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June 20, 2007
KLAUS WAESCHLE: Welcome to the BMW International Open 2007 for the first time here in the interview area. I hope you are enjoying the new facility here, and we are proud to welcome for the first interview Paul Casey. I hope you're not too tired from the Pro-Am round, and maybe you'll tell us just a few words about that.
PAUL CASEY: Your new media facility is very interesting -- (laughter).
KLAUS WAESCHLE: More about the round.
PAUL CASEY: Very excited to be back here. You know, I've had a good record at the BMW International Open, a few Top 10's. I obviously don't have a win yet in any BMW event, so I would like to change that statistic.
So it's nice to be here. I thought this was going to be a fairly relaxing, low-scoring week, but you seem to have adopted the U.S. Open rough policy; there's a lot of it this week. (Laughter).
No, it's good. It's another good field here and excited about tomorrow.
Q. You say it's hot out there, but it's been a weary few days, hasn't it?
PAUL CASEY: I'm actually very tired. Anyway, the majors are quite an experience. They have all been very draining. When you play well, they seem to be more draining, and the U.S. Open I think is the most draining of the bunch. Especially the way I played last week, birdies and bogeys, it's bound to take its toll on anybody.
But yeah, I mean, last couple of days, I've played the Pro-Am today and I played a nine hole Pro-Am yesterday, which we won which was very good, my junior partner, he won a bicycle; brilliant. But I am tired. And it would be nice to catch up on some sleep and rest. So might be running on fumes this week, but I think I can get by.
Q. Talk us through Sunday, if you would.
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, it started off really well. I was nervous going in but I struck the ball really well the first few holes and gave myself a great opportunity on the first. The ball unfortunately came to rest and probably a combination of maybe a tentative stroke, but those greens tend to make you a little tentative anyway with the putter because putts will just get away from you.
And it jumped, but I hit a great tee shot on the second, 20 feet for eagle and managed to race that by, just trying to get it out of the rough. It got a little bit away from me. Missed the 8-footer. Bogey on 3 was unfortunate because of the lie in the trap.
I hit two great shots down 4. No more than 15 feet away from the flag in two and I walk off with a par. So to be honest I was scratching my head a little bit, 1-over through four. And then when I really -- not should have been, but I could have been 2-under or 3-under and I wasn't.
I think that was some bad luck on 6 and got stuck underneath the lip. I mean, I compounded it with one poor shot, but the way it was lying, the absolute best I was going to walk off with was a four, and five was probably what I should have walked off with. I made it into a six, but that was that. Then from there, you know, the opportunity I felt to win was gone which is disappointing.
Q. Not a course you could have chased it on?
PAUL CASEY: No. But I was very proud of the back nine, I shot because it would have been very easy to shoot in the 80s. At that point, I don't know where I was lying, but you know, I was way down the board and penultimate group thinking, finish wherever. The leaders were sort of 4- or 5-over, and I'm on 13-over in the penultimate group; isn't great. So to play the final nine in 33, that was really good. There's a lot of guys who have liked my finish, to finish with two birdies was really good. Drove me back into the Top-10 which I felt I deserved. I played good enough golf to finish Top-10, and it was a nice consolation prize.
But the highlight without a doubt was the 66. I take the positives out of last week, because I had always thought the U.S. Open was the major that suited my game the best, and I don't know where that 66 came from. It was just one of those rounds -- I did get a little bit flag-friendly sometimes. Probably one of those golf courses which rewarded players if they did go for the pin and that's what happened on the Friday round.
Q. I gather you had to arrange some caddie this week.
PAUL CASEY: I did. Craig and I have had a couple of breaks before, and last week is just -- both of us were tired. So we decided to have a break this week. We haven't discussed it any further. Simple as that.
Q. John is just somebody who happened to be around?
PAUL CASEY: He happened to be around; he's very lucky this week. I told him it's just for this week. He knows it just for this week.
Q. At the end of Sunday, did you come across Justin and sort of discuss how you both felt about the chance that went and so many positives?
PAUL CASEY: No, I didn't, I was trying to get ready to get on the plane and come here.
He's bound to be frustrated and disappointed, as am I. Yeah, I don't know. I'm just going to take the positives out of last week. But Cabrera played a hell of a round of golf and he really won that golf event.
Q. Does it help that it's a European Tour Member winning, even when it isn't a European?
PAUL CASEY: It's great for The European Tour. It's great for Cabrera. I think he deserves it. He played tremendous golf all week, and you know, he's a cool customer.
But I didn't win it, so to be honest, whether Angel wins it or Tiger wins it; but it is good for the Tour and he's a nice guy.
Q. Everybody is writing about this new generation of which you're a leading member, on the verge; can you talk about that, Justin and everyone, how close is this new era to really, really blossoming?
PAUL CASEY: It's blossoming. At this stage -- at this stage last year, I was not -- I probably wasn't comfortable admitting -- I really wasn't ready to win a major.
But I am more accepting -- I've said it before in the past, I've talked about it. You have to be -- you have to accept everything that's going to go with winning a major before you can actually win one. And I am accepting of that now. I want to win a major. You know, and the first two majors, the Masters and the U.S. Open, I finished 10th in both and I'm disappointed with both finishes, and that's a good sign. That's the best way of putting it, because two years ago, if I finished 10th, I would be over the moon.
Q. How badly would you like to be the first one of this new group?
PAUL CASEY: That would be very nice. I'm not going to, I'm not going to -- it's trying to find the balance between trying to win a major and wanting to win it too badly. There was a lot of talk last week in the press tent on Friday afternoon about what happened with the first round; "how come you shot sort of 77 and 66," and a few of the guys were observing that maybe I was trying too hard, because I had a poor first round at Masters, as well. And I won't disagree with that. I think it's a fairly good observation.
I told them I kept score on Wednesday and I was hoping that would get rid of the bad first round, but it didn't work.
Q. What did you shoot?
PAUL CASEY: 1-under. (Laughing) I won dinner off Sergio's dad, so he owes me dinner.
But it's one of those things, I went out Thursday very relaxed. The U.S. Open, it's one of the toughest golf courses that we play. It's sorting out the emotions and finding the little variables, the energy level, the effort level, all of those little things. And that comes with experience, so I have to learn that.
Q. What do you think of the course this week?
PAUL CASEY: I think this golf course has some very tough rough. I think the fairways this weekend now are -- nature not as narrow as last week, there's not as much slope on the fairways. The greens are in wonderful shape.
I agree, I've already heard Neal Briggs, one of our European Tour Referees, Neal has already mentioned that a couple of players have commented on the severity of the rough and I think even complained. Clearly those players weren't at Oakmont last week.
Having said that, this is still incredibly tough for us. So I agree with you, I think there's a possibility of underestimating this golf course, especially with the scores we've had in the past, traditionally being a very low-scoring tournament, average score 21-, 22-under par winning it the last few years. And it may get to that again, but it may not.
So, yeah, the way you have to play this golf course is exactly the same as you would play last week, stick it in the fairway, and from there you can decide whether you need to be aggressive or not.
But good golf anywhere is still good golf.
Q. Some holes could be more difficult with the changes; do you feel that as well?
PAUL CASEY: 3, 11 changed 11, 16 -- unless somebody can tell me how the 18th changed, I don't know.
Okay, well, 18 still looks the same. The 11th I think is a good change. They have extended the lake for the tee shot. Forces to you now hit the tee shot a little further left, and as a longer hitter I can still take it over the lake if there's no wind into you. The extension of the lake around the right-hand side of the green, I think that's a wonderful change. It's still very new, but you can now spin the golf ball back off the green into the hazard, and guys are going to be cautious going into with that second shot; and you're going to find a lot of people in the water, a lot of people left in the bunker and guys are going to think about it. So I'm all for 11.
16, I have to -- I don't like and I don't think I've ever in the past criticised golf courses, but I'm not a fan of the change on 16. I don't like the bunker in the middle of the fairway. I hit 7-iron off the tee today and a 9-iron on to the green, and it's not what I would have done. There is now nowhere to hit the tee shot, and I think you'll find less guys going into the tee shot this year than have ever gone in the water before; and possibly less guys go into the water on the second shot because now they are going in with a slightly longer club like a pitching wedge or a 9-iron, not as much spin on the ball and people won't spin it back into the water.
So you'll find guys will play the hole very safely and they will hit the ball 190 yards off the tee, 180, and play from the middle of the green and be very happy with walking off with a par.
There are many ways of changing that hole, and many ways of enhancing that hole, but I have to unfortunately say I'm not a fan of it.
Q. The guy you split with, we've heard he's gone to Monty this week; is that correct?
PAUL CASEY: I don't think so, but -- no.
Q. We heard a rumour he might be.
PAUL CASEY: Monty have approached him, I don't know. I'll have to have a word. We have had a split in the past and we are both fully aware of, you know, his relationship. So last time we split it was good because I had a few weeks using other guys and then we came back and played some great golf.
So this is, you know, we were friends before we were working together. To save the friendship, it was best to probably just take away golf. It might turn into a week or two. We'll see.
Q. What is your schedule?
PAUL CASEY: Week off and then K Club; another week off and then the Open.
Q. So he'll be at The K Club with you?
PAUL CASEY: We'll see. But we are going to be friends. (Laughing).
We've been talking about it for a while, so probably been getting at each other. And Craig is very good, he can see it, and we've discussed it and we've said, you know what, best we take a week or two off.
Q. Even with the Open coming up?
PAUL CASEY: It's better to keep your sanity.
Q. Your choice or his?
PAUL CASEY: No, it was a mutual thing. He said, what do you think and I said, "I think we should take a break, I agree."
The last time we took -- Craig has gone through the best and worse of the me, and he's seen everything and he's a very good caddie. The last time we took a break is when I was really struggling and I took a break and I finished third in Switzerland to start The Ryder Cup points again, and had a couple of half-decent results and he came on the bag it was great.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Paul, thank you very much as always. Enjoy your sleep and good luck.
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