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August 7, 2020

Paul Casey

San Francisco, California, USA

Harding Park Golf Club

Flash Quotes

JOHN DEVER: Good afternoon, and welcome back to the 2020 PGA Championship here at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco. We are joined by Paul Casey. Paul posted a second-round 67 and is currently 5-under for the championship at the halfway mark.

Paul, steady as she goes, very clean round. Give us your impressions of how you played today.

PAUL CASEY: That makes a change, doesn't it, for me.

I played really well. I mean, glorious day for golf. It's weird, the first three days of practice that I saw here at Harding Park were -- presented an incredibly difficult test of golf, and then the last two days have been quite generous actually which is nice as a player. It's not quite as intimidating when you step on that tee. Joy to be out there playing with Webb Simpson and Ian Poulter, and we had a blast. We cruised around, I played some wonderful golf, and very, very happy with what I shot. I didn't spend too much time looking at -- 8 or something is leading, something like that, but knowing that as I did yesterday there's always a disaster here if you're not paying attention, I just tried to keep a clean card, and the right side of the pin, which is what I did for most of the day.

Q. What has been the difference this week for your game, because it hasn't been up to your standards lately? And then why do you think it felt like to me these conditions were still pretty tough; why do you think it got easier?

PAUL CASEY: So yeah, my game has not been good. I commented yesterday, I've actually really struggled with not having fans out. I've really missed it, plain and simple. I've felt I've not been able to sort of just get the excitement going, lacking energy and all that goes with having fans at a sporting event at a golf tournament, I just genuinely miss it.

I felt very flat, as I'm sure you guys, too. Life away from the golf course here is also quite flat. We would always go out. You'd go out and have dinners and hang out with people and none of that exists now as we know it. So the whole for me, yeah, I've not really enjoyed being out playing golf.

And secondly, John McLaren is back on the bag, so John couldn't -- well, he could have come over, chose not to come over. He lives in the UK, as you know, so the travel restrictions, the Tour had negotiated a way -- not around that, but Washington had helped out, but even he had to do his two-week quarantining, and the whole thing -- he's got a young family, so he just didn't want to, plain and simple. And I've missed him. He has a massive effect on my game, clearly, and so the last two weeks -- obviously I made the cut last week because there was no cut, but I like how he turns up for those events. He's been a huge asset this week.

In terms of this golf course and why it played easy. I think honestly practicing when it's so difficult, the practice rounds, we were talking about winning score, we talked about 8-under being the winning score for the week, and now here we are 8-under is for two rounds, so it might be lower.

I think the fact we hadn't seen any blue sky for the first three days was a big factor. It just -- the winds have been the same. Maybe guys are learning the shots. The greens are not overly fast, pretty flat and receptive, a whole slew of -- it's been set up very, very well. I'll tip my cap to whoever is setting them up, Kerry Haigh or whoever is doing it. They've tucked some pins but they're always accessible. Maybe with the exception of the 8th. They're almost always accessible, so that's why you're seeing what you're seeing, and it feels more comfortable now being out there.

Q. Can you talk about the 8th hole quickly --

PAUL CASEY: It would be a great wedge hole, wouldn't it. It's 100 yards too long.

Q. Is it one of the toughest par-3s you've played?

PAUL CASEY: It's one of the toughest par-4s I've played. I think 16 is easier today than 8.

Yeah, I think it's -- look, I really like this place. I think it's probably just a little bit too severe. That grass bunker on the left -- guys genuinely are not aiming at the flag today, and so I think that's a little bit of a -- there's not a lot you can do with the setup to change that. It's just architecturally it's a little bit awkward, that hole, especially with the wind off the left. I think if the winds were the other way around, you could feed it in, but today particularly, guys are just aiming at the TV tower beyond the green and they're accepting of the middle of the green or even over the green and having a straightforward pitch. Yeah, it's not what you'd want, but not every hole is perfect.

Q. What you just referenced, John staying back in England, Tommy Fleetwood who's high on the board with you, as well, was faced with that kind of similar thing and some of the guys stayed back like Padraig and Lee and whatnot. Can you speak to that dynamic, about those choices that have to be made, and can you understand why the guys stayed back? What would you have done if you were in that scenario?

PAUL CASEY: Yeah, I don't know is the answer. I don't know what I would have done. I have a young family, as most of those guys you've mentioned do. In Padraig's case they're a little bit older. But you know, the Tour have -- however you want to put it, they've basically given us a free pass this year on exemptions. So you choose a guy even like Francesco Molinari, who we haven't seen him yet back on Tour, his position, his eligibility will not change for next season, so there is no pressure. It's going to be very tough for guys obviously on Korn Ferry and various other tours because they can't make the jump up. But it's allowed guys to say, look, if I'm not comfortable playing then I don't have to, which is very nice of the Tour to do that.

Yeah, I can't answer for those guys, and I don't know what I would have done. You know, it was strange enough leaving my family in Arizona and coming back out on the road. I've always fully supported for John McLaren and myself, family have always come first, and so when John chose to stay home with his family, that was absolutely fine. Again, with the current situation, with rankings, exemptions not changing, I can't argue with that.

Now, if exemptions were a factor this year, then maybe I would have had to push, but then he probably would have been here anyway because the situation would have been different.

I'm just -- it's nice to see guys traveling. It's nice to see those restrictions lifted. We're obviously still in the middle of a pandemic and it looks like we're maybe quite a while from getting out of it. But it's nice that we're back out on the golf course and guys are traveling again.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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