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August 6, 2020

Paul Casey

San Francisco, California, USA

Harding Park Golf Club

Flash Quotes

JOHN DEVER: Good afternoon, welcome to the 2020 PGA Championship here at TPC Harding Park, Paul Casey is with us. He opened his championship with a 68 today.

Five birdies, really, really solid play. You might not have walked off the course the way you pictured ten minutes beforehand but overall, a good day, would you say.

PAUL CASEY: Yeah, really good stuff. Yeah, I felt a lit more energy. This has been a strange return to golf. I admit, I just talked to Dennis Paulson and admitted I've struggled with the lack of energy that we've been experiencing the last few weeks and this week feels like there's a little bit more there. Clearly, I know we are at a major. We have got a major setup. We have got an unbelievable field. It's great to be in San Francisco and it's been a tough golf course the first three days of practice.

I still miss the fans. I was getting a little bit of -- I was getting it going a little bit and I felt excited about my round of golf until I messed it up on 18. But yeah, I'm still -- I feel like -- I almost feel like if I had more energy out there, I probably would have finished it off different.

Q. Seeing it this week, how has this stood up as a major test?

PAUL CASEY: I think it is a major test. It's a really solid golf course. It's very fairly set up. The scores are probably going to be a little lower than maybe some people would expect, but that's probably just -- actually the flatness OF the greens attributes to that. Not a huge amount of pitch on most of the greens out there. The rough is gnarly, but the guys are driving the golf ball so well. The only real defense we're going to have this week is the wind that seemed to pick up this afternoon and made it a little trickier.

It's a very, very worthy golf course. It's got the history. It's got the demand. I think guys like it.

Q. Was there a point where you felt it dial up when the wind started?

PAUL CASEY: I felt happy in terms of the draw because I felt we were going to get kind of the rough side of things. A lot of the sort of statisticians we talk to, they are like, yeah, you're going to get screwed. I'm glad it didn't turn out that bad. We actually had phenomenal conditions for probably the first nine holes, and then it got tricky. But I didn't blow it totally and have a disastrous day. It was difficult. There was a lot of crosswinds around this golf course. That's the problem, and there's just always a side you cannot be. I talk about the greens being pretty flat but there's always a side -- almost just no chance of getting up-and-down. So strategy is paramount. Maybe not tee shots because you'll see guys hitting a lot of drivers, but into the greens, you have to be dialed in.

Q. Rory has said that he's having a hard time focusing because there's no fans, and it's just not there. He actually said earlier this week he kind of had to give himself a pep talk coming into this week to sort of snap out of it. Have you gone through a similar situation?

PAUL CASEY: Maybe I need another pep talk, yeah. I concur, or I clearly feel the same as Rory.

I've thought about it, you know, before we actually came back, I was thinking about it, how is this going to be. Like, this could be kind of cool, maybe playing without fans could be, I don't know, maybe a little -- I thought maybe it could be fun.

I flat-out don't like it. Plain and simple. Nothing I can do, obviously, but I miss it. You know, I play golf at home with nobody around, and I much prefer it out here. This is why I love what I get to do, and it's changed the dynamic of it.

And I will agree that I've not played very good golf in this whole return, but I'm pretty much putting it down to the fact that I just don't have the energy right now, or not -- I have the energy but I'm not able to draw energy from anyone. I like the pressure. I like the energy. I like the banter. I like the heckling. I kind of miss it.

JOHN DEVER: You miss the heckling, wow.

PAUL CASEY: It was good heckling.

JOHN DEVER: No Ryder Cup, either.

PAUL CASEY: I've always had fun with fans, you know that. I feel I have a good rapport with the crowd when they are out. Hey, if I deserve to be booed, I get booed, and if I deserve to be cheered, I usually get one. It's all good. It's all part of what we do as athletes. You welcome it. Yeah, it's very strange.

JOHN DEVER: Thanks for stopping by. Good luck tomorrow. Come back and visit, please.

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