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January 29, 2009

Paul Casey


Q. Paul, a round of 68 which included 30 putts; how do you feel about that?
PAUL CASEY: I think it was not a bad start. Obviously could have been better. Having said that, I made a couple of good par saves coming in.
So not a bad start but I'm four behind Rory. That's a hell of a round, 64, I guess it was, par 72, something like that. 8-under around here is very impressive. The rough is thick and the greens are not as good as we have seen them in the past, even though it's a very well set up golf course.

Q. What have you been working on?
PAUL CASEY: Putting, it's definitely coming together. The way I putted in Abu Dhabi was illustration of that. Missed the cut last week; well, you know, I've played three times in Qatar and never made the cut. It's a good golf course but it's just one that doesn't fit my eye for some reason.
Putting-wise, a little bit of setup, ball position, shaft angle, basic stuff really. Grip, sort of posture, really getting back to basics. Worked very hard with Kostis in trying to get that right. Nothing sort of revolutionary, but good solid basics and lots of practice.
I think the main thing is trying to get a bit of confidence, because that's probably something I was lacking, and you need to feel like you're going to hole putts and go out there and putt well, and know that you're a good putter, because otherwise you'll just get eaten alive out there.

Q. How do you feel about Colin Montgomerie as The Ryder Cup captain?
PAUL CASEY: I think it's brilliant, really do. Captain Monty.
I experienced Captain Monty at the Seve Trophy. Now obviously that's not nearly as -- you can't compare the two. But his attention to detail and the way he communicated with the players, looked after the players. You know, the Seve Trophy does get serious on the weekend, but it's a lot of fun. I know one of our requests was a ping-pong table, and he sorted that out very nicely and got ourselves not just a ping-pong table, but a very good one with nice paddles.

Q. Did you end up the week the champion ping-pong player?
PAUL CASEY: No, but it kept us all happy which was fantastic and got the best out of the players.
You know, he lives for The Ryder Cup. You know, don't need to talk about Monty not winning a major, he's won eight Order of Merits. He just comes alive when he comes to The Ryder Cup, and I think what you've seen on the golf course from Monty is going to be what you see off the golf course from Monty in terms of his preparation and how he gets best out of the players. I think he will be a fantastic captain.

Q. Start just by talking about today, because that's a nice, what would you say, steady start?
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, very steady start. I think it could have been better the way it started out. I let a couple of shots -- well, I didn't let a couple of shots golf I had opportunities for birdies which I didn't convert. The greens are a little tricky to read out there and didn't hole the putts. But also made a couple of very good par saves coming in on 7 and 8.
So it's not a bad start. McIlroy has clearly gone out there and gone nuts and shot a very impressive 64, which I felt -- I didn't think anybody would do today to be honest because the rough is extremely thick; in places you would say it's U.S. Open thick.
And it's a tough golf course. So I'm happy with my score, but I've got to play better.

Q. And I guess from your point of view, it's a case of picking up from where you left off in Abu Dhabi, didn't quite go for you last week but that can happen after a win, can't it?
PAUL CASEY: If you look at statistics, I've played three times in Qatar. Although it's a great field, a great tournament with a wonderful sponsor, it's a golf course that just doesn't set up well for me visually and I struggle on it. You know, it's funny, the previous week, Abu Dhabi is the same architect and I love it.
Who knows? It's one of those things. But I moved swiftly on and I need to sort of carry on that good form because the form certainly didn't dip in Qatar. It was just one of those things. And you just carry on that good form this week. 4-under is not a bad start but we have another great field and a tough golf course and I need to play solid golf all week.

Q. What do you make of the new appointment Colin Montgomerie?
PAUL CASEY: I experienced Captain Monty before in the Seve Trophy role, which clearly is not the pressure-packed event of The Ryder Cup, but I think it's given people an indication as to what he would be like, and he was excellent. He looked after the players brilliantly and the communication was superb.
You know, the passion that you see Monty put in, in a Ryder Cup, you know, he comes alive. I think you're going to see that in how he approaches his captaincy. I think he's going to be fantastic, so I can't wait to see how it develops, and I want to get on that team and be part of the team that brings back the Cup for not only Europe but also Colin.

Q. Popular decision with the guys on the range, would you say?
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, very popular. Amongst the guys, I think it was a tough decision. I don't know what happened in the committee meeting yesterday. Clearly we know they picked Colin. But how it went down, I don't know. It will be a unanimous decision, and as a tour, you know, whoever we picked, we were going to stand 100 per cent behind that person. I think you'll find that when you walk up-and-down that range.

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