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July 18, 2006

Paul Casey


STEWART McDOUGALL: Ladies and gentlemen, Paul Casey in for an interview.

You've already won twice in the '06 season. Is it going to be three times with The Open Championship?

PAUL CASEY: You know I'd love to win a major at some stage in my career. I'd love for it to be an Open Championship. I think the goal this week is to, once again, enjoy myself, try to get myself in contention if I can on the weekend and hit the ball straight down the middle. If I can do that, then I think I've got the game right now. I've been playing some good golf recently, and we can just have a little fun this weekend.

Q. You've proved how seriously you were taking this week by missing out on Loch Lomond, which is one of your favorite courses, to practice here early. Can you tell us your reasoning behind doing that?

PAUL CASEY: Yeah, I made a decision just before the European at the K Club. I talked to Peter Kostis and we decided that I really needed a tune up. I've played a lot of golf recently, and I think Ireland there was some evidence there of a little bit of fatigue, let's say, with the swing. And I didn't play a great round of golf on Sunday, battled under the conditions.

We decided not to play, which is a shame, because I love Loch Lomond. It's a nice, long golf course, and I think it really suits me. So a little frustrating watching those guys play there, wonderful week there, too. But I decided to work on the game with Peter, he flew over. And we spent four very long days working on the game, including a day here, Wednesday.

We drove up and had a look at the golf course and played around. I think that was worthwhile. So it was key to sort of get some work done for this week, but also it was work that needed to be done for the weeks coming, as well. It was just something, it was time to get a tune up.

Q. Is he still here?

PAUL CASEY: No, he went back, he did commentary last week.

Q. You've put yourself in contention for the last two or three months. Are you disappointed with the number of wins you've come away with?

PAUL CASEY: No, I think I've been very happy with my play. The goals I set myself earlier in the year, I managed to achieve a couple of those, and the first goal really was to get back in the top 50, make sure I could get into the U.S. Open, and I did that. Although you're right, it wasn't done in style, but I did play some solid golf.

And every week I've sort of set myself the goal of trying to get in contention and build up Ryder Cup points, things like that. And I'm not disappointed with only two wins so far this year and one win this calendar year. Some may look at it that way. I'm trying to take the positives out of it.

It's very new for me to be in contention each week; that hasn't been my style in the past. I've had more poor rounds with some good rounds. I'm trying to play more consistent golf, and trying to learn from the experience of being in contention week after week. It's a nice feeling, and hopefully I can figure out how to win them, as well.

Q. You mentioned Loch Lomond suiting you to a long track. What do you think of the requirements a winner is going to need around here this week from having played here?

PAUL CASEY: I think it's a tee shot golf course. I think it's getting it in play off the tee. The fairways are fair, they're very flat in the landing areas, so anybody who can really just control the golf ball in the wind, get the ball on the right conditions on the fairways has a very good chance of getting close to the pin or just even the middle of the greens will give you a pretty good birdie putt on most of these greens around here.

I would say somebody who is a straight ball hitter, somebody who hits the ball low, somebody like a Montgomerie is really a sort of an ideal choice for a golf course like this. My goals for the week are really to play like Colin would, keep the ball low and keep it in play. If I can do that I think I'll have a chance.

Q. We all know about the statistics to win a major. Is a course like this going to help, favor European players this week?

PAUL CASEY: I don't know. I'm not actually too sure what favors a European player anymore. We play all over the world now, so guys are used to playing in any types of condition, any type of golf course. I think the only thing that goes, maybe increases the odds is the fact that we've got a lot of good young players, and the old guys haven't really gone anywhere, either; like a Monty, just a few weeks ago challenging at Winged Foot. Those guys are still hanging around. And I think they may have a few majors left in them left, like the Montys and the Harringtons, et cetera. But the younger guys, like myself and obviously David and Luke would be my top two picks from the younger guys. They've been playing some spectacular golf, better golf than I have over the past few years. And I think it's only a matter of time, with a bit of luck. It was Paul Lawrie last time, wasn't it?

Q. Does this week have a bit of a different feel, just because Tiger has played so little, and we haven't heard very much this year from the likes of Ernie Els and Vijay Singh? Does it have a different feel for the people playing?

PAUL CASEY: It hasn't been about the Big Four or Five or whatever the number is, the Big Few. Yeah, I think maybe there is a feeling that there's an opportunity for some of the other guys to sneak up and come in under the radar, because those guys haven't been talked about as much. They're still the ones to beat, as far as I'm concerned.

Phil is very, very keen. We've heard all about his practice leading up to this week. You've still got to fear Tiger and Ernie, and Furyk would be a great, great call for this week. I really respect his game; I think he's a phenomenal player.

But, yeah, I think guys are really it has been quiet, you're right. Maybe it's time for a European winner.

Q. Talking about this time two years ago, two years ago you led at Royal Troon. How much a better player, better able to keep that sort of thing going, are you now than then? And also, how glad are you just to be here in contention after what you went through the terrible time you went through last year?

PAUL CASEY: Firstly, yeah, I think I am a better player than I was at Royal Troon a couple of years ago. I think the first round I had a 66, it was very strong, and I didn't back it up the rest of the week. But it was a good performance. I learnt a lot that week. And I think the game is a lot more solid.

I feel like I've raised it up just another notch, not as high up as I feel like I can eventually get. But for now it's getting a lot better. And I think I put that just down to hard work. The swing is a lot better than it used to be, so the poor shots I hit are not as bad, basically. And where I was sort of 12 months ago, yeah, I was still battling; there was no confidence there.

I had a lot of fun at St. Andrews. I played with Norman and Jacklin and had a great time. But the game wasn't I wasn't very confident, I wasn't really enjoying it because of that. So it feels great to be here and in rather good form.

Q. You even said at one stage that you were wary of the galleries. You told me at Wentworth that you were so unsure

PAUL CASEY: They asked me that two weeks ago in Ireland. Yeah, you know, that kind of went through the mind on occasions. You don't want to hurt someone out there. That's a horrible feeling, not knowing where the golf ball is going to go. So I don't have to worry about that too much. This is a tough golf course, and it's going to be tough to get it in play. But the smile is back on my face.

Q. How important is it with regard to the Ryder Cup in mind that the European players this week lay down a bit of a marker?

PAUL CASEY: I haven't really thought about it. I'm just trying to take every week as it comes. It's tough to answer that one. I thought that they put in a pretty good performance at the U.S. Open, a lot of European players up there, a lot of international players, as well.

I don't think that's important. I don't think there's sort of any match there, that anything should be read into sort of the results, how many Europeans are up on the leaderboard compared to anybody else. It's just these guys are individuals this week. This is all about somebody trying to win a major championship, an Open Championship.

Q. Is there a feeling in the locker room after what Monty did at the last major that he can get it back and win a major?

PAUL CASEY: Yeah, I still think there's that feeling.

Q. Has it changed perceptually?

PAUL CASEY: The perception of him?

Q. Yes, since his play at Winged Foot.

PAUL CASEY: It's just that he's back I think is the perception. He's still got great golf left in him. He's got the bounce back in his step, as well. I'm sure he's very, very hungry. Ask him.

STEWART McDOUGALL: Thanks very much.

End of FastScripts.

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