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March 16, 2007

Paul Casey


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Paul Casey thanks for joining us here. Even-par round of 70 today after a 64 yesterday. Difficult to follow up a 64?
PAUL CASEY: It shouldn't be but yes, for some reason it's always difficult to shoot -- sorry take my foot out of my mouth, to follow up a low round like that.
But I'm very happy with a round of 70, and I got to 8-under par with a couple of birdies early on. I handed it back shortly afterwards. But it was a tough golf course, and the rain had made some aspects slightly easier, obviously softer greens, and it made the rough a lot thicker. So with the wind picking up, I'm actually very, very happy with a level-par round.

Q. How much experience did you have with the rough today; a few visits?
PAUL CASEY: Yes. (Smiling) Wasn't kind to me. But then again, it was kind to me yesterday. So it's probably evened itself out now.
But whenever I was in the rough, I just made sure I got back out on the fairway. You know, bogeys are not going to hurt you necessarily around here. This is a tough setup. I was close to making a bit of a mess of it on the fourth hole. Got stuck in the rough there. Failed to get out of the rough completely with the second shot, so had to play my third shot from still in the rough, and had a good 2-putt from about 45 feet which saved a bogey.
So, yeah, for that exception, I mean, the rest of it was pretty good. I controlled the golf ball well.

Q. Do you feel going into the weekend, it's mission accomplished, going into contention, would that have been the goal before the start of the tournament?
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, definitely, the goal this week was always is to put myself in the mix of things and hopefully have a chance on Sunday afternoon.
So I'm very happily placed. It was a fun two days playing with Rocco. We had a laugh out there and very happy to see him play some really good golf today. We'll see whether he's still leading at the end of the day, but I think he deserves to with the golf he played.

Q. What was the effect of the rain, harder rough and slower greens?
PAUL CASEY: Slightly slower greens, but it also made the greens so soft that it was difficult to control the spin on the ball. I found on a couple of occasions, especially into the wind, trying to hit wedges or shorter shots, you really had to try and take the spin off the ball or throw it past the flag, which was very, very difficult.
Softer greens is great if you've got long irons in the hand. But obviously it's a disadvantage if you've got shorter irons in the hand as we found out today.

Q. What aspects of this course and next week at Doral are most beneficial to helping you prepare for the Masters; or more than the course, is it just being in a couple of elite fields that might prepare you better than any playing aspect or course characteristics?
PAUL CASEY: I think you're correct with the second point. The elite field is without a doubt, just the competition is the thing that prepares you the best. And also for me, the quick greens. Augusta doesn't have grain like these, as much grain as these do, but these greens are still pretty slick if you get in the wrong position. And Augusta's will be even slicker.
So the greens I've played in the international events I've played so far this year on the European schedule, have not been as quick as this. It's just different grasses. Augusta is not going to have the thick rough like -- I hope not -- that we've got this week. But I think it's just sharpening up the game. I think that's the biggest benefit from coming and playing this week and next week.

Q. As a follow, when you had THE PLAYERS close to the Masters, did those greens help or hurt because they were that overseeded bent or overseeded rye, did they help or hurt, or did it matter?
PAUL CASEY: I never mind what the playing surface is as long, as it's good and you can roll the ball on it, which you can this week. I think they are very good. I'm not worrying too much about the grain. I'm picking a line, trying to execute the putt and it's staying pretty much on line all the way with a bit of luck.
No, I'm not going to worry if I'm going to play on bermudagreens one week and then bent the next. I just want to play on good surfaces and that's exactly what we've got here this week.

Q. Just wondering if you can expound a little more on playing with Rocco since he is leading the pack right now. Some guys have suffered hearing loss after playing with that guy because it just never stops.
PAUL CASEY: I don't know who is worse, Rocco or his caddie, Martin. (Laughter).

Q. Really?
PAUL CASEY: The banter between those two was highly entertaining.
You know, I like to chat on the golf course, so it was a great mix. I just spent most of the day just a couple of paces back listening to those two. Martin was giving Rocco a hard time because he's -- after Rocco spent a couple of weeks in the commentary booth, he was like, "You're not a bad player for a commentator." It kind of went like that all day long.
It was fun and guys are always going to be chatty when they are playing well anyway, so it was the best of both worlds.

Q. How is this rough here? How do you rate it compared to a U.S. Open or a regular TOUR event?
PAUL CASEY: It depends which past of rough you tend to find out here. The thick bits are the thickest rough you'll ever see, but there are a couple of patches you can get away with it.
And then getting consistency in the rough is very, very difficult. They have got close here to being consistent but yeah, I don't think I'll see any tougher rough than this all year long. Or I hope not, we'll see.

Q. You look at the numbers, 64-70, six shots sounds like a lot of shots. Was it six shots harder today, or four shots harder and you were two shots worse?
PAUL CASEY: It was a couple of shots harder I think. It's difficult to putt a number on it. Pin placements play a big role as well. It's difficult to say. Some guys are going to shoot a better round of golf today even in these conditions. I think the wind added a couple of shots.
But I'm still happy with that round of golf because yesterday was blemish-free and I made a few mistakes today. I would be very surprised if I ever manage to play a golf event without making a mistake, and the key was I didn't make big mistakes and I kept myself in it. I can't win it today but I can certainly shoot myself in the foot. I'm just happy that I'm not that far behind right now.

Q. You mentioned the banter between Rocco and his caddie; who is the noisiest player you've ever played with in tournament golf?
PAUL CASEY: That's a good question, I'm not sure. Fuzzy is up there, but I haven't played with him in tournament golf. And I would love to have played with Lee Trevino. Gary McCord is not far off but then again, I haven't played with him in competition either.
For me it tends to be the more, shall I say, the more senior players. I think they are more entertaining. They have a lot more stories. And that also used to be part of the game.
So, you know, there's very little banter nowadays.

Q. Big business, man.
PAUL CASEY: It is business. But I like playing with those, shall I say, the more senior guys, the older guys, because it's just fun. I think if you're able to play with the banter going on, then it puts you in good standing for anything.

Q. Do you find it relaxing in a way?
PAUL CASEY: I find it quite relaxing, yeah. I just like the humor in it. And it's all very good-natured. I mean, I know it used to be maybe slightly different, especially guys like Trevino. (Greg) Norman, when I asked him in Dubai who was the toughest players to play against, he listed Trevino as one of those tough guys because of the banter, and Crenshaw I think was up there and other guys like that. They were just -- and that aspect of the game is no more. It's very businesslike.
Today, the last two days have been quite refreshing.

Q. When you're playing with somebody, when there's no banter, is there a danger that you get too wrapped up in what you're doing?
PAUL CASEY: I think so, yeah. You know, for the amount of time we actually concentrate for in four and a half hours, it's probably very small. But the chatting, the banter allows to you take your mind off the shots at hand, and I have no problem with switching back on and concentrating for the yardage and the shot and then switching back off again.
Other guys probably don't like that, but I do. Yeah, when playing with guys who like to have a chat and tell jokes, it usually helps my game. That's why you usually find me talking to players who don't talk much, I'll probably talk to them anyway. Not sure if they are listening.

Q. Is there somebody in your age group, your generation, who is anywhere close to like a Rocco in the making?
PAUL CASEY: I hope so. I don't know who it is. We need characters out here. There's a lot of guys who are extremely funny but they tend not to show it like some of the senior guys. You get someone -- I can't speak for a lot of the American guys because I don't know them that well. But guys like David Howell. Extremely funny, very dry, but you've got to get David in the right situation. Hopefully those characters will develop because it would be a shame for it to die out.

Q. People say Retief is hilarious; is that true?
PAUL CASEY: Can be. But doesn't say boo to a ghost, does he, normally. (Laughter).

Q. Do you think that gets back to the business aspect of it?
PAUL CASEY: There's certainly a fine line. You don't want to feel that you're putting off the guys you're playing against nowadays. The guys are very respectful. They stay out of each other's way. And I mean, I don't know how Jeev (Milkha Singh) was the last two days. Maybe we ruined him, I don't know. I never thought about that.

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