September 22, 2006
SCOTT CROCKETT: Paul, Robert, thank you very much for coming down to join us as always. They say match play is a roller coaster event and it certainly was for you to today, ending in a halve. Paul, maybe give us your thoughts on the match today. Certainly exciting for those of us watching. What was it like to play in it?
PAUL CASEY: It was a fun match to play in. J.J. and Stewart are very tough competitors. They came back at us when we got to 3 up at one stage. J.J. and Stewart both played fantastic golf I felt. And I think maybe a little bit fortunate in the end to walk away with half a point and on the other hand frustrated that we were 3 up at one point and didn't get a full point.
So any way you look at it, it was a great match and probably best the way it turned out I think.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Robert, your first experience, we've been talking a lot about it. What was it like for you?
ROBERT KARLSSON: The feeling when you walk up on the first tee is unbelievable, really, really emotional, but got the first tee shot out of the way anyway, even though it was in the rough.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Did the nerves go off after that?
ROBERT KARLSSON: A little bit. It was a bit tense at the end, as well, when we were really close, but I was surprised how good it felt out there the whole way around, so it was good. I really enjoyed it.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Gentlemen, thanks for those opening comments.
Q. Can you describe the swing of emotions on 16 and what that hole did for your day?
PAUL CASEY: Well, it clearly brightened my day. I struggled a little bit out there and Robert played some great golf to carry me most of the way around.
Having a 3 up lead and then before you know it, 1 down going up 16, and I hit the poorest of the four tee shots in the left hand rough; to end up winning the whole was quite remarkable. If anything, I got a fortunate break after my second shot. I played my second shot to the right hand rough, and I don't know if it was media or whoever, they were walking through the right hand rough, trod on the ball and so I had to redrop the ball in the rough. I don't know how it was lying originally, but I had a good lie in the rough so I felt that was a good break.
To be honest, I thought that putt was for the halve. J.J. let me off the hook, he hit a wonderful golf shot with kind of a baffler. I think he got unlucky, he really did. As I said before, I think maybe that was a fair result at the end, a halve, because it was a wonderful match.
Q. Wouldn't have been unnatural after the amazing way you played last weekend to have a little bit of a letdown from it. How hard has it been to sort of get yourself backup again this week?
PAUL CASEY: It's not exactly hard to get yourself up for this. The first tee this morning was just fantastic. We were a little late arriving on the tee, only just made it on time. Just a wonderful reception.
You know, I thought about what the reception would be for quite a while, really since after the last Ryder Cup thinking about wanting to be at The K Club, and here we are.
It was everything and more this morning. It was just, the fans all the way around, just a great feel today.
Q. Having played 18 holes, do you find that it was absolutely necessary to do the lift, clean and place?
ROBERT KARLSSON: I think it was, yeah. The ball was picking up quite a bit of mud, especially on hole 16. I had a 5 wood with a lump of mud on it, and especially if it starts raining like this now, if it was doing that during the four balls, it becomes very unfair. It's nothing you really want, but if you're going to try to make it as fair as possible, that's the way to do it.
PAUL CASEY: Robert's right. Keeps it fair. If you hit it in the fairway, you're rewarded with a decent lie. And the ball was picking up mud on numerous occasions.
We don't like playing it. If we can get away not playing it, we'd rather not, but it's too wet out there.
Q. Can you talk about the 7th hole where you hit the guy in the TV camera tower, please?
ROBERT KARLSSON: Yeah, they said the hole played really, really long and both Paul and I it was actually a perfect 6 iron. The Americans are talking about how hard the greens were, try to stop it on the TV tower, so that's something good. (Laughter).
But then I got a good drop, and there was another one of those that really went away from them. J.J. was walking off the back of the green with a win, as well. It was a match play day of a fantastic win on the hole there and a fantastic win on 16. Those sort of things happen.
Q. You said you were nearly late on the first tee, about 30 seconds to spare. Was there a reason why you were nearly late?
PAUL CASEY: (Laughing) Well, we were just hanging out on the putting green, having a good time. Woosie actually suggested that it would be nice if we walked on last onto the tee. And I think Stewart and J.J. may have also had that idea, so we were all kind of hanging around the putting green chatting and suddenly realised we had just under two minutes to get from the putting green to the first tee. So it wasn't really didn't design it that way, but that's the way it turned out. It was good timing in the end.
Q. At one point your side was up big and there was a big swing to the American side, and then it ended up you guys 2½ 1½ for the morning. Are you pleased with how it all came about? It looked like it could have been a lot worse with just a few holes to go.
PAUL CASEY: A lot worse for the Europeans?
PAUL CASEY: I haven't spoken to the rest of the guys really but I think we have to be happy with 2½ points after the morning session. Even the top match, although they lost, they came back well and fought it back down to the end there.
It's a good start. I mean, typically in the Ryder Cups I remember, the Europeans have done pretty well in the first couple of days.
It's so close, though. You look at it, we weren't sure which way it was going to go looking at the pairings last night and again looking at the pairings this afternoon. It's very, very difficult to tell, and I think we're lucky to just be sneaking ahead now.
Q. Having made it to the first tee, was it a more or less demanding experience, given what you've heard about the Ryder Cup, to make a decent swing?
ROBERT KARLSSON: Actually a little bit less, because I was very well warned last night. So I was very prepared for it. But it was definitely difficult. Luckily there was a bit of room to the left.
Q. Not too many of us know too much about J.J. Henry, and he played really well, considering, again, he's a rookie. Your thoughts on were you surprised how well he played today?
ROBERT KARLSSON: I played with him a couple of weeks back in the Deutsche Bank in America, and he's a solid player, good ball striker, good putter as well. In a situation like this, it's about whether you can handle nerves or not, and I think he did fairly well. He played really, really well in patches and a few weak shots, but he played good.
PAUL CASEY: I've known J.J. a while, I think he was at TCU if I'm correct, lives in Fort Worth now. I've always known he's a hell of a player. He's a good ball striker and hits the ball a very, very long way. No surprise today to see him being put out in the first in the second match today, and no surprise that he played some great golf.
Q. What advice did they give you about going to the first tee?
ROBERT KARLSSON: Be there on time. But we lost. (Laughter).
Q. Having been through one much these before, what in your mind is the significance of having all 12 guys out today?
PAUL CASEY: Well, we've only got two rookies on the team. Robert's now had his taste. Henrik is having his as we speak.
It's nice I think to get it out of the way. I sat out the first day two years ago, and although I think I was possibly glad to be sort of skipping that first tee experience in the morning, when it came around on Friday. It was almost even worse, because now I've seen the noise and the pressure and the excitement.
I think we've got a good team this year. I mean, there's a lot of depth on this team. We don't have, you know, the Top 3 in the World Rankings like you guys, but we've just got a nice, consistent team through the board there.
It's good to get all 12 guys out playing today and gives them a taste of what it's going to be like out there, see how the course is playing and I think Woosie is very lucky that he can mix and match.
Q. It's obviously been a very emotional week for Darren Clarke, and we saw some great scenes after his match today. If we could just get a word from both of you on Darren Clarke's performance.
ROBERT KARLSSON: I haven't seen him play, but the whole week, he's been really, really impressive. Going through what he's been through and being here, being such a big part of the team, he's really, really up for it. I'm very, very impressed, both the way he's playing and supporting the team and him as a person.
PAUL CASEY: Clarkey once again is playing a great role behind the scenes. He's one of the senior figures, shall we say, and was talking to a lot of the players yesterday about what the scenes were going to be on the first tee this morning and what to expect and how to handle it. And to see him play, I didn't see much, I saw him hole a putt on 14, birdie, something like that, or 13 maybe it was. It looked like he was playing great golf.
You know, he has been striking the ball very, very well this week and just had to hole a few putts and looks like what he's done today. Once again, he's sort of the rock on our team. It's been very emotional for him but we are all there for him, and I think he's having a cracking time so far. He's really appreciating all of the support he's getting, not only from the team but also from outside the ropes.
You know, with a bit of luck, he can go and continue to play great golf this week, and you know, who knows what happens on Sunday, but it's great to have him here.
Q. Could you just run through that eagle and what you guys were thinking at that stage in the match?
PAUL CASEY: Eagle on 4, good drive off the tee, but it left what was nice was it left me on a flat spot on the fairway; very few flat spots on that fourth fairway. I got kind of the take off ramp there and allowed me to hit a 3 wood from 261 yards and finish about five feet from the hole. I've never hit it that close on that hole before playing in tournaments, very, very lucky. The guys knocked it close to make birdie, which I expected. You know, it was the biggest roar we had had so far during the day.
You know, it was hairs on the back of the neck stood up and it was on to the next tee. It was fantastic.
Q. Were you guys aware that Tiger had dunked his first shot right off the bat? Does that buoy your spirits at all?
PAUL CASEY: Well, it's his first short of the day, first shot of the 2006 Ryder Cup. You know, it shows he's human and it shows he's also nervous. I mean, that's very un Tiger like.
I was just happy to make contact with mine and get it somewhere on grass. I think it just sort of doesn't really lift you, but just shows you that he is human, and everybody out there is just trying as hard as they can and everybody's nervous.
Q. Did you see it?
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, I saw it on TV.
ROBERT KARLSSON: So did I. For me it was actually quite nice. It actually lifted a bit of pressure; if he can do that, it's not too bad.
Q. The birdie you made on the third, how much did it mean to your momentum today?
ROBERT KARLSSON: It was nice. On the third when it was our turn to play, we decided I was going to go first and I knocked it in. That's always nice to get one early on. So it was good, and we played the front nine especially very well; I was playing good and Paul on the opposite. Making those putts are nice, and the same one on 10 was important.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Thank you very much. You gave us great entertainment this morning, and good luck the rest of the week.
End of FastScripts.