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August 21, 2008

Paul Casey


LAURA HILL: Paul, thanks for joining us. Nice birdie on 18 to finish 5-under today. You have to be pretty happy with that start here.
PAUL CASEY: Very happy with that. I've struggled to get off to a good start this year. First rounds have been not so good, so that was great. The greens were perfect this morning. 7:21 was a lovely tee time, and just happy to take advantage of that. Especially that putt on 18, because I felt like I let one go on 17, so that was a nice way to finish it.

Q. You're one of like 11 guys I think to make the cut in all of the majors this year, and yet I don't know that you did much with all that, given your points in Ryder Cup and all that; so that would seem to say you've played fairly consistently, but maybe just not that well, you know what I mean? (Laughter).

Q. You've made cuts but you haven't been piling up a lot of firsts, seconds and thirds, which we've seen from you frequently in the past. You've been kind of there, but not here.
PAUL CASEY: I agree. It's been inconsistent golf. It's been good golf, but it's not been spectacular. It's two years now, I've not missed a major cut in two years. That's great, and I worked very hard on trying to play those big tournaments well.
But yeah, the year in general has been -- certainly the first part was very, very slow. Although I've played some very good golf lately, you know, seventh at the Open, eighth at Bridgestone, 15th at the PGA, I think 25th or something last week; it's been good, solid stuff. It's kind of a little bit too late really for a lot of The Ryder Cup stuff. I'm a little bit too far out of that right now.
But I'm happy with the way I've been playing. It's been very, very close. It's been like a bounce or a putt that lips in. To be honest, that's what happened today; I hit a couple of shots which I got away with, and I could do with a few more of those.

Q. You have a new set of irons in your bag this week; can you talk about the process, is there anxiety with a new set of irons? Can you just talk a little about the process?
PAUL CASEY: I put them in in Akron, actually along with a new putter, as well, so back to 14 Nike clubs in the bag.
The irons are from a profile identical to what I had before. It's a new range of irons that Nike are going to put out. Now I'm going to have a family of irons -- giving them a plug; they are the Victory Red irons. For me it wasn't a big transition, same shaft and loft and lie and profile. Mike Taylor who grinds my irons and all of the players for Nike, does a great job. So it's just a case of putting them in, trying them in two practice rounds and I take a leap of faith and put them in play.
For me they go about two to three yards further than my old set. I won't bore you with the details of why. So it's a pretty easy transition and I don't change a lot of stuff. I very rarely change equipment. I've got the same driver I've been using for two years and the same wedges. I wouldn't put something in if I wasn't comfortable with it.

Q. What about the putter? Could you talk about what kind of putter it is?
PAUL CASEY: Again, it's a shape that I've always used. The deal with the putter is that a little technology now, a little groove technology that Nike are trying out, sort of slight insert with grooves kind of combined which allows me to roll the ball better than I've rolled it before, which is why I went with it. Again, everything I've changed is not drastic; certainly from an appearance point of view.
If I can get a small performance gain out of something, that's why it goes in. No, neither of those changes -- certainly if you look at the results, have hindered me in any way.

Q. I caught just the tail end of something that you said outside relative to your Ryder Cup aspirations, and you said you needed Ian to play well, and I didn't quite make the connection there; him moving into the automatic Top-10; could you elaborate on that?
PAUL CASEY: To be honest, I have -- from what I know is I'm too far out of it -- obviously we have two lists. I haven't done the calculations on the World Ranking list. The calculations on the points list, I if I was to play and win next week, I wouldn't make the team, based on the calculations I've done -- I hope they are right.
Reason for not going over next week and playing; one, I don't want to -- I can't make it if I go over and win. I still don't qualify automatically. So I would rather play here, play well in the FedExCup, try and move myself up in this. If I'm going to fly back and I suddenly do get a pick, I don't want to be jet lagged flying backwards and forwards.
I think with Ian, my comments regarding Ian, everybody is talking about the sort of notable players, the guys who have played Ryder Cup before who are not on the team; Ian is one, Monty is the other, Darren Clarke, for example, and they have to be my rivals when it comes to a pick.
So all I can do is play exceptionally good golf here, put myself on the radar in terms of what Nick is thinking, and you know, if he doesn't have to pick Ian, then there's more chance that I might get picked. So I hope Ian plays well. (Laughing).

Q. Have you talked to Nick about what, about what you're doing?
PAUL CASEY: I will talk to Nick but I will not comment on what we've talked about.

Q. About why you're not going back over there and why you're staying here.
PAUL CASEY: I will not comment on what I've talked to Nick about. (Smiling).

Q. Peter Kostis lobbying on your behalf?
PAUL CASEY: Probably. They do see each other quite a bit. (Laughter).

Q. Hopefully.
PAUL CASEY: Hopefully, yeah.
I mean, Peter agreed with my reasons of staying here and playing on this side of the Atlantic. He's always a good one to bounce ideas off, and you know, he feels this is the correct move, as I can't make the team. I'm sure he talks to Nick and I'm sure Nick sort of bounces ideas off him. He's being very tight-lipped if he has been talking to him.

Q. Have you spoken to Ian at all and told him that you're encouraging him to do well; does he know that?
PAUL CASEY: I'm trying to think the last time I talked to him. I talked to him somewhere -- I think he knows.
You know, for my position, I don't really want to be a pick, if I could have helped it anyway, because I always feel like there's pressure on the guys who are picked. It is what it is. I'm staying very relaxed. Having played two of them, I'd love to be there, it's an awesome thing, representing your country, the matches themselves, it's great.
I was picked once for a Seve Trophy, not quite the same level of intensity, and even that made me nervous. It was sort of, "Oohh, I've been picked, I've got to deliver." So, we'll see.

Q. How shy of 15 are you over here?
PAUL CASEY: This is 15.

Q. This week?
PAUL CASEY: Yeah. Again, that was another factor.

Q. And you're only in this week and next week on points and hoping to move up?
PAUL CASEY: Currently 90th. Probably safe for next week, but I'd like to play all four. That's the goal.

Q. How many in a row has this been for you now?
PAUL CASEY: This is the fifth -- no, fourth week in a row.

Q. Starting with Akron?

Q. Akron, PGA, Greensboro, here, next week for sure?
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, but I knew I was going to have a run like this. A lot of people asked me why I took three weeks off in the summer before the Open Championship, and this is one of the reasons. A lot of people didn't quite understand it at the time.
But, you know, I'm fitter than I've ever been, and in order to be that way, I needed to make sure I took time off and work out, and I feel very fresh. I think that's reflected in the golf I've been playing still, and I'd like to make sure I'm fresh for the next few weeks.
LAURA HILL: All right, Paul, thanks for coming in. Good luck.

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