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January 30, 2011
KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN
SCOTT CROCKETT: Thanks for coming in and joining us, as always, many, many congratulations. What a fantastic last day and a hard last day, but ultimately a successful one. You must be delighted.
PAUL CASEY: I'm ecstatic with that. Yeah, I was going out there to play the golf course, and found a very difficult golf course in the end with the wind that picked up that was -- it was just very difficult, and didn't look at the leaderboard until the 17th green. Didn't hear any roar come from Miguel's group in front, so sort of knew what I had to do, and it was just Peter and I coming down the last. He opened the door slightly and I still had a very difficult up-and-down. I'm just happy I had that opportunity and I took it.
SCOTT CROCKETT: And we talked the other day about your last win being 2009. This must be sweet to add another win to the record.
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, for me, somebody said it was -- 20 months or something, because it doesn't feel that long because I had the six months of injury, and even after coming back it was still -- I felt like I was sort of rebuilding so it doesn't feel like it's been 20s. I've played some very, very good golf the latter half of last year, disappointed not to win and wanted to put that right as soon as possible.
Worked very hard in the off-season and I'm happy it's paid off already.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Talk us through the last hole. It was tense for us watch; I presume it must have been tense for you, too.
PAUL CASEY: The wind was completely different today from anything we had earlier this week. I hit 5-wood off the tee and left myself 159 yards. Just tried to punch an 8-iron. It actually looked pretty good. At no time was I trying to hit it right of the flag. I was trying to go about ten feet left and as it ran out of pace and spin, it sailed on the wind a long way right and pulled an interesting lie. It was sort of half where the grass had been trodden down in a footprint. So had to be quite bold. Left myself an awkward but it held its line.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Never in doubt, Paul.
PAUL CASEY: Finished in the middle.
SCOTT CROCKETT: It was quite a good chip considering where you were. You were quite pleased to finish that far away presumably.
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, it was not a great lie. Yeah, what Peter was doing was completely out of my control. I felt like I wanted to chip it in, that would have finished things off. But I still thought that he would get up-and-down.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Thanks for that and many congratulations once again.
Q. Have you ever had three victories in a week before?
PAUL CASEY: No. Well, in a match-play event maybe. I had never won a Pro-Am until this week. Now I've won two.
Poulter again was giving me grief for my room number last night, I saw him at dinner and he said he would have checked out if he had room 666.
Q. But in terms of coming here, everyone said it was a tricky course with three different -- so many slopes on the greens, and yet you in managed to produce a 20-under par performance. How do you rate your own performance?
PAUL CASEY: I rate it -- yeah, it was good. I can't say anything other than can't go negative on it. It was a great performance.
I didn't play brilliant golf last week in Abu Dhabi, and even starting out this week, I felt like the ball-striking was a bit off.
You know, obviously there was a lot of criticism of these greens, really the slopes on the greens more than anything else. Tee-to-green I actually think it's a very good golf course. The Tour did the right thing with ruling on the bunker, or the waste areas, and maybe that will be changed the next time we come back. It was very strange making practise swings in bunkers this week but I think it helped. Just have to remember not to do that next week.
And they did the right thing putting pins in relatively accessible areas, all of the flat areas on the golf course on the greens. And if it wasn't for the wind today, I think you would have seen more like 23-under win this tournament. Guys are always going to do that, if you give them good surfaces and benign pin positions.
Q. Speaking of bunkers how important was that shot you hit on 13 with Peter pretty close? That looked like a pretty tough up-and-down from there?
PAUL CASEY: It was just getting the distance right, and I did just (laughing).
Q. Stopped on the top.
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, it almost stopped on the top, yeah. But taking the practise swings in the bunker was a big advantage. Could you know how much sand was in there and how the golf ball was going to come out. Chose that one nicely with Peter in there with a relatively short eagle putt; it was important not to let him get too far ahead.
Q. Two questions, you seem to be making a habit of winning motor-car backed tournaments.
PAUL CASEY: I like cars.
Q. On a serious note, you won early in the season before, what does this do to your sort of confidence ahead of the majors and also you move to No. 5 this week?
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, the World Ranking is wonderful. It's not -- I'd love to be better than the No. 3 ranking I had a couple of years ago, whenever it was. That's not an immediate goal. Sort of nearest goal really is major championships, starting with Augusta.
I discussed it with Kostis, and he said, this is the goal that we want to win major championships and Augusta is a great opportunity for me with the way the golf course sets up, but he goes, "You need to win before," and we had that going in 2009.
Going into Augusta I was very tired after the Houston win, which is just one of those things. It was a great win. But saps the energy a little bit. And he said, "You know, go to the Middle East and I expect you to win one."
Well, we are already through two and got another one left. Hopefully he's relatively happy and it would be nice to crack on and get another win or two before Augusta. I think that would really set it up, and then it maybe I can accomplish those goals which I've set myself.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Just to clarify, it does depend on what Phil does tonight in terms of Paul's World Ranking.
Q. At the end of last year, did you have to putt up with a lot of people saying, "Bad luck, Paul ," their tune after The Ryder Cup, but now their tune will change, won't it?
PAUL CASEY: No, there wasn't a lot of that. A lot of people talk about it still and I got over it very, very quickly.
So, no, I don't think about what happened last year with The Ryder Cup in any way. I'm trying to accomplish the goals which I've set myself, and I'm always looking forward. Trying to stay in the present currently but then look forward and accomplish those goals which I've set myself.
Q. You might be over The Ryder Cup, but is there any satisfaction at all winning specifically on Monty's course or anything that you can say to him?
PAUL CASEY: (Laughing). Yeah, ah --
SCOTT CROCKETT: 'Thank you?'
PAUL CASEY: Yeah. No comment probably wisest. (Laughter).
Q. Are you superstitious in nature and would you ask for room 666 in the future?
PAUL CASEY: I would like that room next year if it's available if we stay at the same hotel. And I'm not superstitious, but I always mark my ball with a queen's head facing up, but I'm not superstitious.
Q. Your thoughts on the quality of the field in general and the way that Peter Hanson and Miguel Angel and these guys pushed you all the way today?
PAUL CASEY: It's the Ritz, by the way. Bernie asked a question without the microphone. Sneaky.
I thought we got a great field. And it really -- great players rose, sort of came out in the end there. Miguel, just the sort of conditions you expect Miguel to rise in very, very difficult -- and I didn't see any of his round but I'm sure he just ground it out on what was actually a very tough golf course in the end.
Peter really didn't make any mistakes apart from the last with the bogey. I'm trying to think if he did -- actually he bogeyed the par 5, didn't he, which was a difficult putt. My putt stayed up on that hole and his putt broke off a lot. There was a lot of grain on that putt.
But really, looking at -- I mean, I think he just pulled a very unlucky lie on 18. He had Andy McFee come over and look at that lie and actually inquired as to whether anybody had trodden on the golf ball. So it must have been pretty horrific. As I walked up to the fairway to the left, I think it was Paul Eales, "He's pulled a terrible line, he'll do well to get this on the green or near the green." The way I'm looking at it, he made about one mistake today and I kind of made one mistake, as well, on 16. And that was great golf.
So I'm happy it was a quality field. I like to play in the best events around the world and I think we got a great field this week.
Q. A new tournament on The European Tour, and what are your thoughts on the tournament, and you must be delighted to have qualified for next year, because it becomes a winner's only event next year?
PAUL CASEY: I'm happy I qualified for the Match Play in Finca, as well, before Wentworth. I think it was -- I think this event overall is a huge success. It's nice that we now have a fourth event in this Middle East swing. The growth of golf in this region is obviously massive; I don't have to tell you that.
And it's something different. I've never been to Bahrain so I was intrigued and I'm glad I came. I'm not playing Dubai. I'm going to play next week and then head back to the States. So for me, it worked out brilliantly. If it all gets sort of jiggled around a little bit with who goes first and whatnot next year, we'll have to wait and see, but the fact that we have now got four great events in the Middle East, and this one right off the bat, I think we can list it down as being right up there with the others.
Q. Even Phil leapfrogs you, depending on the result of the Farmers, can you talk about what it means to you to be up there potentially above somebody like Phil Mickelson?
PAUL CASEY: I don't look at it that way. I'm not a big watcher of the World Rankings. You know, that's not -- for me it's about trying to win golf events or winning golf events, so that's the most important thing.
Phil has got a lot of major championships, so the fact that I may move ahead of him in the World Rankings, it's wonderful. But I'd like some major championships and try and emulate the success that Phil Mickelson has had.
Q. Your thoughts on what is an absolutely avant garde trophy and where you might put it in your house?
PAUL CASEY: I love the trophy! I have a very contemporary house so it will fit very nicely in there. A lot of artwork in there. The wife will find somewhere lovely to putt it, I'm sure, on display.
Q. You said before the tournament started, you enjoyed the 9th hole and I think you birdied it every one of the four rounds?
PAUL CASEY: I had an eagle, as well.
Q. Oh, I see. So you obviously enjoyed the 9th hole?
PAUL CASEY: I did enjoy the 9th hole. I was very tempted, actually, there was a few guys banging it down the right-hand side with short irons. And I was tempted. And you might see Monty and his partners throw some more trees and rocks down the right-hand side to stop that from happening next year. But I continued to play down the traditional way of playing it: Down the left down the fairway, and ended up being 5-under for the week on one hole. So I'm pretty happy the way I played it.
Q. How worried were you off the 17th tee with the tee shot, and how good was your approach shot?
PAUL CASEY: What, the fact that I had hit in the water twice this week already? Probably three times. I might have hit in the water in the Pro-Am, as well. I can't stand that tee shot. For whatever reason, I just didn't feel comfortable on it.
But I knew there was loads of room left; half of Bahrain left.
Q. Did you know about the free drop?
PAUL CASEY: Yeah.
Q. And the approach shot, that looked like a pretty good shot as well?
PAUL CASEY: Approach shot was good. A little bit upset it didn't quite reach the green but there was one place my golf ball couldn't go and that was right.
So you know, I drove the ball actually very well the last two days, but still, that 17th, you know, I had a very small target picked out and was committed to it and I just -- whatever. I made four.
Q. Was there any point this week where you knew that this was your tournament to lose, considering you won the two Pro-Am events?
PAUL CASEY: No, I felt it was my tournament to win, if I go out there and played the golf I wanted to.
You know, no, it was -- nothing was a gimmie this week with a field that ended up right behind me. This was no pushover. So no, I look at it the other way.
SCOTT CROCKETT: If there are no more questions for Paul, I think we mentioned Finca Cortesin earlier in one of your answers, and I'm delighted to have Mr. Per Ericsson to invite to step up on the stage for a picture, because as you say, you've qualified for that event. Thank you.
End of FastScripts