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January 17, 2007

Paul Casey


PAUL CASEY: Only three week break since Tiger's event. I went to Jackson Hole in Wyoming for a week's skiing with Jocelyn and a couple of friends. First time there. It was great. First time I've relaxed for a long time. Unfortunately it only lasted a week and I went back to Scottsdale to work on my game. I played in a Pro-Am thing and a lot of time in the gym and on the range. Here we are again.

Q. Occupational hazard if you are high in the rankings?
PAUL CASEY: It's a nice problem to have. Even when I had the week off skiing I was still working out. 2006 was a great year and I worked hard last winter and I needed to do the same to get another good year this year. Maybe a victim of my own success.

Q. Ambitions?
PAUL CASEY: Order of Merit is back on there. I have written them out. There are lots of goals and I wouldn't say them all. The majors - I am back in all four again. The goal this year is to get in contention again in the majors and that means more hard work, but if I can improve on 06 I will be very happy.

Q. Do you do more than the rest when on holiday?
PAUL CASEY: I don't know what the rest do! I tend not to use the Physio Van for workouts. They are brilliant for advice and stretching or massage but I tend to work out outside the Red Bull van. I would like to think I do more than most. I have to, to stay ahead of them. I work out for a number of seasons, to stay fit and mentally fresh. One leads to the other. The body is allowing me to get the swing in the right position and I hope that leads to consistency.
You only have to look at Tiger. I got a close up playing in his event recently and he's not only fit, but he's also 'Mr Bendy'. He's strong, big chest, big legs, small waist - an inspiration to the rest of us. There is a lot of mystery behind what Tiger does, but I think it's a lot of hard work. He is naturally gifted. Nature was good to him but he works on his fitness. He runs a lot and lifts a lot of weights. I don't necessarily think what he does in the gym could apply to me. I would be better or worse, but I would like to know! I like my sleep. I have no desire to get up too early, but I work our four or five days a week. I do some strength building exercises and the rest is cardio. When I went skiing I still worked out, about 90 minutes at a time. You can overtrain.

Q. Have you got over missing out on the Order of Merit?
PAUL CASEY: Yes and no. I was very disappointed at missing out on the Order of Merit but it was out of my control at the end. I told myself that Padraig, not anyone else. If anything I cost myself the Order of Merit by not playing the golf I wanted to play at Valderrama. Padraig played some stellar golf down the stretch at Valderrama and the up and down at 17and 18 were fantastic. He knew what he had to do at the end of the year and he did it.
Hats off to him. We are all good friends and Padraig bought me a drink at the airport recently when we met up. I had a wonderful year and accomplished many of my goals. The Order of merit was one of my big goals and to almost achieve it was tough.

Q. At Valderrama how did you feel on the course when you were ill?
PAUL CASEY: I wouldn't have played in any other circumstances. I wouldn't say I was embarrassed. There was nothing I could do about it. Lucky I waited until I got to the hotel room before I was sick. I just tried to stay out of Padraig's way. The rest of the week, although it didn't work out the way I wanted, was good. I worked hard to push Padraig all the way and I did that. I felt happy that I managed to do that. You would go crazy if you looked at how much every missed putt would cost you. You have to look at what you won or nearly won.

Q. How do you top it in 2007?
PAUL CASEY: By winning the Order of Merit. It's back on the list, but not the only goal on the sheet - getting into contention and challenging myself to win a major. Luke has said publicly he is ready to win majors, and the golf I played in 2006, there is no reason why I can't win one.

Q. The Masters?
PAUL CASEY: I think it fits my game the best of the four majors. It's longer and tougher. I have the high ball flight and I've worked on my short game. You need to have it all around Augusta...and confidence. You that need, too. Augusts tests your confidence. It's about producing great glf shots but you have to be courageous. It tests your patience and ability. They are cunning, sneaky. A lot of people are frustrated before they start.

Q. Taking on Tiger?
PAUL CASEY: He was probably at his best in 2000 when I wasn't a pro, but it's always tough to compete against him. His approach is the same every single week, that's what makes him so tough. He turns up to win. He's incredibly focussed.
The thing that gets me is he makes the putts he need. I felt at Sherwood I matched him tee to green but he killed me on the greens. I couldn't sniff it. He got the ball in the hole. I found the greens tough to read and he slotted in 30 footers routinely. It's just the intensity. I think the golf I played at the HSBC and Ryder Cup had a different intensity and I have to figure out why. Why was I more intense those two weeks? I wasn't trying any harder or less, but in certain occasions I made clutch putts to save a half point. I had an intensity about me that allowed me to make them. I think Tiger had the intensity to switch that on at will. I have to figure out the key

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