. Do you feel sympathy for what he went through on that first?
PAUL CASEY: Oh, yeah, don't worry about that. I've hit out of bounds on the first tee at an Open, but I wasn't the favourite and it wasn't in my home country -- actually, it was my home country. But it was totally different.

Yeah, I can't answer any questions about his game and shots he didn't feel -- the poor shots he may have hit or mistakes he made. I'm too busy trying to play my own game. But clearly -- yeah, I don't know.

Q. How aware on that first tee are you of out of bounds?
PAUL CASEY: Well, I actually didn't even know.

Q. Did you not? Okay.
PAUL CASEY: And I was here since Friday last week. I now know. There's also some on the right, which is news to me. I had no clue. Thank you for pointing that one out. Yeah.

Q. But it wasn't on your mind today?
PAUL CASEY: No, but it's such a great -- it was such a great reception that all of us received, but especially Rory, quite right. And I have no clue -- it surprised me.

Q. What's the protocol there as you're walking off the green? Do you say, Chin up or do you keep miles away?
PAUL CASEY: I keep away from him. He knows what to do.

Q. Were you surprised? He obviously struggled with the expectations all day?
PAUL CASEY: He struggled with that club, though, as well. I don't know whether it was a new club in the bag, lack of familiarity with it. I believe it's a 2-iron. I don't know how often he carries a 2-iron. I don't know, that's why I can't tell you.

Look, holes where there's a tough tee shot like 7, which is into the wind, he hit a beautiful drive right down the center dead straight, and that's in and off to the left, incredibly difficult. So it didn't -- I don't know why we saw that. Because he lost the same club right on 2. He lost the same club right on 18.

Q. Do you feel for him?
PAUL CASEY: Yeah. He's got so much pressure on him and expectations, yeah, I do. Only right now. Generally in life, no, I don't. I'm jealous. (Laughter.)

Q. I'm trying to remember you had a day 1 where you didn't live up to your own expectations.
PAUL CASEY: I've had many days. I don't know.

Q. The whole event just feels different when you've got these expectations?
PAUL CASEY: The only thing -- it's very different, and I don't think he's a member here. Is he a member here? He's an honorary member. That counts.

It's nothing, there is nothing more difficult than playing in front of your friends and your family. So me that's the ultimate pressure. So, yeah, at home is always the most difficult one.

I kind of feel it at Wentworth. Very different. You can't compare that, this is The Open. That's where I feel pressure when I'm home.

Q. Obviously weather, do you have a better sense of what the winning score might be after being out there?
PAUL CASEY: Is 4-under right now leading? If we get the same periods of sun, couple of squalls, same strength of wind, I'd snap your arm off if anybody got to double digits. Double it, add a couple. Yeah, I don't know.

But we'll see if The R&A lean on it a little bit. They have a very good grasp of things. That's not their style. Their style is usually to let the elements dictate.

But they didn't challenge us, I didn't think, with -- they were quite benign with some locations of flag based on purely slope. I've seen The R&A in the past put them on more significant slopes than this, and they were quite fair.

Q. How do you rate this course against the other Open venues?
PAUL CASEY: Top couple.

Q. Really?
PAUL CASEY: Yeah. I'm still a massive fan of St. Andrews and the atmosphere you get coming into town and coming back into the town. But that's kind of not the -- it is the architecture but not the architecture from a purely architectural point of view. This has everything. This is an unbelievable golf course.

7 and 8 obviously have been tweaked. 7 I would probably continue to tweak. But I wouldn't say it's a weak --

Q. It's got a tremendous finish, as well.
PAUL CASEY: Brilliant.

Q. Final three holes.
PAUL CASEY: The bunkering is just right. The bunkering is fair. The fairways are generous and flat where they need to be. The best green complexes I've ever seen on a links golf course.

Q. Can you explain about what great green complexes means.
PAUL CASEY: Brilliantly designed, not overly designed. I'm biased because I'm a Harry Colt fan, and I grew up on Harry Colt golf courses and I studied a lot of his work. I came in thinking it's going to be great, because it's Harry's, but it is. His architecture makes sense. I mean rarely -- I knocked it in the bunker down 18 for my second shot. It wasn't a great shot. But I managed to keep it out of the bunkers today which is rare for me on links courses. He is very fair with his bunkering. He really will only penalise you if it's a poor golf shot. Nothing is random with what he did. That's the best way to put it. You can see a lot of randomness in links. A lot of why on earth is that there? Well, that's because the sheep was lying and the sheep lay there for a long time and now it's a bunker. You don't get that here. Harry is like that bunker is going to be there and it's there for a reason. Like that beautiful bunker down the bottom of 17 on the left. It's there for a reason. He probably spent weeks chucking golf balls down that hill figuring it out. There is no randomness to this place. It's all on purpose.

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