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January 13, 2009

Paul Casey


MICHAEL GIBBONS: Paul, thanks for joining us, and welcome back to Abu Dhabi. Maybe just start us off with how your preparations for the year have been and your thoughts looking forward to 2009.
PAUL CASEY: Very much looking forward to 2009. I feel like I prepared well. I had some nice time off after the HSBC Champions, and then played Tiger's event and kind of used that to -- worked hard going into that, and then used that to sort of review really any other aspects I need to knuckle down hard on and worked very hard for the last two weeks before coming here on those aspects.
So I feel good about the game and looking forward to having a good 2009. I need to get back in the winner's circle, and it's been a couple of years, actually, this event two years ago, so a good place to do that.

Q. Looking at 2009, why so long since the last win?
PAUL CASEY: If I knew that, I would have won sooner.
I don't know, I think I've put a lot of emphasis on the majors for the last two years. I think that has shown in some respects in the majors, in the results I've had in the majors. You know, tried to sort of of give myself a chance in all of them. I typically always played quite well at Augusta and played fairly well at the others.
I haven't missed a cut in a major in two years now, and, I haven't won. I've been so focused on those that maybe the other tournaments I played in suffered slightly. Maybe I just wasn't quite up for it and prepared for those events, and that clearly is a mistake.
I'm trying to prepare equally hard for every single event I play in now.

Q. And something we asked Martin Kaymer, who was in earlier, what we asked him about, what he gleaned from being around The Ryder Cup. He said he would give Ollie the nod because he was very impressed with him, and we have the Players' Committee meeting coming up tonight. Do you have any preferences leaning towards who you would vote for?
PAUL CASEY: I don't have a vote. Well, I certainly have a voice, but the committee will be the ones who vote. Are they voting tonight?

Q. They are talking about it.
PAUL CASEY: I think I would be very happy to play for any of the guys that are being mentioned in the press the last few weeks. I get along with all of them.
Yeah, Ollie, I think it's been said how great he is in the team room. The guy is truly brilliant. Sandy, I get along very, very well him, as well, and I think any other names, even Paul Lawrie was mentioned in the press lately.
I think any of them would do a stellar job. It's still down to the player. The players still have to play the golf to win The Ryder Cup.
I'm very interested what's discussed this evening the players' meeting, but I have no knowledge of which way the committee are leaning right now in terms of selection.

Q. Very diplomatic.
PAUL CASEY: (Smiling).

Q. Changing the subject -- (good memories coming back here)?
PAUL CASEY: Definitely. Definitely, arriving back here gives me a little bit more confidence, having won around this golf course. I think it's a golf course for me that fits my eye very well. It allows me to sort of play to my strengths a little bit, length off the tee. The rough is certainly a lot thicker than when I won two years ago.
Yeah, it's just I think you get good feelings when you arrive on certain tee shots. You remember shots that you've hit, and that's a good thing, to remember the good shots, anyway, and I've had plenty of them around this golf course.
I love this swing. I think these next three weeks are great events, and, yeah, I need to conjure up good memories. I played 18 holes yesterday and nine holes today and I remember those great shots, and hopefully that will work for this week.

Q. I was going to ask you, a lot of the U.S. Tour-based players are backing The European Tour.
PAUL CASEY: I think it's a great thing. I think it's a great thing that we have Camilo and Anthony Kim -- and who else has rejoined? Baddeley rejoined? Did he ever leave? Baddeley, Allenby. Yeah, I think it's a great thing. The more, the merrier. We want as many world-class players as possible.
It does a couple of things. Probably the most important, the one I worry about is it brings World Ranking points. I want to play against the best field possible, and I love the fact that we have got Trevor here, Masters Champion; Padraig, as well. Certainly three of the majors, two of the champions are here, and so that's a great thing.
I think it would have been nice if Phil had joined as well, but having 12 events being the minimum now, it's tough scheduling. It's a good thing and I think that anybody that doesn't realise it's a good thing, they should think about it, because it's such a global tour we are playing. I love playing in the States, and I love the European side of things. Yeah, the more players, the better.

Q. I'll just take the question a step further, John Daly, he's playing next week. Is he still a draw?
PAUL CASEY: He's a draw, yeah. I think he's an incredibly talented golfer, a lovely guy, and I get along very, very well with John. Why isn't he playing this week?
Yeah, it's sad he's not here. It adds something to the event, as well. You can tell when he's around. Tiger has an effect when he's around. John Daly has an effect when he's around. Slightly different effect. But John brings a lot of intrigue to events; what is John going to do? I love it when John plays his old golf, the grip-it-and-rip-it. I've played with him before a couple of years ago and he has great hands and it's fun to watch. Hopefully he will produce some of that golf in the next couple of weeks.

Q. You were on Gary Player's designed course, you were hitting a few balls down the coast.
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, we were hitting golf balls everywhere, golf balls off the 13th tee, and some golf balls down the beach.
It's very, very impressive. I think the entire Abu Dhabi project is very impressive: New Island, Saadiyat Island, you've got a Formula I race going on this year. It's exciting times.
It's very difficult for somebody like me to visualise what it's going to look like in three, four years' time. But it's brilliant. I think it's intriguing. I don't know what else to say.

Q. There's a lot of courses being built in this part of the world; is that the way you see it going for us, having to diversify, having something extra that the place down the road doesn't have, for example?
PAUL CASEY: Down the road, Dubai? Can we not say Dubai? (Laughter).
Abu Dhabi is very different. I think when we stood out there this morning, you can feel the wind whipping in. You know, I think that's a wonderful element that this region has that needs to be utilized in golf. There are some great strains of grass that can be grown and make a golf course that's very links-like. And why not? Gary Player's golf course is just one of many that are in the pipeline. Kyle Phillips has one, Robert Trent Jones, Junior has one, and there's more in the pipeline. It's very exciting.
Now, obviously that's the one we are going to be playing in a few years' time, but I think it's great to have links-type golf courses around.

Q. When is the last time you saw Peter Kostis? And what is the one piece of advice that he's given you in the last -- that's most clearly in your mind on Tuesday the 11th of January, or whatever the date is today?
PAUL CASEY: I saw him on Tuesday last week, because he was playing in a tournament on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and I don't know how he did in the tournament, position-wise. I know what he shot. And I saw him a lot of times through the off-season, probably almost every day I was back there.
The one piece of advice, oh, he gives me so many. There are too many, John.

Q. But the one that is above all others is --
PAUL CASEY: Why would I tell you that?

Q. Might be to not worry too much about why people keep asking you.
PAUL CASEY: (Laughter) No, I think to go back to maybe what Mark asked earlier on, you know, maybe I felt very caught up in the process, in the swing, in lots of aspects. That really comes down to one thing only, and that's shooting as low a number as possible and winning golf tournaments. That's the thing we've highlighted over the past few weeks is just being very focused on that.
I played a lot more golf than I have done the past three, four off-seasons. Less time on the practice rounds and more time on the golf course, and I think that will assist in making 2009 a very good year.

Q. You don't have any deal like the deal he has with you, about good rounds and wine and that sort of stuff, do you?
PAUL CASEY: We did but it got very expensive when I wasn't playing very good golf. It was 2006 where I added to my cellar, shall we say. His cellar has grown in the last couple of seasons, at my expense.

Q. The Irish Open is going to be at Baltray next year and The European Open will be at Turnberry in 2010 as far as I know; do we sense here there could be a bit of a links swing coming into the profession, and would you welcome that and would you welcome to the opportunity to play more links golf?
PAUL CASEY: I would love the opportunity to play more links golf. I think, yeah, I used to play so much links golf as an amateur. I felt like all of our big events were on these golf courses is and when I turned professional, I got the opportunity to play links golf once or twice a year, at the Dunhill and The Open Championship.
And in the past few years, I've spent a week or two weeks before The Open Championship, trying to play links golf to get ready for it, and if I can do some of that preparation earlier in the year, I think that would be a great thing, yes. I think it would be good for the crowds and good for the fans and viewers to see the guys on links golf courses.
I think from my own angle, my shot-making has maybe become a little bit -- or it has not been as varied as it needs to be in order to play great links golf. You get very sort of stuck playing certain types of shots and not very creative and imaginative, and you have to be when you're on a links golf course.
But I would welcome it. I would love to play as much links golf as possible.

Q. Do you see it being very attractive to the Americans, perhaps if the tournaments were played in a run-up to The Open?
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, I would love to. I don't think there's any -- I should say, the reason I think a lot of guys maybe shied away from playing Loch Lomond, the Scottish Open, leading up to The Open Championship, is nothing to do with sponsors or Loch Lomond as a golf course, because it's a great golf course.
But just the way it plays, it's just so wet and so soft, that it doesn't lend itself to good preparation for playing links golf. Slightly harsh for guys that are trying to prepare for The Open Championship the following week. I'm not saying get rid of Loch Lomond. If you could throw something in a week before or a couple of weeks before, that would be brilliant. It would be fantastic.

Q. Have you played Baltray?
PAUL CASEY: No. So Turnberry is going to be The European Open? I think it will be a great links golf course. I can't wait to play it this year in The Open Championship. I played it late last year before the Dunhill, and it was in magnificent shape, and it's going to be even better when we get there, because I know they have closed it down for a while.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: Paul, thanks for joining us. Good luck this week.

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