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February 20, 2008

Paul Casey


SCOTT CROCKETT: Paul, thanks for coming in and joining us. Congratulations, a good win this morning. You're 9-under par; I think that says something about the standard of the match that you had this morning.
PAUL CASEY: I know Robert's game very well, having played with him and being partners in the Ryder Cup at the K Club. I knew it was going to be incredibly difficult, and he proved me right. 4-under through the first 4, only 1-up. 5-under through the first -- I guess first nine, all square; and then 9-under to win by two holes.
It did go through my mind at one stage, could I shoot sort of 64 or something and lose this match? And it was very close.
But I'm very happy to get through. He's a great player, and it's just nice to get through that first round.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Sometime it's hard to play somebody that you know; sometimes it's easier to play somebody you don't know.
PAUL CASEY: Very much so. He's about a foot taller than I am, but we seemed to be in the same position on the fairway and hit the same clubs into the greens. I think we had fun out there. You've got to play the game, but we're friends and we chatted. And it's just unfortunate one of us had to go home.

Q. What did you say to him at the end?
PAUL CASEY: I can't say sorry, actually. I said, I don't like playing friends in match play, so that was it. But I'm very, very happy with the way I played.

Q. What is next in your bracket? I haven't looked that far ahead.
PAUL CASEY: In the bracket, Dredge. He obviously played great. He beat Sabbatini, the local favorite. And Sabbatini is not short on confidence (laughter). And his World Ranking proves what a good player he is, so I think that's a good one for Bradley.
There are no easy matches in this thing. I never made it past the first round when I played at LaCosta, so I'm just happy we moved it to Arizona; it seems to be a little better here.

Q. Despite your record at LaCosta, with the Ryder Cup experience now and all that, how confident can you be coming into an event like this?
PAUL CASEY: Certainly a lot more than I used to be, I think. A couple of things that attributed to why I played well here last year. One, the move from LaCosta. LaCosta, a good golf course, but for some reason never suited my eye. And this, I've been in the Valley -- well, I've been in the Valley up the road near Phoenix for 11 years. So I know desert golf very well. And this fits my eye. I know how to play it. I know how far the golf ball goes. I know how the golf ball reacts coming out of the rough. Maybe that's a small advantage, but it's still an advantage.
And then having got a couple of Ryder Cups under my belt and then the world Match Play at Wentworth really kind of assisted in boosting my confidence for last year. I was happy the way I played last year; I got beaten by Geoff Ogilvy in the quarters. Yeah, it was a good run.
I love match play. You don't know what's going to happen. And sure, you can get beaten playing a very good round of golf and someone will say that's slightly unfair. You might have beaten most of the field, but you still get to go home. I do enjoy it. It's a very -- it's a format I played a lot as a kid. I kind of relish it. We only get to play it once or twice a year. It's just a break from the norm.
You can't beat 72 holes to find out who the best player it is that particular week, but it's nice to mix it up.

Q. As a transplanted desert guy now, you mentioned how the ball behaves and how it carries. Other than the thin air -- I guess we've got thin air, a small degree of altitude, 1,700 feet or so. Is that what you're talking about? Could you kind of elaborate on that?
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, the golf ball just goes funny distances here. It goes a long way. I don't know how long this golf course is. But pitching wedges that were going 135 yards last week in LA are now going 150 yards out here. And I have no equation for it; I can't explain it to other people. I don't explain it to my caddie. He just gives me a number and I pull a club and I just kind of know. I think most of the desert courses have sort of a valley effect. Everything goes down the mountain here; putts break a certain direction.
Most of these things are fairly obvious if your eyes are open to them. But it comes very naturally having done it for 11 years.

Q. Paul, nice win by Monty today over Furyk. Through your Ryder Cup experience and such, what have you come to appreciate about Monty over the years, the experience you've had with him and what you've seen of him through the years?
PAUL CASEY: There are lots of things to appreciate about Monty.

Q. His caddie?
PAUL CASEY: Yes. Wow, I could be here all day.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Just pick the top 10.
PAUL CASEY: To me Monty is great value. He's such a competitor. He finds a way to win. Be nice to Monty.
Certainly in the Ryder Cups you can just see his passion for it. Nothing fires him up like a Ryder Cup. To me that's entertaining. He's one of those guys who if I had to pick to make a putt, certainly in the Ryder Cup, he'd be my choice. He's also a great value; I mean, he's incredibly funny.
A lot of people don't get to see him away from the golf course, and I get along with him very, very well. I've got to say that because he invited me to his wedding and I want to stay invited. But he is; he was very supportive to me going back a few years ago when I was struggling. He was a great friend. He had very nice words to say to try to encourage me and help me out. And he really cares, you know.
He has his moments. I find him entertaining to play with him on the golf course, because sometimes he will react. Somebody is moving in the crowd 300 yards away, he can spot them. And you do, you sort of chuckle. But it's Colin; it's just his way. He fires himself up and that's what gets him going. He needs something to maybe be a little bit angry about sometimes. But that's when he plays his best golf.

Q. Still a formidable player?
PAUL CASEY: Yeah. He doesn't have the ball flight to get the ball close on a lot of these courses we're playing, with the firm greens and the pin positions, but he finds a way to do it. And that's a credit to his skill around the green, his ability to move the golf ball and, yeah, his confidence and his passion inside.

Q. Sergio put two putters in his bag today, threw out his 3-iron, used the short one for the first 14 holes, pulled out the belly putter late in the round. I'm wondering whether you in your travels have heard of such a thing before, and what do you suppose that suggests?
PAUL CASEY: I've often thought of doing it the way I've putted sometimes. Hang on, he had a short putter and went to a long one?

Q. The belly. He didn't like the way the short one was behaving so he put it in the penalty box and went to plan B and won his match.
PAUL CASEY: That's all that matters. Didn't Phil have two drivers at one stage?

Q. The Masters. One for this way and one for this way (indicating left and right).
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, if -- you could use one putter for left-to-right and the other for right-to-left putts. Or one for long and one for short.

Q. Switch putt, back in the day.
PAUL CASEY: I'll give him credit for thinking about it and -- you know, if he wasn't confident with that putter or wasn't sure about that putter, then what a play to take two putters out. Some would say that he kind of talked himself into it, but you've got 14 clubs, you might as well take what you want. If he won his match, he won his match.

Q. What would you think if you turned up on the first tee and saw your opponent had two putters in his bag? Do you think it would be a psychological advantage?
PAUL CASEY: I don't know if I'd smile or be very worried. My first question would be, make sure he counts his clubs and didn't put in an extra putter. He won his match; that's all that matters. Did he say which one he's taking tomorrow?

Q. I don't think he knows. If he knew, he wouldn't be carrying two, flipping coins.
PAUL CASEY: I'd take the long one.

Q. Monty made the point that you use it for half your shots, so maybe it's not such a dumb idea. How many times is he going to use his 3-iron, once?
PAUL CASEY: Exactly. I didn't use a 3-iron today. Didn't use a 4-iron, either. There you go. Maybe I should take a look -- maybe I should take three putters.

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