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May 16, 2014

Paul Casey


THE MODERATOR:  We're joined by Paul Casey, after a 7‑under par 63.  Paul, 27, is that the best you do on that nine?
PAUL CASEY:  That was the best I could do on that nine, yes.

Q.  Comment on a tremendous round of golf.
PAUL CASEY:  To be honest, the first, you know, certainly the first six holes I'm thinking, wow, I'm struggling around this golf course, even 327 I 3‑putted the 9 and thinking I've got a job to do, I've got to focus and I'm not finding it particularly easy, for whatever reason and it's like the seal was broken‑‑ well, I eagled 7 which was fantastic but the seal was broken when I got to 10 and it spiralled from there and I had no concept of the score, I was still very much focused on trying to guarantee I was playing the weekend and then trying to give myself as long of a line as possible.  Even coming up four, five holes to go, 1 or 2 under, for the total, knowing that level par was kind of looking like the cut, grinding away and trying to make as many birdies as possible.  It seems very jammed, seems like 6 under is leading and level is just making it so trying to give myself a chance this weekend.  That's all it was.

Q.  Paul, when did it finally hit you, when you saw the scorecard?
PAUL CASEY:  When my caddy told me, walking off 18, he was struggling to add it up!  Par 35 threw him‑‑ he said I think that's 28‑‑ he's like, oh, yeah.  Genuinely I had no concept of what I was doing out there.

Q.  Can you take me through your two eagles?
PAUL CASEY:  Yeah, No. 7, you'd have to look at the yardage on 7 for the second shot but driver down the right side of the fairway, about 222, high‑cut 4‑iron, I think I had 9 foot 3 inches according to ShotLink.  No. 16, driver down the center of the fairway, about 256 to the flag.  Hit 3‑iron and that putt, I don't know, 35, 40 feet down the hill.

Q.  I take it you haven't had 27 before out here, have you ever had one of those messing around with your buddies?
PAUL CASEY:  On par 3 courses I think.  I've never had‑‑ I remember shooting‑‑ no.  (Laughter.)

Q.  Paul, you played golf at a high level in the past.  Can you remember when you were up at the really top echelon putting together something like that?
PAUL CASEY:  No.  I shot‑‑ I would have to look back, I remember certainly breaking 30, but I actually ‑‑ I don't know if I broke 30 on TOUR.  I may have done it in Germany one year.  I shot a 62 in Cologne with a bogey, 10‑under with a bogey and I may have broken 30 and I remember shooting 29 at Paradise Valley when I was at ASU playing college golf and then choked and shot 38 on the back.  (Laughter.)
Genuinely can't‑‑ I like to think I would be pretty good at shooting low rounds of golf through the past, but certainly nothing like that.

Q.  You're talking about what we refer to as "the zone" you were totally in another world, competitively, totally focused.  I guess the question is have you gotten there before?  Have you ever been there before?  How do you get there?
PAUL CASEY:  It wasn't‑‑ I think if you try to quantify, you know, what the zone was, it wasn't like it was the best ball striking round you've ever seen, I missed fairway and shots even on that 27.
It was the fact that I was so into every single shot and I was in the moment.  I think that's the best way of explaining it.  I stayed present in the "now" didn't Ben Crane do something about that?  I have an image of him dressed up that's not good!  (Laughter.)
That's to me what I was in today, in the zone.  I was in "the now."

Q.  Can you get there voluntarily?  Who escorted you there?
PAUL CASEY:  Who was he?  (Laughter.)  Yeah, I think we all dance‑‑ all these guys out here dance in and out of that.  But it's trying to do that‑‑ and sometimes it's very easy to do in a difficult shot, and you see the shot and you're forced into having to be creative and there is only one option and you're really, really into it and you don't hear people talking and you don't hear the guys cleaning the trash or whatever it is, but it's doing that when you're standing in the middle of the fairway with a fairly benign shot and I did that today for whoever reason.

Q.  Paul, the course itself plays differently obviously with the winds that come out of the south so when you got into that zone, I'm assuming that none of the elements were affecting you, I don't think you were even thinking about that.  You were just thinking about the shot and whatever was out there, it is what it is?  Is that how you played it?
PAUL CASEY:  Certainly.  Although the wind was swirling and I had to‑‑ we were in between a shot on 17 with the wind picking up, it didn't affect me.  Even though the elements are still there, I was very aware of them, but I didn't dislike them or have an issue with them.  Yeah, just very‑‑ sorry, silly, like "total consciousness" popped into my mind.

Q.  (No microphone.)
PAUL CASEY:  I never played this golf course before until this week.  I never played this event before and the practice round I played some holes with Jordan Spieth on Tuesday, and the wind was a north early wind and it threw me for a loop and the Pro‑Am the same.  I found it very, very difficult.  I could see what everybody was saying if the wind was coming from the south or whatever the prevailing wind is this time of year, it's a much more accommodating golf course and set‑up and I think we got a little bit of that today.
So it was a slightly easier golf course for the last nine holes than what I had faced for the first few days of being on site so that helped my psyche.

Q.  You were talking about how the seal was broken around the turn.  How unusual is it to be able to flip the switch on a round in the middle of a round and, you know, obviously set records and that type of thing?  It seems unusual to be able to do that, whether you shot 27 or 30 or whatever.
PAUL CASEY:  I think it's easier when your back is up against the wall, like I was today.  3‑over through six holes isn't exactly a stellar position to be in.  It was a little bit like having that shot out of the trees recovery shot.  I was forced‑‑ I was backed into a corner and had to do something.  A little shift in, let's say, attitude, a little shift in goals.  You focus that point you're aiming at a little bit more.  I spent the last 12 holes describing the shot to Paul my caddy.  We got very‑‑ we verbalized everything is the best way of explaining it.
A little bit like I'll be watching Jordan Spieth on TV and how he's talking through every shot.  It was a little bit of that situation today not knowing this golf course I verbalized everything to Paul and described everything I was going to do, that way I was accountable for it, he knew if I didn't hit that shot, then I didn't pull it off, and it allowed me to be incredibly specific with what I was trying to do and I think when you're picking out such a small target your misses are then smaller as well.

Q.  In terms of the seal being broken there on the back nine, was there a particular shot or just a "feel" that hit you?  Any one shot that sticks out on the back nine?
PAUL CASEY:  Probably the second shot into 7, actually, the 4‑iron, 9 feet, it was a hanging lie, ball above feet, downhill lie and I hit a high cut which isn't the easiest off of that kind of lie and it was‑‑ I really enjoyed it.  I was really happy with the way I executed that shot, couldn't have played it any better, and that certainly gave me a shot of confidence, and maybe a lucky break on 11.  I played 10 very well and made birdie, but 11 I went for the green and left it short right above the bunker, which guards that section and the pin is front right today and I had an awkward stance, where if I couldn't take my normal stance I would be standing in the bunker, which was impossible from where I was and I almost toe‑shanked it.  I'll confess I was trying to play 6‑feet left of the flag and use the green that I had long because there was no way I could get spin on it and I sort of toe‑shanked it, because I have no idea how it ended up 6‑feet right of the flag and you would have to look at shot link but probably 17 feet or something like that for birdie so that was a huge break.  So I had my good breaks as well, I had my rub with the green.

Q.  Did you pick playing a practice round with Jordan because of his course knowledge here?  You couldn't have picked a better partner.
PAUL CASEY:  No, and Colt Knost was the other guy, no, pure chance.  I walked to the tee‑‑ we had a players‑‑ Monday to her players' meeting that I was attending and I knew I had to be off the course at a certain time and went to the tee earlier that day and it was jam packed, full all down the fairway and full down the green, full everywhere.  And I went to the putting green and went back to the tee later, random, totally and two good guys to play with because they both know Texas golf well.

Q.  Not having played here before, what was the reason to play here this week?
PAUL CASEY:  I was in, so why not?  Hey!  I got in, so I'm‑‑ I'm very keen to get full playing rights back over here, and the game is good the last couple of outings I have had on TOUR have been good performances, I played really, really well in New Orleans.  Yeah, why not?

Q.  Are you playing Wentworth next week?
PAUL CASEY:  No.  Although you've got it now on tape I might actually kindly ask you from say anything, the TOUR knows, and I'm not going to lie you and the TOUR knows but the reason I'm not going is I've been advised not to travel because of the green card stuff going on it.  So we'll see if you don't write that.  I can't lie to you.  If you ask me a question.
THE MODERATOR:  Paul, we appreciate your time.

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