January 22, 2021
La Quinta, California, USA
La Quinta Country Club
Q. It looked like two different people the last two days. Even par 72 on the Nicklaus Course, which is the easier one, and then a 65 today. What changed on the Stadium?
PAUL CASEY: I don't know if it's easier, but one is Nicklaus and one is Dye. And I don't know, I quite like this one. (Laughing.)
I mean, I felt like I've been playing good. I've been playing an awful lot of golf back home in Arizona. Our golf courses are open and it's been nice to get out there. It didn't show yesterday, but it showed today. That's all that matters.
Q. Last we saw you was the Masters a couple months ago. You said you were playing golf at home in Arizona. Anything you've been working on?
PAUL CASEY: I've been working on lots. I've been working on lots. It's probably the best -- what have I been working on? I don't know, everything, basically. But it's been one of the better off-seasons I've had in a long, long time, and you never know what that sort of parlays into for a season, but I feel really good about the golf game. So we'll see.
I mean, last year was nothing to really celebrate. Hopefully this year's going to be something really, really pretty cool.
Q. You haven't played since the Masters last year. You've had some time off. Maybe a little rust yesterday, but today you came out there and kicked it all off and you shot a little 30 on your front nine.
PAUL CASEY: Thank you. There shouldn't have been too much rust because I live, as you know, not far from here. I live in Arizona, just across the state line. The golf courses are open, and I've played a lot of golf. I mean the wife let me play, I think I played at least eight rounds of golf in the two weeks leading up to this, including a competition and a whole bunch of other stuff. So I had no excuses yesterday with that level par. That was just, it wasn't rust. It just wasn't good enough.
But today was really good, so I'm optimistic, I'm feeling good about the game. Yeah, I'm raring to go.
Q. You turned in 30, then you make birdie on 10. In your mind, did you ever think about, you know, this could be a lot more fun out there and then all of a sudden Johnny let's you down and it's poor caddying from there on out and you make all pars coming in.
PAUL CASEY: You know what? No. Did I think -- yeah, I wanted to be -- I wanted 8 and then I wanted 9, but it wasn't to be. It wasn't through lack of opportunities. Maybe I just couldn't get it quite as close as I did on the front nine, but it was still a very good round of golf. Maybe a little blemish on 16 with the tee shot and then missing the green with the approach, but it was a very good pitch to save par.
And I got through 17 unscathed, which is tricky today, the elevated tee and, it looks benign, but you know it, you've been up there, it's not an easy green to just hit.
So happy to get home unscathed and I'm there or thereabouts. I'm not right up the top of the leaderboard, but I'm, luckily today kind of saved me and kept me in this event, kept me in this event.
Q. You played college golf at Arizona State. How much do you enjoy coming out and playing desert golf like this because that's what you played most of in college?
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, a lot of guys were talking about where they start they're seasons and there's a lot of guys who, although we're not quite on the coast, we consider ourselves West Coast guys. A lot of guys kind of tend not to go to Hawaii because this is just like the golf that I play in Arizona. It's absolutely identical. The altitude's just a little bit different. I think we're a little lower here. But it's the same grass types, we got Bermuda overseeded with rye. We have got the silly kind of valley affects out here, everything goes towards Indio. You have the same kind of thing in Phoenix, everything goes to the city. It's just copy and paste. That's a good way of putting it.
So for me, this is a great way to start the year, and then I got more desert golf next week because you'll see me in the Middle East. So I got a bit of travel ahead of me. We got to take care of this week first. But, yeah, I figure we'll just start off with desert golf to start the year.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports