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September 23, 2010

Paul Casey


LAURA HILL: Paul, thanks for joining us in here. You must be pretty -- feel pretty good to be at the top of the leaderboard. The guys coming in have been talking about how tough it is out there.
PAUL CASEY: I agree. I think it's a very difficult golf course. The heat, the sunshine, a little bit of wind we had today, it's been drying out this golf course. It's very tricky to get the golf ball close. If you do do that, though, the greens are in perfect condition so you can make a lot of putts, and that's what I did today. I kept the ball below the hole and gave myself opportunities.
4-under is great. I felt that a couple under each day -- and it still is the goal. But I'll certainly take 4-under the first round.

Q. I believe this is your sixth consecutive round in the 60s, and it's all come since the Ryder Cup announcement. Is there any correlation there?
PAUL CASEY: Steve Elling will probably be able to answer that.
No, I've been playing good golf from I think July onwards. I've been certainly swinging the golf club much better. You know, the beginning half of the year there were still remnants of my rib injury from last year. And although I put in some very good performances, the ball-striking wasn't quite there. And as soon as I got to St. Andrews something clicked and I was able to really let the club go. So I think the scores we've seen are a byproduct of really being able to go after and attack the golf ball and hit the shots that I was able to hit the beginning half of 2009.

Q. Strange question: Are you going to watch the Ryder Cup?
PAUL CASEY: Yes, I will.

Q. Have you watched it in the past, and do you think it's going to be difficult watching it not being there?
PAUL CASEY: I don't know. Yeah, I don't know what it'll be like watching it. But for me, before I was on TOUR, I thought it was one of the best sporting events on TV, if not the best. You know, obviously it was always what I wanted to do, so I was captivated by it. I just thought it was just brilliant TV, the drama of it, the matches, the emotions. I thought it was -- yeah, loved it, so I think I will. I think I'll tune in.

Q. Obviously a long way to go, but I'll ask you the same question you were asked yesterday. Any extra motivation this week given the Ryder Cup and everything else, $11 million?
PAUL CASEY: No, this is -- for me I've got an opportunity to accomplish one of the goals which I set for myself at the beginning of the year, so that's -- now that the tournament is started, I'm just trying to put myself that position to win and then tick off that goal, which would be a huge goal. I'm not getting wrapped up in any sort of extra motivation. I don't need extra motivation. I'm motivated enough.

Q. On the second shot on 10, it looked like you hooked it a little bit but it ended up being a great shot. How far were you and what did you hit?
PAUL CASEY: I think the pin was on 29, the front edge was about 175. I hit 6-iron -- it was 7-iron if there was no tree in front of me, but to me it was a very low punch 6-iron very controlled. It looked like it landed on the front edge and released beautifully. Probably the most difficult pin location on that green, I'd say. By far one of the best shots I hit all day.

Q. Even though you don't need any extra motivation, I assume you wouldn't mind if the New York Times printed that you had six consecutive rounds in the 60s since Monty snubbed you?
PAUL CASEY: I can't stop what you print (laughing).

Q. Given the premium field we have here, 29 other golfers, just spell out again what a victory here would mean for you and your career?
PAUL CASEY: Well, it would be the most important victory of my career, certainly the biggest victory financially, by a long way.
We don't have Tiger in the field. You know, even though he hasn't been playing the golf he wants to be playing, that he's capable of, you still want to have a tournament victory with him in the field. But that's not to take away anything from the other guys. We've got Phil and Furyk and Stricker and everybody else here.
Although it's a short field with just 30 players, I still think this carries serious weight. There will be a lot of pressure on whoever it is who wins this trying to make that final putt. Hopefully that's me. And yeah, maybe I have to -- I might take some time off after that. It would be nice. It would be a nice -- yeah, certainly a very serious victory. Certainly not major caliber, but I would put it down as probably the biggest victory of my career.

Q. Did you make note of what the other guys in the top 5 did today? You were certainly the best of the bunch and sitting pretty in that regard?
PAUL CASEY: Well, the leaderboards that are scrolling, the big screen they have out there, never like to go past the top 20, and I wasn't seeing anybody in the top 5 in that top 20, I think. So if the PGA TOUR are listening, can you just roll through -- they've only got ten more guys to show on the screen.
There is a very long way to go, though. I still believe -- I don't think it'll get to double digits winning this thing, under par. I felt maybe 8-under after yesterday's practice round. Maybe it's not even as low as that. I don't know what the other guys shot. It didn't look like they were in the top 10, some of them.

Q. The possibility exists you could finish second this week, especially if those guys don't move up, you could win $10 million and --
PAUL CASEY: I've got to be first or second to pass Kuchar, that's all I know, depending on what he does. That's if he gets sort of last-place points, and that's not going to happen. Kuchar is playing too well for that. I would expect if those guys -- hey, he might have had just a slightly poor day.
It's an easy golf course to get on the wrong side of things. But you know, if they haven't played great today, they go a little earlier tomorrow, get some softer conditions, I would expect all of them to put in a decent performance tomorrow.

Q. Did you ever play Matt in college?
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, he was Georgia Tech playing 1 and 2. Bryce Molder was also there at the same time, myself and Jeff Quinney and those guys. We were sort of 1 and 2 at ASU, so yeah. In fact, the first-ever college event I played in, Bryce Molder -- I was paired with Bryce, and I'm sure Matt was around at the time.

End of FastScripts

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