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May 30, 2014

Paul Casey


THE MODERATOR:  I'd like to welcome Paul Casey in.  Another fine round today at the Memorial.  Talk about the highlights of your round, what was going well.
PAUL CASEY:  Highlights were probably early on.  Drive down 11 was fantastic.  It's a tough tee shot and found the putting surface probably 12feet or so for eagle, hit a 4‑iron in there.  The putt slipped by.  But then hit it very close on 13.  Hit it close again on 15, made eagle.  And then started hitting it close again on 18 and 1 and a couple of others.
So I had very good control of the irons today.  The driving was still good again.  But I was ecstatic with the way I played.  There was a couple of mistakes in there.  But that's Muirfield Village.  It's a tricky golf course and you don't need to do a lot wrong to make a mistake.

Q.  What did you hit on 13?
PAUL CASEY:  3‑wood, 6‑iron.  I was in the semi on the right‑hand side.

Q.  Would you have thought when you went to bed last night that you would be nine shots clear of Rory?
PAUL CASEY:  No.  No.  I don't know what he‑‑ what did I finish on?  12?  So, no.  I saw the numbers before I went out to play.  But I have no idea how that happened.  No.

Q.  How much more enjoyable is it now to play golf after everything you've been through?
PAUL CASEY:  I have a very good perspective on things.  I can't think of a better word.  There might be one.  I know where everything fits now certainly in my life.  I don't necessarily have it figured out.  But I know how things stack up in importance and good perspective.

Q.  Can you speak to how difficult that was coming‑‑ just the length of the process and all of that, how hard it's been to get from point A to where you are right now?
PAUL CASEY:  It happens in sort of baby steps, I think, which is the most frustrating thing.  It's slowly crawling along and making progress, climbing back up the ladder, however you want to phrase it.
And, yeah, it's very difficult when you've played to a certain level and then you genuinely‑‑ I had genuinely had no clue how to play to that level at certain stages and you start to contemplate:  Well, why am I doing this?  Is there much point continuing?  Do I really want to play this game professionally?
And that's not easy to sort of‑‑ luckily I didn't think about that too long.  And I think I just put myself into‑‑ sort of dove into the challenge of that, and that sort of got absorbed by the process.  And that's the easiest way out of it, because if you sit back and think too much, then it becomes very consuming.  And so I felt like I was on the edge of being consumed sometimes.

Q.  Did you take things for granted before those three years of injuries?  And can you elaborate on exactly how your perspective has changed coming out of that?
PAUL CASEY:  Difficult to say.  I'm going to‑‑ I certainly took for granted my ability to play golf.  I didn't take anything else for granted.  I'm fully aware of how life works.  But the golf side of things, yeah, sure, you stand up and you just go play; this is easy.
What was the second part to that?

Q.  Just elaborating on how the perspective has changed coming out of that.
PAUL CASEY:  Yeah, you know, golf‑‑ no question that golf is the vehicle that drives my life and it's certainly the thing I love to do when I wake up in the morning.  Everything's based around that and I make decisions based on if they're going to enhance what I've got to try to do on the golf course.
But I know where they fit.  If I have to give something up in terms of sort of family and friends and love and all, then golf would be‑‑ I could easily walk away from it from that point of view.  And I've now got‑‑ for those who may or may not know, I'm going to be a dad in September.  And things like that, again, just change my perspective.
Making bogey on 9‑‑ it actually wasn't a bad bogey, good bogey in the end‑‑ knowing that that's ‑‑ I see Pollyanna, my fiancee, and it's like bogey doesn't matter and I know it's not‑‑ it's going to matter even less in September, and that's kind of cool.  And I didn't have that a few years ago, but I have it now.

Q.  Boy or girl?

Q.  Any names?
PAUL CASEY:  No names.  Had a bunch of girls' names picked out.

Q.  We're kind of consumed by this back moment, but you won last year in Ireland, the Irish Open.  So you've won.  What do you think it would take for you to feel like you were back to where you once were, Ryder Cup berth, what?  Ranking?  How do you look at it?
PAUL CASEY:  I don't think it's one thing, because golf I played in Ireland was some spectacular stuff on Sunday.  It was really good in fairly atrocious conditions.  So in terms of the quality of golf I've played, if you look at the 27 I shot the other day playing in some good stuff here, if you measured it against‑‑ I never shot 27 in the past.  And I don't want to continue to look back, or I don't look back at where I was and measure myself against how I used to play.
And taking something like being 3 in the world as a measure, if I get back to 3, hey, then I'm back, I think you can't do that.  You can't control how the other guys play, how World Ranking points are distributed.
All I can do is start trying to rack up wins.  And I don't think one victory or even a couple of victories you can then say, oh, I'm back.  I think hopefully we can have this discussion in five years' time after I've played some great golf for five years and say, all right, now I'm coming back.
But I'm not sure it's one thing.

Q.  You talked about reaching a point during that process where you're ‑‑ how did I do that?  Was there ever a point where you thought:  Maybe I'll never get back here?

Q.  When was that?
PAUL CASEY:  Oh, lots of times.  I don't know.  Standing in the middle of the fairway and you can't hit the green or you're standing on the tee and you can't hit the fairway, yes, it's lots of times.
And I did it out here, that was the thing.  It's not like I kind of just disappeared and just went off the grid for a while.  I was battling through‑‑ I was doing it out here.
And that was quite tough, trying to play tournament‑level golf and I wasn't able to.  You can look up the scores.  There were lots of moments out there.

Q.  When you woke up this morning, did you want to play another round?  Your scores were the same today.  Did you want to play another round just like you played yesterday, and how much of today was a carbon copy of yesterday?
PAUL CASEY:  To be honest, I thought I was going to be playing a round to try and maybe catch a couple of guys.  I thought I was going to be playing a round‑‑ I woke up checking the scores to see what Rory was going to be.  That's really what I was going to be doing.  See how many under I was going to have to try to shoot to chase.
So all I focused on‑‑ because that obviously didn't happen.  All I focused on was just trying to hit fairways and give myself great birdie opportunities.  Be aggressive where I could be, on holes like 18, you know, you get the ball around the back there, you can go at that flag if you're in the middle of fairway.  And just take my chances where I could and pay respect to the golf course where I had to and see what happened.

Q.  I know it's one thing to be in the lead or top of the lead after 36 holes, but these next 36, you haven't been here much in the last five years.  How do you control the nerves, because this is a process still?
PAUL CASEY:  Yeah, it's a bit like riding a bicycle.  I've done it‑‑ I'm excited for tomorrow.  And my goals, I've got big ones; I've got small ones.  There's a whole bunch I can focus on to deflect the pressure.
I'm not particularly‑‑ I'm looking forward to tomorrow.  I'm excited about it.  There's a long way to go.  This is just 36 holes.  There's a lot that can happen between now and Sunday afternoon.

Q.  If you could elaborate more on the tee shot on 11, which you brought up, because it's a quirky little shot.  What's the shape you play there?  If you could speak to that and just the value of fairways particularly on the par 5s which you played well this week?
PAUL CASEY:  I have.  Tee shot on 11 is aim right down the left edge where the creek is, hit it hard and make sure it doesn't go left.

Q.  Worked out well, apparently?
PAUL CASEY:  Yes, it was pretty straight.  I'm not putting a lot of shape on the driver right now.  If I want to really move the ball, especially right to left, I'll go to the 3‑wood.  Pretty much taking dead aim at something and just trying to strike it well.
So 11 is tricky because as it gets hot, that angle starts to narrow.  And it was an easy tee shot yesterday.

Q.  How did you play your third on the 5th, the par 5?  Was that a chip?
PAUL CASEY:  Putts.  Putts.  Yeah, just on the fringe.  It was just shy of the bunker which is kind of back center.  I had six, seven feet of fringe to putt through.  It was like glass.  It was perfect.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you.

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