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March 7, 2012

Paul Casey


PAUL SYMES:  Warm welcome, Paul.  Tell us how the shoulder is.
PAUL CASEY:  Shoulder feels very good.  It's probably 90 percent.  It's certainly good enough to hit golf balls and get back on the golf course.
I've had really good rehab.  Work with a guy called Dave Edwards back in Arizona. He was with the Diamondbacks for about 12 years, knows shoulders very, very well.  Luckily there was no surgery.  It was just purely rehab, so it's feeling strong, and just now got to get all that work I've been putting into the shoulder, now I have to do a lot of work on the golf game to get the golf game back.
PAUL SYMES:  There's never a good time to be injured, but perhaps a good time, you didn't miss any majors, could have been worse.
PAUL CASEY:  Yeah, I didn't miss any majors, and that was the fortunate timing of it.  You know, I've missed five events so far this year.  I would have obviously gone back to defend the Volvo Golf Champions in South Africa.  Missed the Middle East swing and the Match Play.  Looking at 25 events this year, I've missed a fifth, I think I'll throw in some events as the golf game gets stronger and as the year goes on, get some more in and still try to play my 25 this year.
PAUL SYMES:  Is this week about managing expectations?  Bound to be a bit of rust.
PAUL CASEY:  I think my expectations are fairly low (smiling) I've not played.  In fact, the first time I walked around 18 holes was Monday here.  I've not even managed 18 holes back at home.  Still fresh after getting the all‑clear to go ahead and start playing golf.
So you know, very much finding my feet on the golf course, but the only way to get sharp and back into the swing of things is actually playing tournament golf.  And the goal after discovering what I've done to the shoulder was to get ready for Augusta and that's still the plan.
So for me, this is‑‑ I'm here and I want to play well, and I'd love to win this tournament, but, you know, my expectations are low and we are just going to get ready and go into Augusta fresh and excited and hopefully the golf game will get nice and sharp so we can try and win there.

Q.  I imagine an injury like that when it actually happens is a fairly scary thing for a golfer; were you very worried when it happens?
PAUL CASEY:  When I did it, yeah, I was worried because I didn't know what I had done to the shoulder.  Heard a sound, felt the pain, and within a few minutes, couldn't move the arm.  So I knew I had done something.  And I'm not an expert at injuries, so I didn't know whether it was a dislocation or a torn something or a separation.
By the time we got back down the mountain and they had it X‑rayed and told me I had dislocated it, and then an hour after it came out of its socket, it went back in; they put it back in and the pain went from a 9 or a 10 down to a 1.  I thought it was great, I thought maybe I can be ready for Abu Dhabi or Qatar or something like that.  I had absolutely no clue, no clue how long a dislocation takes to repair.
Finding out that I didn't need surgery was a relief because the surgery was going to be a four‑ to six‑month ‑‑ basically would have wiped out the whole season if I had needed surgery.  So, it was a relief.
The plan was to really hit the rehab hard and get ready for Augusta.  Once I discovered that it was going to be sort of eight weeks, nine weeks, whatever, it was kind of a relief.  It would have been nice to actually plan the break from golf a little bit better.
But, yeah, scared at first with what it was going to be and a little bit of relief after that.

Q.  Did you just say you're not an expert on injuries?  You said that with a straight face?
PAUL CASEY:  Yes.  (Smiling).

Q.  Then who would that be?
PAUL CASEY:  Yeah, I'm getting good at it.  I learned more about shoulders, Hill‑Sachs lesion and things like that.  You might have to look that one up.

Q.  You said you were relieved you didn't have to have surgery.  What did they tell you?  There was a possibility you might have to have surgery, did you have a nervous wait?
PAUL CASEY:  Yeah, as with everything, I believe in getting a couple of opinions.  Not that you don't sort of trust a doctor but it's just‑‑ I think it's just important to get a couple of experts to look at stuff so that if their diagnosis were to match up, you know they are spot on.
And one of the guys I saw said:  Well, I'm not recommending surgery, but surgery is a possibility, and you know, said that it was four to six months, and that was a little bit worrying.  It was another couple of days until I saw another doctor and then sort of opinions, diagnosis matched up, so we don't need to.  You don't have to if it's the first time you've dislocated it.  The damage to the labrum isn't that bad.  Shoulder was in good condition before you did this, and with good rehab, there's no reason why it can't be back to 100 percent.
So after that‑‑

Q.  So those two days, were they pretty hellish?
PAUL CASEY:  Yeah, wasn't great.  It's four to six months of being out and surgery‑‑ surgery could be done instantly, but‑‑

Q.  That would be 2012 gone basically.

Q.  Since you're a little behind, what are you going to do the rest of the way?  I take it you're going back to Houston this year, adding a few between now and then?  What's the rough plan assuming there are no setbacks?
PAUL CASEY:  Rough plan is to get back on the golf course, be on the golf course as much as possible.  This week, Tampa, Houston, Augusta.  Then I'm off to China a couple of weeks after that, Volvo China Open, and then I know certain events I'd like to play.  There will be obvious like Wentworth and things like that, we'll see as we go down the road.

Q.  You've had a bit of a crappy time of it the last year, you had the turf toe and then this.  So how demoralized were you when this happened again, because you seem to have sort of‑‑ Shanghai, you were turning the corner and then probably really looking forward to 2012 and this happens.
PAUL CASEY:  It was a little bit; more than a little bit.  Yeah, just frustrating.  You know, I'm not afraid to go and sort of get away from the golf and go mountain biking or snowboarding.
And with this, trying to do everything‑‑ not trying to wrap myself up but when this happened, I was taking less risks.  I was wearing helmets; I was wearing wrist guards; I was trying to enjoy myself but do it sensibly and safely.  This was a very benign fall which resulted in the injury.
Yeah, just kind of like, you know, clearly, if I had not gone snowboarding, this wouldn't have happened but thinking in a sort of‑‑ maybe this is it, three injuries, three strikes and that will be it.  I mean, that's what I'm hoping.  You know, the others have been‑‑ have come about from golf‑specific activities.  This obviously not.
But yeah, just frustrating that it just takes time way from what I want to do and what I love doing; you know, being out on the golf course.  It's obviously a setback.  I've got to figure out the golf again.  I've got to work on the swing and get the swing back and the golf game and the confidence going again.  It is a little bit demoralizing, but it's also a challenge and it's one I can either rise to or get fed up with and let it affect.
So I'm taking it as a challenge, and you know, if anything, it's actually sparked my love for the game again.  There's a point where certainly a lot of us travel so much.  Season ends in December, and then getting on a plane to go to South Africa for Volvo Champions, there was not going to be a lot of time between that, not a lot of off time.  So been doing it ten years, starting to get a little bit sort of burnt out.
Sitting on the sofa and going to rehab and watching the great golf that's been played so far this year, really is‑‑ lit a fire underneath me.  You know, certainly regained my love for the game and my passion for it.  And so maybe it's the sort of best‑‑ best injury I've ever had and there's actually a lot of sort of positives that come out of it.  Without that, I may be sitting here already tired and fatigued and drained and sort of looking at the Masters going, ready, three months into the year going, I'm exhausted, when am I going to get a break.
I'm clearly the freshest guy out here this week.  (Laughter).

Q.  Lots of players have been injured and they have had to play a restricted schedule and did brilliantly.  I think Justin Rose became European No. 1 that year, played 16 or 18 events, not very many.  It could well work in your favor.
PAUL CASEY:  It could, and that's the way I'm looking at it.  I've got an awful lot of work to do, but if the body‑‑ if I just stay off the snowboard, then there's no reason why I can't get that work done and get the golf game back to where I was in 2006 or better.

Q.  It's a fast‑moving world; are you sitting there thinking:  Oh, God, this may be passing you buy, do you ever fear that?  I'm sure you don't think that but does it ever cross your mind?
PAUL CASEY:  With the golf game or my snowboarding?

Q.  Well, there's people coming out of nowhere‑‑
PAUL CASEY:  I've done it long enough to know that there's always new, fresh faces, and it's moving.  You're right, it's moving very, very quickly.  But ultimately it's myself against the golf course.
You know, I've still got a good ten‑plus years, if I don't continue to injure myself, of getting the most out of my body.  It seems like the standard of golf keeps going up.  So it's just a challenge.  I don't think of it that way.  I appreciate what you're saying.  Every year‑‑ Luke Donald this year has to go out and he wants to regain being No. 1 and has to show everybody again the golf he played last year.  Rory is going to have‑‑ you always have to continue to prove yourself.  You're only as good as your last performance.

Q.  And that's what you're facing; you put it in the context that it's no different.
PAUL CASEY:  It's no different from what everybody else faces out here.  Just starting at a slightly different point.

Q.  Just being a Ryder Cup year, wondering if that adds a little urgency to it, being a little bit behind, and some guys have already cranked up a good bit of money and you're sitting on sort of‑‑
PAUL CASEY:  Nothing.

Q.  Nothing, to put it mildly.
PAUL CASEY:  I don't think it adds any urgency or any pressure.  It's a no‑lose situation.  Just go out there, play great golf, try my best.  I would love to make that team.  I want to make that team.  I think I will make that team.  Just have to‑‑ I've just got to play the golf I know I'm capable of and start winning tournaments and that will take care of itself.

Q.  You got that X‑ray in your iPhone?
PAUL CASEY:  I do have the X‑ray.

Q.  Can you show us?
PAUL CASEY:  You want to see it?

Q.  You were going to show me before and you never e‑mailed it.
PAUL CASEY:  (Nodding).

Q.  Pretty bad?
PAUL CASEY:  It's not where it's meant to be.  I'll e‑mail it to you.

Q.  It's inevitable that you will be sort of the forgotten man in England because of your injuries and Luke and Lee and Rory with the U.K. thing; is that a driving thing, to get back into the headlines, in a positive way?  Is that something you use?

Q.  Because nobody wants to be forgotten, do they.
PAUL CASEY:  I don't think I'm forgotten.  And it's not‑‑ the motivation isn't to get into the headlines.  The motivation is to win golf events.  I can keep injuring myself and keep getting in the headlines that way (laughter) but that only lasts so long.
They have been playing great golf, and you're right, I'm one of a couple of players who are not mentioned as much.  But the only way to fix that is to get back into the winner's circle, and that's‑‑ they have been playing phenomenal golf.  What they have been doing, it's motivation.  Watching Rory's performance last week and Luke's performance last year in other tournaments; watching Rory at the Match Play against Hunter, it's been inspiring to watch.
I've rarely had the opportunity the last ten years to sit down and watch golf, and to be honest, I never have the last ten years.  I've not been one to watch golf.  I don't like to watch it.  If I'm not there, I don't really want to see what's going on.  I'll know what's going on and I'll know the results, but I don't watch it.
But I actually watched; I watched L.A.; I watched the Match Play; I watched a bit of the Honda before I got on the plane to come here; watched a bunch of stuff in the Middle East.  I've never done that before.  It was very inspiring to watch and sort of thinking, I've won Abu Dhabi a couple of times, and I'm watching these guys and I know that golf course.
Yeah, it lit something, which I found fun, and it has inspired me to get back to where I've been before, or actually better.

Q.  Like to talk to you about the par3s on the back nine here, the 13th is the longest par 3 on the golf course, how do you approach that?  It's usually pretty windy out there.  How do you tactically go about your day there?
PAUL CASEY:  13, you just try and hit the green.  I've read what Westy said yesterday.  (Laughter) Big fan, big fan of the 13th.  Westy was right.  If you land the ball on the front of the green, it bounces over the back and if you land it short of the green, it stays short.
So four pars on 13 would be wonderful.  Everybody in the field I think would take that.  Yeah, you just try and land it if you can a foot on the green and just try to keep it in the middle with whatever club that is.  It plays long and plays anywhere from a sort of 5‑iron to 3‑iron, maybe more.  Take your 3 and move on to the next.

Q.  And the 15th hole, much shorter, start of a couple of holes where you might make some birdies; is that all systems go there?
PAUL CASEY:  It is.  It's a good par 3.  It's a very shallow green.  Left and right are not really‑‑ the difficulty, the problem there is the club choice off the tee.
Again, you just want something you can just drop over that front bunker.  It's a deep front bunker and some shallow back bunkers but it's a very well guarded hole.  It's all about distance control on that.  We are going to be limited this week with pin locations and I'm not expecting the pins to be tucked away in the corners as they have in the past.
As you guys know, there's been a little bit of vandalism over there.  So I think the TOUR will probably just try to keep it in a couple of areas where the green is still pretty good and they have done a great job of repairing it.  But I think it's going to unfortunately take away some of those tucked pins, so most guys are just trying to find the center of the green there.  If you hit the center of the green, you leave yourself a 15‑foot putt, at most, to any hole location.

Q.  A lot of guys when they are injured don't want to watch golf on TV either.  Was there something specific, a specific tournament that prompted you to turn it on in the first place and you decided, this isn't so bad to watch?
PAUL CASEY:  You know, there wasn't a lot I can do.  He wasn't allowed to ride my bike, go running, couldn't work out.  Part of that, there just wasn't much to do.  I'm not into shopping much.  Internet shopping is my thing; staying at home; turn on the TV.  You know, I could chip and putt, just sort of stay in touch with the game and just almost like osmosis, maybe if I watch it enough, maybe I'll take in some of what's going on.
Watching the way Rory has been swinging the club‑‑ part of that, when I was allowed to hit balls a couple of weeks ago, one of the things I got doing, which I need to break the habit is swinging the club with the body and not letting that right arm to just sort of go.
So hitting it a lot with the body‑‑ I'm not an expert on the swing, but to me, it looks like Rory swings the club, he swings the club head and everything else reacts to that.  And so just watching that time after time, that's sort of something I need to emulate, which is the way I used to swing it and I've got a little bit away from because of the shoulder.
So watching that and just trying to learn, basically.  Watch the way the club's being swung and watch the way these guys are playing the golf course, course management, strategy, just try to pick up little tips and see what's going on.

Q.  Do you feel better or worse after watching the golf with Phil getting his MoJo back, Tiger shooting 62, Rory playing his butt off, looks like a lot of the pieces are coming together.  Kind of wish the Masters was tomorrow, actually, personally.  For?
PAUL CASEY:  For who?  For me?

Q.  For everyone.
PAUL CASEY:  I wish it was in the same date‑‑ what was the question?  (Laughter).
What was the question?

Q.  I don't know.  I'm not sure there was one.  Withdrawn.

Q.  Just watching the golf on TV, you never see what viewers are getting week‑in and week‑out, and there was great golf and Rory at the weekend has been an example.  But there's been some dull, slow play, as well.  Do you feel you notice that more by watching it on TV?
PAUL CASEY:  (Nodding).

Q.  What would you do about it?
PAUL CASEY:  Yeah, I'm not a fan of slow play.  What would I do about it?  I'm not sure.  It seems like fines never seem to get us to move.  Never seems like we are timed enough.  It doesn't seem to be that it's‑‑ what's the word I'm looking for.  You know, it's not really a loss of face if we play slow.  It should mean more if we are slow out there.  It seems like it doesn't.
So I mean, the real way of getting guys to speed up would eventually be if there were enough bad timings, then it would be shots.  I think that's the only way, shots mean a lot more than just a fine.  But then some people say that's too harsh.
I think just‑‑ I think all the guys out there can be quick when they want to be.  It's just being ready and it's just that we are allowed to get away with it and when we are allowed to get away with it, we'll be as slow as we want.  It should police itself more.  I guess we shouldn't rely on the rules official and the TOUR to make us be quick.  Seems like there's not enough incentive or enough punishment.

Q.  If you were punished shots in one tournament, you might be pretty furious, but you would make sure next time it didn't happen again.
PAUL CASEY:  I think so.  But that would also be a crap way to lose a golf tournament, wouldn't it, but maybe that's what it has to be.  I don't know.
You know, I've got to think that it's killing participation in our sport, as well.  It's not enticing people into this game.  It's a great game but if it takes that long, if it takes five, six hours or whatever it was taking at Pebble Beach to get around a golf course; one, it's not enjoyable to watch on TV; and two, people don't have that much time.  You can't just nip out for a quick six‑hour round.  (Laughter).
'I'll be home in ten hours, just popping out for a quick round of golf.'  (Laughing).
PAUL SYMES:  Thank you.

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