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September 16, 2006
VIRGINIA WATERS, ENGLAND
SCOTT CROCKETT: Paul, thanks as always coming in to join us. Many congratulations. Another comprehensive victory, and going into the final, and a chance to be the first in your debut to win since Ernie Els in 1994.
PAUL CASEY: I'm very happy with that. I got Colin on a slightly off day. I think I was very, very fortunate. I don't know what it was, but it was just, that wasn't Colin at his best, simple as that. I did play some good golf at times, and I knew it was going to be a tough match, but he really let me off the hook.
SCOTT CROCKETT: You got up early on, that's what you always try to do in match play, and you just didn't let him back in, did you?
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, 5-up at lunchtime, you're just not too sure. I think the key after lunch is to get off to another good start, and I did that by winning a couple holes early on. He struck back; unfortunately I made an error on 7 and 5 or something.
SCOTT CROCKETT: You conceded on 8.
PAUL CASEY: 5 and 7, and he made a great birdie on 9, but still, you never know. I came close with a couple of birdies on 10, 11, and then fortunately the eagle dropped on 12.
Q. Great position now to do another blow to Monty if you could win tomorrow, top of the Order of Merit, you said quite a bit this year that that's now become one of the goals.
PAUL CASEY: Yeah.
Q. I mean, you couldn't ask for more going into tomorrow, could you?
PAUL CASEY: No, not at all. That is still is the goal for the remaining tournaments left so far this year. Obviously next week is very important, but yeah, you still didn't tell me how much it counts.
Q. 100,000. You go 120,0000 clear.
PAUL CASEY: Right. There you go. But there's still a lot to play for. The three events I play after this one are big money events, the AMEX, dunhill and Volvo Masters.
So it would be nice if I had a lead going into those because I think I'll need it. I'm sure that Mr. Howell, and maybe I'll be facing Robert tomorrow, or I'm not sure, but Robert is going to be up there and anybody else behind us.
Q. On the 12th, what was the length of that shot you hit in?
PAUL CASEY: 210 yards. I hit a 5-iron.
Q. Must be one of the best shots you've hit.
PAUL CASEY: Yes.
Q. Nothing away from your own game, but did you see any do you see signs of tightness or weariness in Monty?
PAUL CASEY: Well, he wasn't himself, golf-wise. I don't know what it was.
He certainly seemed to be missing shots to the right today, especially this morning, and I can hear him talking with Al, I wasn't sure what he was talking about, but possibly. I was tired this morning. I hit a couple of shots. I mean, evidence on the fourth hole this morning, try to play a cut shot in there and came over the top of it and the legs were just dead this morning. I think everybody's feeling it and that's going to play a big factor tomorrow, as well.
Q. When he walked off the 17th green --
PAUL CASEY: He said "let's go to 18" --
Q. It seemed like Alastair -- Monty walked off the green.
PAUL CASEY: I didn't have an issue with it. (Laughter) It's Colin. You've got to keep your ears open in case he says something. (Laughter).
Q. Monty talked about after the match about how your form shows how strong the squad is and he was saying to Woosie, we should use all the team we could next week because the players are getting tired and we don't want a lot of players playing all five days and being exhausted from the singles. Do you agree with that theory?
PAUL CASEY: I think we have got great depth on our team. I think we can create a lot of pairings within our team. I think anybody with play with anybody else. And I think you've just got to put out, I don't know, I'm not the captain. I don't know how I'd do it. I don't know how Woosie is going to do it.
But I do think we have depth, so I don't think there is a need to put guys out for all five matches necessarily. Guys will play if they are fit and they are keen and they should play, and if those are the best guys to be playing in the morning or the afternoon or whatever it is, then they will go out and play.
Q. How much fitter are you than two years ago, can you put a percentage on it?
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, I don't know how I'd put it. I don't know how I'd put a figure on it, but I am fitter.
Q. Considerably? Was it a concern?
PAUL CASEY: Do I show it? (Laughter).
Q. You talked about it a year ago.
PAUL CASEY: No, I think I just become very motivated in the last couple of years to work on that side of it, because it's certainly an element that, you know, it's very difficult to find things to work on sometimes when you sort of, we're talking just fractions here and there. You can say a quarter of a shot, a shot a round, it wins a tournament, and fitness was one of those things I could seriously improve.
Q. And the other question was: Is it fair to say that two years ago your main emotion going into Detroit was a bit of trepidation and this time it's excitement?
PAUL CASEY: I think that's fair to say, yeah. I didn't know what to expect last time out, and I absolutely loved it, so I can't wait to get to The K Club next week.
You know, it's going to be hard work, it's going to be stressful, moments when it's very, very tough out there. But such a great experience to play with the team. And I just know that, you know, the opening ceremony and standing on the first tee, whenever I get to stand on the first tee next week whether it's Thursday or Friday or Saturday, Sunday -- well, it won't be Thursday, will it? Maybe I could stand on the first tee Thursday. (Laughter).
Q. Well, considering we have a lot of depth on our team, I'd like to ask about this tournament, I'll ask about the other thing. I wanted to ask you about your driving today off the tee seemed to be quite good, how did that set you up for your whole game and especially in a format like this?
PAUL CASEY: I was asked yesterday whether it would be a big advantage hitting it past Monty.
Q. In play, though.
PAUL CASEY: In play, yeah.
Q. It's one thing to be past him.
PAUL CASEY: I drove it beautifully. Just I don't think I hit the ball that great into the -- the approach shots into the green, I didn't stick it very close most of the time. But just made it easier. It meant the misses were still on the green, as opposed to missing the green.
Q. Put a lot of pressure on him though, it seemed?
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, to see it going down the fairway every single time is frustrating when you're playing against somebody like that. Monty doesn't miss many, so if that in any way contributed to putting some pressure on him, then that's great.
Q. If asked next week, would you be enthusiastic personally from your stamina point of view playing five times?
PAUL CASEY: I'm there to play as many matches as I can. If I'm fit and healthy and I'm playing well, I'd love to play every match. But that all depends on pairings and how everybody else is playing. I think I'm fit enough to do it. You know, if I get some good rest early in the week, I certainly think I'm fit enough to do it.
Q. You've beaten two major champions and now Monty who was won eight Order of Merits, what does that make you think about yourself as a player, is this a huge confidence boost this week, and what will it mean if you go on and win it?
PAUL CASEY: It would be great if I went on and won. It would be by far the biggest win of my career. It shows me that what I've been working on in my game is paying off, and I've been trying desperately to chase guys like Luke and David because they really moved up a level, and I see those guys, obviously they are my friends and are in the same sort of age group, those are the guys I've got to try and chase. Those are the guys I've got to pay attention to. Both those guys have played tremendous golf over the past couple of years, and I've been working hard at it, so hopefully this is just a sign if I'm getting nearer to their level.
Q. And of course it would make you a slightly different figure going into next week, if you were to go in as the World Match Play Champion?
PAUL CASEY: It would be nice.
Q. It would give you a slightly different aura, wouldn't it?
PAUL CASEY: I think my match play record as an amateur was fairly strong. I haven't necessarily -- I don't have the best record as a professional in match play. I think I've not made it past the first round at he Match Play in the States, the Accenture, which is another great achievement.
Q. Neither has Ernie. In how many attempts?
PAUL CASEY: (Raising four fingers.)
Q. That wasn't two.
PAUL CASEY: Last time around at the Ryder Cup, I got one point, a couple of matches. So, yeah, this is just nice to know that I'm really enjoying match play, it's a brilliant form of competition and I'm glad to see that I can still win.
Q. In the past you've said that when you get the flow of the course, obviously this week, is it a lot easier in that respect when you are playing match play or is it --
PAUL CASEY: It plays slightly different, though, to when we play here in May. For one, the greens are better, the whole condition of the course is better. We've had a summer of very warm weather and rain. So it's lush, the grass has grown, and limited field, all four guys on the golf course today. The greens are in perfect shape. So that helps tremendously.
I think the changes Ernie made have helped me, visually, and visually to sort of see where to position the golf ball on the fairways. And maybe I've just figured out how to play this place.
Q. Do you think looking back at the last Ryder Cup that playing Tiger Woods in the singles got to you, or do you think you just played badly?
PAUL CASEY: No, we both kind of scrambled around a bit. He scrambled a bit better than I did. I think I was sort of level or something like that and I lost three and two.
What was the question?
Q. Was it more than you expected playing him, putting yourself forward?
PAUL CASEY: Well, there's always that story that I put myself forward.
Q. Is it not true?
PAUL CASEY: (Laughter) Would you volunteer to play Tiger?
Q. What happened?
PAUL CASEY: It was Saturday afternoon, sitting on the captain's buggy with Herr Langer and Mr. Clarke, and Bernhard said, "I have a couple people in mind as to who I'd like to put out first, because I think they are going to putt Mr. Woods out number one."
And he turned and looked at both of us to which Darren leaned across to me, patted me on the back, said, "Paul, you'll be fantastic." (Laughter) Thank you, Darren. It was just typical Clarkey way of sort of trying to -- he was.
Q. Get out of playing Tiger.
PAUL CASEY: No, he was trying to give me confidence and he thought I was up for the task I guess.
Q. Shows what he knows.
PAUL CASEY: (Laughter).
Q. What was your response?
PAUL CASEY: What can you do? Can't refuse either of those guys.
Q. Would you do it again?
PAUL CASEY: Maybe not the same fashion as that.
Q. You're playing for a million pounds tomorrow, and next week you're playing for pride of the nation and country, can you compare the two in any way?
PAUL CASEY: Well, I've never had the opportunity to play for that much money before, so that's, I don't know whether that will play on the mind tomorrow or not. I guess I can start thinking about it. Where else can we win a million pounds? Unless we get on 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.' And I can't answer those questions, so this is the best opportunity I've got.
Q. Which do you want to win more? (Groans ensue from audience.)
PAUL CASEY: I think I'm not greedy and I hope to play this game for a very long time, so I think I'd have to take the team win next week. Was that diplomactic?
Q. You've had three big wins this week, what would you say are the key aspects to your game that set you apart?
PAUL CASEY: I've holed a lot of key or crucial putts at the right time, a few par saves which are really, sometimes, you know, that's better than knocking it 330 yards down the fairway.
I think, for example, the par I made on the first this morning won me the second hole. I don't think Colin expected a 4 there, a bad tee shot, a bad second shot, and to walk away with 4, I think that's really been the key this week. I've stuck it out when I've hit poor shots and figured out a way of getting it into the hole and not trying to give my opponents anything if possible.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Paul, well done.
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