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June 16, 2007

Paul Casey


Q. Solid round, tough course, tough setup, and depending on what Aaron does you may well be tied for second place; your thoughts?
PAUL CASEY: Very excited. I started off today really well. I didn't find as many fairways as I did yesterday, which is why the score was a couple over, but it was great. A lot of support out there, people when I got to 2-under wishing me on for a 63, which was never going to happen around there, but it was a nice thought.
I'm excited going into tomorrow. I've kept it going, and I did make bogeys and bounced back with birdies here and there, and that's what I'm excited about, I managed to make birdies on a tough golf course.
If I can hole putts tomorrow near the end, I can give myself a chance.

Q. Do you try and make birdies on a course like this?
PAUL CASEY: You have to put it in a good position off the tee. And on 14, after making a poor error on 13, I picked the wrong club on 13 and got past the pin, which you can't do, and I had no opportunity of getting it close.
With a wonderful tee shot on 14 I had the perfect yardage and I went for it. So you can try and make birdies, you've just got to be aware of the consequences if you don't pull off the shot.

Q. In a tournament when you had a round like yesterday, how difficult is it to keep your emotions in check the next day?
PAUL CASEY: There is a lot written about that; that it's difficult to follow up a low round, and I don't understand that. If a guy shot a low round, why can't he do it the following day? He's clearly playing good golf, and if he continues to produce more of the same, then he should go low again. I don't think I'm a player who has the capability of going low, so I don't see it as a block. When I go low I want to get even lower than I was on the previous hole.
So nothing wrong with the way I started today. I was excited. If I could have shot another 66, I would have tried. I was trying. I wanted to. So no issues there. I was trying my best and I'm happy to still be in this golf event right there.

Q. The birdie on 4, were you thinking it was going to keep going, the round like yesterday?
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, but the course got me straightaway on No. 5. You know, then I birdied 7 again with a great putt down the hill.
You know, I was trying to stay in the present and think about today's round and try and keep it under par. I don't know how many under-par rounds we've had this week, but I think you can count them on one hand -- six now, sorry. Well, maybe there is somebody with six fingers. (Laughter.)

Q. What's your approach now tomorrow? Do you think about a number, or do you just think about playing your best golf?
PAUL CASEY: I'm going to think about fairways. If I put the ball in the fairway, I have a good way of playing this golf course and I can shoot a decent number. Stick it in the fairway, keep it simple, stick it in the green and let the putter do the rest.
If you're on the right side of the pin, maybe make a few putts. And if you're not, good luck. And I think react on the final nine as to where everybody is. Guys are still jostling for positions right now.

Q. Tiger in the mix, does that change anything? Do you go into it knowing he has so much experience in this position?
PAUL CASEY: It's Tiger. You know, he usually changes things, so I don't think guys can worry about it. They've just got to play their own games. That's what I'm going to do tomorrow.
If I'm paired with him tomorrow, that will be fantastic. I love playing with him. I feel I play well when I play with Tiger. If I'm not playing with him, we'll have monstrous crowds; if I'm just in front of him everybody will be waiting for him to come through and it will be exciting.
Whatever happens, I don't think guys are going to worry about him. They know Tiger is here for one thing, and that's to add another major to his record and get closer to Jack's record.

Q. The website. When you open it up it says "almost there"?
PAUL CASEY: Who wrote that? I'll have to have a word with my guy, right.

Q. I asked you on Friday if you were ready to contend and you answered with a question. You said, "Yeah, but the question is am I ready to win?" On Sundays, you've played on big stages, The Ryder Cup; what do you expect to have to manage from a nerves point of view?
PAUL CASEY: That's a good question, but I feel like I've played in enough big events now. I played against Tiger in The Ryder Cup; doesn't get much bigger than that. I've won large golf events. I haven't won a major, but winning a golf event whether it's a major or your local club championship is still winning the same event.
You're going to battle the same emotions. Now, they might be slightly larger, but you've got to challenge yourself, rise above it. So it's going to be fun. I've always played it down, but I would love to win tomorrow and I'm going to give it everything I've got.

Q. What's the primary challenge to closing out a golf tournament, the U.S. Open or anywhere?
PAUL CASEY: What's the final challenge?

Q. What's the primary challenge for you in closing out an event?
PAUL CASEY: I've never really thought about it, so I'm not going to start to think about it now. (Laughter.)

Q. You struggled with the tee shot on 18 --
PAUL CASEY: I love the tee shot on 18, that was probably the best drive of the day. I had a 9-iron in. It's a challenging hole but it fits the eye very well. I did actually think about it, I said, "What's this going to be like tomorrow?"
Still going to be the same tee shot, just a few more people around the tee. But I like it. I like the whole golf course. It sets up very well for me, so I'm excited to get out there tomorrow morning or afternoon.

Q. Yesterday's round, fabulous; today's round; tomorrow's round, how will you filter that information?
PAUL CASEY: I'm taking all the positives out the past three days, wasn't much the first day, but the thing I'm really excited about, I've made birdies around this golf course. Okay, none the first day, but five yesterday and I don't know how many today, probably four or something like that. That's quite a lot. For a golf course as difficult as this, that's quite a lot. I know I can play it. I've got to do the same. And the way I've done that is hitting straight tee shots, and I've got to take the positives. So I'm going to think of all the good tee shots I've hit over the past few days and try and reproduce them tomorrow.

Q. Can you draw on the success yesterday as a source of confidence going in to tomorrow? We all like to draw on past successes as confidence boosters; is that one for you?
PAUL CASEY: Without a doubt, which is how do you follow up a low round, it's always difficult; I don't understand that. The support I got today was phenomenal, everybody shouting "Great 66", "go lower today" whatever it might have been. There was tons of that, and I'm probably going to get more of it tomorrow.
So it's nice to know I'm the guy that shot 66 and it's nice to have the support, and long may it continue.

Q. Do you like that?
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, yeah.

Q. It's been a long time since a European has won the U.S. Open. What would that mean to you?
PAUL CASEY: I think it's been a long time since a European has won any major, let alone a U.S. Open, which was, what, Tony Jacklin at Hazeltine. What would it mean? It would mean the world. It would mean everything.
I think whoever is the first European to win a major, I'd like to be that guy tomorrow, I think the floodgates will open, because there is enough talent and guys have been working hard enough. And you've seen the international number of players increase over the past few years.
The British press and especially the European press are gagging for it; they can't wait. So hopefully we can pull it off tomorrow.

Q. You guys have had success in the team competitions, and it's still individual even though it's team because you're playing against other people; it's just a matter of time, don't you think?
PAUL CASEY: It's just a matter of time, but we need to speed it up a bit because it's been too long. Paul Lawrie played a fantastic round at Carnoustie, and it's sad that he was the last European to win a major, because we have a nice talented group right now.
Justin is up on the leaderboard right now, and a few other guys. But there have been too many good Europeans in the past few years who probably deserved a major, Harrington and Clarke and Westwood, Monty, of course, and Thomas has been burnt a couple of times. That's a shame. So I still think those guys are capable of winning majors, but there is a lot of young guys here who can put that right, hopefully.

Q. What would be your favorite?
PAUL CASEY: The one I would really want to win is the Open Championship. The one that suits my game the best is the Masters. The one that least suits my game is the U.S. Open but I've got a chance. (Laughter.) I'm excited.

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