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February 18, 2010

Paul Casey


STEVE TODD: Paul, five and four win for the second consecutive day, how pleasing is that?
PAUL CASEY: Very satisfying. I didn't expect that -- I didn't expect that score today. I wanted to win, but I expected a very, very tough match.
Mike Weir's score card yesterday was fantastic, a phenomenal round of golf. I read nine birdies out of ten holes against Quiros, and I expected him to do the same today.
I know guys struggle in stroke play events if they go really low one day. To go low the next day, I didn't see any reason why Mike would struggle today, but luckily for me he did. And made it slightly easier match than I was expecting.
STEVE TODD: Bearing in mind what Mike did yesterday, how important was it to start strongly, three birdies in the first four holes?
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, it was key. You know, there's -- I kind of like the first few holes around here, they set up very well. Holes like 2, where I can sort of take the cross bunkers out of play, I kind of enjoy just knocking it down there and taking advantage of the length. But still I was very, very surprised to be -- was I 4-up through 4?
PAUL CASEY: Very surprised to be in that position.

Q. Did you learn anything last year? You've been through the whole gamut here, all five days, anything you have learned about energy or pacing yourself that maybe helped you this year, makes you more comfortable with this format?
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, energy is always a big one. It's always about conserving energy, I think. Especially the legs. If my legs get tired, then that affects my golf swing and I don't hit the shots I want to. And that's exactly what Peter Kostis said to me yesterday, he sent me a text message, told me to just go back to the hotel and relax. So I went back to the hotel and worked out and then relaxed.
But you're right, it's all about -- any of these match play events -- I think you probably learn, the guys who have played The Presidents Cup and Ryder Cups understand what very long days are all about. And this week sort of starts out quite slow, but it gets very, very busy if you're here the rest of the week, all week. And I would like to be here all week. So I'm saving the energy.

Q. Is that maybe a little edge this week, since you've been through it once, is that an edge for you possibly?
PAUL CASEY: I don't know, there's so many guys out here who know what to do. I'm not sure it's an edge.

Q. Have any idea why you're developing -- well, you've got a very strong match play record now, but in team events and in these events, is there a part of your game that sets up well for it in particular? Is there an edge among the English players this week, given how well everyone seems to be doing?
PAUL CASEY: I'll go with the English angle first, we had nine Englishmen in the field this week, which was impressive. I mean obviously it was because of Tiger and Phil not being here. But I think that puts a little extra sort of emphasis or a little extra -- you kind of want to be the last Englishman here, if you can. I think that's fun. I think it's great how many good players we've got coming out of the UK right now. We're all friends, but I think we're all competitors deep down and would like to sort of be the best Englishman, not just this week, but in the World Rankings and all of rest of it.
What was the first one? About my record? Well, my record at LaCosta was crap. I don't think I ever made it past the first round in three or four attempts. So I was glad they moved it to Arizona. I always felt I was -- I am a good match play player. I think I make a lot of birdies. I'm aggressive. I've been known to sort of throw in a bad hole here or there, but that doesn't hurt me too much in match play. But I think also playing in the desert and knowing how the golf ball flies out here, and taking advantage of my length in these sort of conditions, is a little bit of advantage over some of the guys.
There were bunkers today that Mike Weir got caught up in, and I could take out of play with my ball flight.

Q. How long did you work out for last night?
PAUL CASEY: Not long, I sat on the bike and watched the golf and then stretched. I was in there about an hour.

Q. What's your reaction to the timing of Tiger's announcement that it comes during this tournament?
PAUL CASEY: Very intriguing. Yes. I'm certainly -- the timing's interesting, and I'm intrigued as to what will be said tomorrow as much as anybody else. But my primary concern is this week and trying to win this tournament.

Q. Will you be watching tomorrow morning?
PAUL CASEY: What time are we teeing off?
STEVE TODD: 12 o'clock.
PAUL CASEY: Are we going to delay tee times? (Laughter). I don't know. I mean, if it's interfering with my preparation and my warm up, then, no, I won't be watching it, because that's my first -- that's my primary goal and my main focus. But if it's, you know, more than a couple of hours before I'm teeing off, I might happen to have the TV on.

Q. Could you talk about when did you kind of discover desert golf or get hooked on it or however you want to phrase it and move out here? What caused that and what appealed about it right away to you?
PAUL CASEY: At the time it was as far away from home as I could find, trying to get away from the British winter. Back in January of '97 is when I first started out here, first started school out here.
I didn't know anything about desert golf, so I can't really say desert golf sort of lured me in. Arizona State were National Champions back in '96, which is the reason I wanted to come here. Because they had a great, and they still do, they have a great golf program. But desert golf is like nothing else I'd ever played before. And to me it's almost like a novelty factor. It's so far removed from what I grew up playing, that I thought it was very, very cool and I still do. Deep down, I'm probably more -- probably more comfortable on a Heathland course or parkland courses in the UK or in Surrey, but this is fun and I enjoy it.

Q. How long did it take before you felt like you were a desert fox?
PAUL CASEY: Probably took a couple of years. I mean it's different stuff. I mean the golf ball goes all kinds of distances out here. Always used to carry a bent up old 9-iron in the bag as well for the desert shots. Could have done with that a couple of times today. Yeah, you sort of -- I don't know, I've come to really love it, but it's very, very different.

Q. What was the low point for you after the injury last year?
PAUL CASEY: I think the low point was HSBC when I was there and I played three and a bit rounds of golf and I pulled out because I was feeling the pain again in the ribs, exactly the same type of pain that I felt when I first injured myself. That was not so much a low point, it was actually very scary. I thought I've really reinjured myself and how long is this going to take and am I going to play, you know, next year, I mean what's going to happen. Is this something that I'm going to deal with the rest of my career? So that was pretty -- that was a little bit worrying. I'm not sure I got that down, though.
A lot of time just watching the golf was a motivation to get back out here. But it was quickly kind of turned around once I had the third MRI to figure out I hadn't retorn the muscles, then it was pretty quick recovery after that. So there wasn't really a sort of mega low point, it was just kind of frustration.

Q. Nobody said this was potentially career threatening?
PAUL CASEY: No, nobody said. They said it can take a long time, but, you know, nobody ever said this is going to finish your career.

Q. It seemed like you and Geoff had a lot of success out here. Does that have anything to do with the proximity? It being an hour, hour and a half away, does that play into it?
PAUL CASEY: I don't know. I have absolutely no idea. It's not even like the -- you know, this is Nicklaus design, and Whisper Rock is kind of Fazio and Mickelson. It's not the same type of golf course that we play day in and day out when we're back home.
Having said that, at ASU we grew up playing a lot at Desert Mountain, which is a lot of Nicklaus, so I know how he's thinking and how to lay his golf courses. I'm sure Geoff is the same, he's played a lot of golf in the desert. I can't explain it, it's one of those golf courses that sets up nice visually for me with the tee shots and I feel comfortable on it. How much of our success is due to playing desert golf, I'm not sure, but I don't care. I kind of like it.
STEVE TODD: Thank you very much.

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