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April 10, 2004

Paul Casey


JIM BLANCHARD: Ladies and gentlemen, we are delighted to have Paul Casey from England in his first Masters appearance. He's a two time winner this year on the European Tour and had a great 68 today.

We'd love to have you make a few comments about your round and then we'll take questions.

PAUL CASEY: I wish I'd won twice this year, but it was last year, though. (Laughter.)

Today's round, you know, it started off a little shaky. Made a good par save on 1 and 2. Actually, out of a hazard on 2 there. Then really kick started early on on the front nine by knocking a couple close, making birdies on 3, on 5 and on 7, and one on 9, as well, as well as a dropped shot there on 6. So really it was a good front nine and enjoyed the back nine. And 15, 2 putt birdie just off the fringe on 15.

It was just a fun round of golf. That's what I plan to do tomorrow, try to shoot something in the 60s, 69, something like that. That was the goal today. And we'll see what happens.

Q. You've been saying the last couple of interviews that you've been able to stay relaxed out here even though it's your first time out here. How have you done that? What's the mindset of being able to stay relaxed?

PAUL CASEY: I think I've just approached this differently to how I've approached majors in the past. I think I've put too much pressure on myself in the past, and these are the events we're trying to win out here, that every professional golfer would dearly love to win.

I've almost tried too hard, and I think since this whole year, I've been very relaxed and approached things the correct way, a nice Top 10 finish at THE PLAYERS Championship where I felt like I didn't play necessarily great golf, and I've been that way this week.

I've got friends in town, family in town, just a very relaxed environment. Although I'm trying as hard as I possibly can, I'm relaxed, and that's the key. Whatever happens, happens. It's my first Masters appearance, and I've loved every minute so far. I know I'm going to be back, and we'll just see what happens this week.

Q. Your initial goal was the cut with a secondary goal of Top 10. Would a Top 10 be disappointing now?

PAUL CASEY: Yeah, probably. It's not something I'm really going to think about. I've just got to worry about managing my game tomorrow. It's just, I feel very comfortable. I haven't felt comfortable playing in the States in the last since I turned professional. I've had momentous rounds here or there. I just feel like I'm playing the golf like I play in Europe and it's no different, the position I would be in, let's say when I won the Benson & Hedges or any other of the European victories.

That's what I'm enjoying. I'm enjoying showing the U.S. crowds what I can do. I'm not going to worry about things too much.

Q. You were talking outside about England looking for the next Masters champ. Did you follow Faldo's championships and is that particularly important to you, and what was the historical perspective there?

PAUL CASEY: Yeah, it does really it strikes being the Masters champion strikes a nerve back in the U.K. because of the success the Europeans have had, whether it's Lyle, Woosnam, Faldo, and the other Europeans, as well, Olazabal, Seve and these guys, Langer. Traditionally, because we have had success, I think the press always look for they feel like, why Europeans should do well here, and the British contingent should do well, as well.

I would dearly love to continue that trend. The Open Championship is the one I would love to win. I mean, it's our National Championship, it's our home championship. But this is a very, very close second. It's only because of, you know, being English, that's the one I want to win, and I'm sure you can understand that.

But the Masters has something special because we're back here every year. You know, I'd love to be putting on that green jacket and be up in that special locker room upstairs.

Q. Is there a particular major where you thought, this is getting ridiculous, you need a different approach?

PAUL CASEY: Was it the PGA last year when I missed the cut, and I felt like I played well. I just wasn't shooting the scores I felt the scores weren't matching the effort level. It's as simple as that.

Something had to change. It's just so funny. For example, I've driven up Magnolia Lane every day this week when arriving. We've played a different song and we've had all kind of things. I dread to think I shouldn't really tell you what I've been playing on the stereo. We've had the Caddyshack theme tunes just to make it fun, trying to make it a relaxed week. You know, it's working. It's what I would do in Europe.

I'm very serious out there. I have fun. I respect the game. The crowds are wonderful. But, you know, I need to be relaxed, and I'm relaxed I play good golf.

Q. What song will you play tomorrow?

PAUL CASEY: I have no idea.

Q. Does your success in ping pong have any relation to your success on the course?

PAUL CASEY: No. (Laughs).

Q. So that does mean you're not doing well this week in ping pong?

PAUL CASEY: Yeah, I'm winning in ping pong.

Q. We were talking the other day about how some of the other golfers were talking about how the course has changed. They used to play a hole this way, now play that way and different things, and you had been subjected to that in a way it night work to your advantage because you don't know how holes will play; has that been the case this week?

PAUL CASEY: Yeah, it's been a lot of fun listening to these guys, not complain, but just reminisce; I used to hit an 8 iron here, 9 iron here, and now they go at it with long, long clubs. They have definitely got that lodged in their brain, a few of the players.

I genuinely feel like I have an advantage, seeing it for the first time. I've seen it on TV and I've seen the changes they have made. It is a tough, tough golf course. I can see why they have made the changes. It's their prerogative. I think it's wonderful. It certainly doesn't bother me. They can make as many changes as they want, and arriving here for the first time has been an advantage, I think, and hopefully that will continue.

Q. You said that you loved every minute of it, but I happened to be sitting at 12 when I saw you putting off the green. How enamored were you at that stage on Thursday? And did you think having putted off the green you would be sitting here with a real shot to win this thing on Saturday or Sunday?

PAUL CASEY: No is the answer. No, I didn't think I would be sitting here right now. But I'm glad I am. I've kept the head screwed on the shoulders.

You know, I feel like I've really made I've hit plenty of poor shots this week, but I've only made two very poor decisions, and one was on 12. I was very indecisive with the shot to play, and I made an indecisive decision on 8 in the first round which cost me shots. Whether I've picked the wrong the correct club or not, I've been very positive in the swing I've made, and that's probably why I'm sitting here right now.

Q. That could shake people up; did it bother you at all?

PAUL CASEY: No, because everybody is going to do it at some stage this week. Not put it into the water, but I played with Sluman yesterday, he putted one off the green on 17. I pretty much putted one off the green on 6 today. It's going to happen, and how you deal with it determines whether you are there at the weekend.

Q. Are you currently exceeding your expectations, or did you arrive at Masters thinking you could be as competitive as you are?

PAUL CASEY: I certainly felt like I can be competitive at some stage. Maybe not this year. I felt like I needed to possibly do some learning of this golf course. It's a tough, tough golf course to learn. There's a lot of things, a lot of areas it's the first time I've ever been in a bunker on 18. A lot of things I do have to learn, but maybe that's not good. I knocked it in that bunker off the tee. I had no idea. I wasn't like, shoot, we're in the bunker. My attitude was, let's go see how it's lying and get on with it.

I'm very happy with how I've done this week. Have I exceeded it? Possibly, but that's fine. (Smiling).

Q. Do you want to play over here or do you want to play both here and Europe, or is Europe home?

PAUL CASEY: I would like a mix of both. I'm never going to stop playing in Europe. Europe is home for me. I would dearly love to play a little bit more in the States. If there's an opportunity, if I had enough money to get my card in the States, I would take it without a doubt, but it's not going to stop me from playing European Tour events. I love playing those.

The goal is Ryder Cup right now. We're going to chase that.

Q. Could you follow up just a little bit on the play list coming up Magnolia Lane. You talked about the ping pong; what else have you done to stay loose with your friends?

PAUL CASEY: Not much else apart from the ping pong, just sitting around watching movies.

In terms of the play list, we had Bee Gees yesterday, I think. It's not good. It's not impressive. (Laughter.)

Q. So nothing pop culturish?

PAUL CASEY: It's very kitsch.

JIM BLANCHARD: Thank you very much, and good luck tomorrow.

End of FastScripts.

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