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January 17, 2006

Paul Casey


SCOTT CROCKETT: Paul, many thanks as always for joining us.

PAUL CASEY: It's my first time in Abu Dhabi, just got in last night, so I haven't played the golf course yet. Should be a good week.

SCOTT CROCKETT: Take us through what you've done since your win in China and the holidays.

PAUL CASEY: Took a five week break, took a couple of weeks off and played very little and then three weeks of practice and playing.

SCOTT CROCKETT: Your game, how do you feel coming into this week?

PAUL CASEY: It's not bad. It's a little rusty, I think it could be a bit rusty. It's been a lot of range golf for the last three weeks, so I need to quickly remember how to shoot a number. I just have to play some golf, so it could be very good this week or it could be bloody rusty.

Q. Was the time off in the U.K.?

PAUL CASEY: No, I was in the States in Scottsdale. Yeah, weather was really good, so it's nice. I was with friends and family and kept it very relaxed. I had a lot of fun, actually. I played a bit of golf and played in a tournament about a week ago over there, a Pro Am and made my first check of the year, with some good guys, there was guys like Freddie Couples playing and Tom Lehman won.

Q. You can't beat these old guys then?

PAUL CASEY: No, clearly, I would like to blame my amateur partner but I can't.

Q. How long do you think it will take you to get into form?

PAUL CASEY: No, just take the week I think. Might take a round or two. Hopefully it will click very quickly. I just need to sharpen up just a bit and get the ball in the hole. I'm hitting the ball very nicely and I'm hitting the shots I want to hit.

Generally, I've always been pretty good at getting around a golf course and generally I don't think too much about the swing, and I've been thinking a lot about the swing a lot the last couple of weeks, so I have to just put that aside and just focus on the number.

I think it will take very quickly and it might be good on Thursday morning, or it may take until Sunday. I think I've done a lot of good work on stuff.

Q. What was the difference in your win last year in China?

PAUL CASEY: Just a lot of confidence I think. It's very strange, I haven't thought about it too much, so I can't really give you a great answer. I've moved on. That's probably what it was, confidence.

Q. It is difficult for people to understand how someone like you who plays the game so well can suddenly lose form?

PAUL CASEY: It's very strange standing there thinking, well, this used to be routine and now I actually am worried about missing the green or something with a weather whatever it might be. It's very strange to suddenly think that that thought, and then right before Christmas, I had a great win in China. So you think, how can you ever think about missing a green or hitting a bad shot? It's just the way it is. It's a wonderful game. You can never perfect it. You can always keep working.

Q. What can you do to be more consistent?

PAUL CASEY: Just keep working, just keep working very, very hard.

Q. Are you feeling more pressure to make the Ryder Cup this year?

PAUL CASEY: I don't know if there's more pressure. I think what's wonderful is there's so many great players right now on our tour that there is pressure in terms of making the team. It will be very, very difficult, but that's also an exciting challenge. I've got to play extremely good golf to be a part of the next Ryder Cup, so I definitely want to be a part of that. But I don't feel pressure. Nobody is saying, well, you should be on the team or anything like that. It's wonderful thing, which is great for the Tour and great for the players, as well. The only pressure really is coming from myself, expectations.

Q. Does it feel like another season?

PAUL CASEY: I've played enough years on Tour to really get used to noticing the difference between a Ryder Cup year and a non Ryder Cup year. It's just another goal in the year, just something that you think in the back of your mind even those sort of weeks where you're struggling a bit, you dig deep because you know that every point counts. You don't want to be missing the Ryder Cup Team by one World Ranking point or something like that, so you're always thinking very, very big.

Q. Inaudible?

PAUL CASEY: What, when you're on the team?

Q. Is it possible going out there from what you've seen?

PAUL CASEY: I think it's more of a pressure thing. I think playing on a team, there are benefits because you can rely on the others to give you the experience. When I played in the States two years ago now, it was great having guys like Darren Clarke, Monty, they told us what to expect and they were incredibly helpful with dealing with the pressure. But then there's also pressure that you don't want to let your teammates down and everybody else. God forbid all those people are at home watching on TV and laughing. There's a huge amount of pressure there.

Q. When you map out your schedule for the year, do you have the Ryder Cup in mind more than majors?

PAUL CASEY: My goal is to get back in the Top 50 before TPC and then in the Masters. I need some good short term golf to get in back in the Top 50 to get back in TPC and the Masters. I'm not much past that, very short term golf, and good golf at the end of the year for Ryder Cup, so that's what it's all based around.

Q. How big a part of your schedule was coming to Abu Dhabi?

PAUL CASEY: Big part, with the field here, the field is fantastic. These are exactly the type of events that I need to be playing in. The guys that are in the Top 10 in the world here are fantastic, it's a great opportunity to move up. I can change my golf very quickly, but it also means that it's an incredibly tough tournament to win, or even a tough tournament to finish in the top five. But it's wonderful, a nice way to start off the season, straight back in the thick of things with a great field, it's brilliant.

Q. Do you feel this is the type of tournament you have to start winning?

PAUL CASEY: I was actually watching on the plane the way over, Paul McGinley winning the Volvo Masters, and I think I need to win an event like that with everybody playing. I think he said he had won other events but not the same as winning the Volvo Masters and that's definitely what I need to do. I think in the Benson & Hedges, Padraig was playing and a lot of the really good European players. But I need guys like Sergio to be there and I need to win an event with everybody there. So that's definitely the next step.

Q. Paul McGinley said it was a relief when he won - can you understand that feeling?

PAUL CASEY: I am. I hope that I can feel the same thing hopefully sometime this year, winning an event like that. I'm sure it would be.

Certainly makes me try incredibly hard. I start to get in my own way if I try too hard, but, yes, certainly focuses the mind. I feel like I've put in the work and sometime very soon I'll be competing and winning.

Q. Can you talk a bit about golf courses in the area and playing here for the first time?

PAUL CASEY: I think it's nice because nobody has a huge advantage. I don't know who it suits yet because I haven't yet played the golf course. My caddie has and he says it looks good and sets up for me nicely.

I actually quite like playing in an event that is brand new and nobody knows what to expect. You know, I imagine if you went out to Hawaii and Mercedes, you know it's going to favour Stuart Appleby. So you don't get that sort of feeling here that, you know, look out for Sergio this week because it's his sort of golf course or whatever. It's new for everybody.

Q. Do you prepare any differently for an event like this?

PAUL CASEY: I don't prepare any differently for this event than any other event. Every event is quite important. You have to approach them pretty much the same way, work incredibly hard and bring your good game and good attitude.

SCOTT CROCKETT: Paul, thank you very much.

End of FastScripts.

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