April 6, 2021
Augusta, Georgia, USA
Q. Is this your 15th?
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, something like that, 15 or 16. 15 maybe.
Q. You played really, really well around here for a long time.
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, because there's not many guys who play that many who haven't won. Ernie's probably got the record or something like that, hasn't he? Bless him.
Q. I did not come bearing that stuff.
PAUL CASEY: No, he's actually good. To play that many means there's a lot of good performances and continuing to be in the top 50 and those kinds of things. I take it as a compliment.
Q. So what's been the key all those years? I mean, six or seven top tens, I believe. A lot of success.
PAUL CASEY: There's no question that the golf course suits my game, which is fundamentally, I'm a very good ball striker. I drive it well. But then there's other subtleties. You know, the off-camber lies, the slopes. I've always felt you need -- you don't necessarily need strong legs because there's plenty of guys, Masters champions who probably don't squat a lot, but you need good base, good footwork, the ability to deliver the club repeatedly on those awkward slopes and awkward lies, and that's one of the things I do pretty well.
Good angle of descent into the greens with the golf ball and good spin control. I mean, there's a whole list of things, almost like a checklist I could run you through. I'm not a great putter, but I'm a good touch putter, which very much assists round here. There's a whole bunch of stuff I do really well that just plays into, I'd say, the hands of this golf course, things you need to do well to play well around here.
Q. In those years, what have you learned about the 12th hole? How was your kind of game plan and strategy maybe evolved there?
PAUL CASEY: It's probably one of the holes that has -- it's evolved the least. It has also been -- almost every hole round here has been touched in some way, you know, kind of enhanced, and there's little tricks that the committee will kind of -- the championship committee will kind of play and look to enhance the architecture and enhance the playability, and 12 is one which hasn't been immune. It's changed around the edge of the greens, but the strategy kind of still remains the same.
A pin on the left can be very aggressive. A pin in the middle, very aggressive. And the pin on the right, you leave it alone. It's pretty much as simple as that. And the yardage only ever alters literally a handful of yards, but it's that beautiful way that the elements create the indecision on that hole with the way the wind swirls.
Look, it's a beautiful example that golf holes don't need to be long to be treacherous and exciting and difficult. They create -- that's a great hole that creates fear in players, but I love it. It's one of my favorite holes on the golf course.
Q. Is it a hole that comes to your mind during the round -- I know you have to focus on one shot at a time around here, but does it ever pop into your mind maybe a little bit earlier than when you get there?
PAUL CASEY: No, there are numerous golf holes on this course, almost every golf hole you can come unstuck on, starting right here on the 1st. We've seen plenty of rounds come unstuck in tournaments lost on the 1st straight away.
No, just because it's got the water there and maybe it seems benign because it's anywhere from 150 to not even 160 yards, sometimes it's even less than that, and we've seen big numbers through the past that guys tend to focus.
Obviously, look, it's Amen Corner, and it's the history. But, no, I don't think about it particularly early. You have to stay very present on this golf course.
Q. Do you have to almost forget everything from a November Masters because of how different it is? And is it easy for to you forget it because that's kind of a one-off and you've been here so many other times?
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, I would almost phrase it that I'm trying to recall from all the Masters that I've played -- my first going back to '04 -- that this is spot on this year. This is we haven't seen -- as players, we haven't seen a setup like this in a long, long time. Usually mother nature has her hand in that.
But this is fabulous. I've seen some young guys this week have a slightly deer in the headlights look because they've walked out on a couple of those greens and they've seen the color of them and they've seen the firmness, felt the firmness. You can see they're kind of going, whoa, like this is a whole different animal.
So, for me, it's not -- like November was just very cool in its own right, but a totally different experience. The leaves and the setup and everything, it was a Masters, but one we'll never see again, and I'm glad I was a part of it, but this is back to what I remember, what I remember seeing as a kid. Balls will gather in places that, if a guy hasn't been here in half a dozen years, he won't experience, and the firmness, and the way the strategy that you then have to implement and the angle of descent and the shots and the spin control and all those things.
I just played nine holes with Phil this morning, and he was on top form talking about how he's going to attack this golf course. And Justin Rose and I talked walking down the 2nd yesterday, and he knows how to play this golf course. Look, not that I'm not going to back the younger guys, but I would back a guy who's been here several times and has seen an Augusta National firm and fast like the one we're going to get this week.
Q. So does that make you more excited about the week?
PAUL CASEY: Without question, yeah. I relish the challenge. It's never easy around here, but it's always fair. Sometimes it runs right up against that line, but it never crosses it, and I'm excited. It's going to be difficult. There will be mistakes that are made by everybody. Hope to eliminate them. If you eliminate those, hopefully, you can stick around near the top of the leaderboard, but it's fabulous.
I hope the rain stays away all week. I think it's what the patrons want as well and the fans watching on TV. It's absolutely glorious. This is what the Masters should be.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports