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March 1, 2009

Paul Casey


RODDY WILLIAMS: Thank you for joining us in the interview room. Unlucky out there, but I think you just came up against a very impressive Geoff Ogilvy today.
PAUL CASEY: I did. Geoff was exceptional today. This afternoon, three birdies I think in the first eight holes and I still lost two holes.
I threw a lot of things at him and he didn't flinch. It was very, very impressive. I got outplayed today.
RODDY WILLIAMS: It was difficult after the morning session. He never let you back in, did he?
PAUL CASEY: No. I felt good going out this afternoon. I knew where the pins were for the afternoon, which was nice.
I stuck to the game plan. I played some solid golf. I gave him one on nine this afternoon, which was frustrating.
One hole still wouldn't have helped me, I don't think. He was just very, very good.

Q. Nobody thinks of Geoff at least in the, when I say the general public, as one of the very top golfers, and yet he's won a U.S. Open, he's won this a couple of times. Amongst the golfers, are they thinking he's up there with the Vijays and the Harringtons and people like that?
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, I think when Geoff plays the golf he played today, you have to put him in that category. Geoff is a quiet guy. Maybe that's why he doesn't get the attention that he deserves or the recognition that he deserves. But he's a phenomenal golfer. I mean, how many guys have won two World Golf events?

Q. Three.
PAUL CASEY: Three? Three guys.

Q. And only one other guy --

Q. -- has won more than that.
PAUL CASEY: Yeah. I don't remember what your question was, but yes or no or whatever it was.

Q. You answered it, actually.
PAUL CASEY: All right.

Q. Paul, speak to Geoff's competitiveness. Outside of his skill set, is there something that makes him tough to fairways when it's just you versus him?
PAUL CASEY: I think what's tough to play, what is tough about playing Geoff is that he doesn't change. He doesn't -- his demeanor doesn't waiver, which is a huge attribute, especially in match play.
He walks the same pace, whether he's playing well or poorly. He manages himself very, very well, and that's what I felt today. Even when I felt like I made birdies, that putt on four, for example, he just sort of laughs at you and he just carries on with what he's doing. It's Geoff being Geoff. And he's not trying to put that on; it's just the way he is.

Q. Where does that come from? Obviously you guys are friends. Any idea?
PAUL CASEY: You would have to ask Geoff that. I just know his game very, very well. We're good friends. It was a great match out there today. Enjoyed the walk down the fairway and occasionally a chat with him when I wasn't pulling my hair out trying to figure out what to do to beat him.
It was great. As we said yesterday, it's ironic that we both came down here on Friday the 13th to play a practice round together, and here we are again today battling it out.

Q. Talk about sticking to your plan the whole way, was there ever a point, say, on the front nine in the afternoon or whatnot that you wanted to get a little more aggressive or felt like you needed to? I noticed you stuck with the same club selection off a lot of tees.
PAUL CASEY: I have to admit I was slightly tempted after being 4 down through nine holes this morning to change the game plan and hit driver off the 10th tee. But that's probably a good move not to after holing a 6-iron for a 2.
No, I was proud of the way I stuck to the game plan. It was incredibly frustrating at times. Tee shots like 15, which I needed the wind in order to reach that green with a 3-wood, but I felt like driver was too much.
I felt like if I pitched it on the putting surface it was not going to stop until it reached the rough on the back, and that was not the place that you wanted to be particularly.

Q. Was that maybe the most frustrating hole in the morning, 15, given the circumstances, 2-up, he was 3-up, I'm sorry, and that was -- 11 was pretty good too, apart from the cactus. Started thinking maybe it was his day?
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, 11 was -- yeah. 11 was annoying. But it was a very good chip. And I made the mistake of hitting my third shot too far left, and it caught that bank and took it away from the position where I felt I could get up-and-down easily.
But, yeah, I'm not going to sit here and make excuses. I've got to find a way of getting around a golf course. And that was frustrating not to get up-and-down on 15, but that was my own fault.

Q. Could you talk about the week leading up to today as far as being arguably the most consistent golfer out there on the course, just the kind of confidence that gave you coming into today's final?
PAUL CASEY: To be honest, I'm a firm believer that it doesn't really matter how you played leading up to any match. You have to put that aside. You can maybe pull a little bit of confidence from that, but maybe refine your game plan, maybe you can learn a few of the sort of breaks on the greens.
But when you face a new guy standing on that first tee in a match play situation, I don't think it matters. I don't think the other guy cares how you played. He doesn't care what the results have been, the results that you had.
I know I don't care. I actually don't -- I don't actually know the scores of Geoff's matches early this week. That's not something that I pay attention to. And I doubt it's something that he pays attention to. You get on the first tee and you give it your best.

Q. Having won a big match-play event a couple years back, do you find it -- did you find it harder or easier to play against a good friend?
PAUL CASEY: Probably slightly harder, if I have to be honest. Yeah, I don't know why. It's just something you kind of feel. I think it's --

Q. Awkward?
PAUL CASEY: I won't say awkward. Yeah, you're trying to get yourself up, trying to get yourself sort of...

Q. We're playing for a lot here.
PAUL CASEY: We're playing for a lot of the -- we're playing for points, playing for money, we're playing for a lot of things. Pride.
I've always felt that -- I didn't really do it this week, but in a match-play situation, it's pretty much like a fight. If you got the opportunity, without being bawdy, you've got to step on the other guy's throat, if you have the opportunity.
When it's a friend of yours, I mean that's -- you can't say I want to step on his throat. I mean, that would be very rude. So I would -- that's why I think it's slightly more difficult.

Q. All week you never trailed in any match, and then you got off to -- this morning you both hit excellent shots in there to No. 1. He makes the putt and you miss. How big a factor was that? And then secondly, emotionally how difficult was it for you to accept that it wasn't going to be your day and you weren't going to win this?
PAUL CASEY: To answer the second, I forgot the first part, it was -- I didn't -- at no point did I give up. So I didn't accept it was over until he holed that putt on 15. So that's -- that wasn't difficult whatsoever.

Q. I meant after the match.
PAUL CASEY: After the match, you have to let it go. As soon as the match is done, you let it do. And Geoff was, had very -- he was very kind with his words that he had had for me afterwards.
Back to the first part, which was I think about the putts on the first hole, yeah, that was -- that certainly was a blow missing that putt this morning. He birdied the first hole twice, didn't he, which was very impressive. Because that's an awkward pin to get to. Maybe that set the tone a little bit. I think it set the tone for my putting, certainly, for the first nine holes, and that's what frustrated me today.

Q. How difficult was the chip-in on 11 after you had taken that hole on 10? And also, about your putting, I think you missed maybe 10 or 11 putts inside 15 feet, and where you could have put some pressure on him.
PAUL CASEY: The chip-in was -- yeah, I think the chip-in was huge, because while he was going through and dropping that golf ball and then he hit his fourth shot and he was still short, you never think you've got a putt to win, because you have to expect the guy to always hole his shot. But maybe I thought he might not chip it in.
And what I found was I never got sort of -- because of that, I never really got any sort of momentum going. So I didn't really sort of win two holes in a row, which would have been huge, I think, the momentum.
Yeah, but I need to, again, the putting was the key today. Geoff missing putts this morning, he had a lot of opportunities which slipped by the hole. So it's very easy for me to sit here and say that I missed 10 or 11 15-footers or less, but he missed a few too.

Q. Could you talk about the 6-iron you holed out and at what point you thought it might go in? And also, you played well all week, you played well today. What does this week mean to you overall?
PAUL CASEY: The 6-iron was -- it's strange. We played nine-and-a-half holes, and the first really comfortable yardage is the one that's over 200 yards.
But it was. It was sort of a very inviting pin position for some unknown reason. I won't lie. I was trying to get it as close as I could. It looked very good in the air. At no point did I think it was going to go in until it actually did. And you hope, but you just don't know.

Q. What's this week mean? You played well all week. You just didn't get the win at the end.
PAUL CASEY: I'm happy with this week. A little bit bitter-sweet, maybe. Would have loved to have won today. Came up against a guy who was too good.
But having said that, this is a golf course that I felt was slightly awkward for my game two weeks ago, and I found away of getting around it, and for that I'm proud.
I was tired at the beginning of the week as well and showed that I had the energy to get through these weeks, even after getting off an airplane 20-plus hours of flying on Monday to get back here. That was pretty good.
So there's a lot of things I take out of this, but there are also things I need to work on. So we move forward.

Q. What is it like for an Englishman to live in this kind of environment and play this kind of golf course? So different from what you grew up playing?
PAUL CASEY: It's difficult to -- I think all I can say is it was -- I mean, it's complete opposite to what I grew up with as a kid.
I love both. I consider myself to have two homes: One in the U.K. and one here.
I spent more time here though, because the weather's better, but it was getting off the plane and seeing this place was quite surreal. But also it was kind of my -- sort of Disneyland. Everything I ever wanted was here.
And there's no doubt that I feel very lucky arriving at Arizona State, getting an opportunity. I wouldn't be sitting here right now if I didn't have that opportunity, so I'm very grateful to the U.S. and to everybody at ASU.
RODDY WILLIAMS: Paul, unlucky today, but well-played all week. Congratulations.
PAUL CASEY: Thank you.

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