What they said: Paul Casey

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March 17, 2011
PGA TOUR staff

MORE INTERVIEWS: Transitions Championship transcript archive

DOUG MILNE: Paul Casey, thanks for joining us after a quite successful first round here at the transition championship, bogey-free 7-under 64 today. If I looked at it correctly I think this is just your second start here. Why don't you just talk, a couple opening comments about the state of your game. Obviously you have to be feeling good about it and then we'll open up and take a few questions.

PAUL CASEY: Yes, well, today was lovely. Bogey-free is always nice. It's nice to be back here at a golf course that I really like. A bit of a ball-striker's golf course, so I thought it would suit my game.

And the state of my game is going in the right direction. I felt like I played some pretty good golf in the Middle East to start things off. And since being back in the States, it's been very close to being good but just not quite there. A few too many mistakes, and today was an illustration of getting rid of the mistakes. So I was happy with that.

But it was very benign out there. It was beautiful golfing conditions. So have to take advantage of it.

Q. Where does this round rank with your rounds this year? Is it the best?

PAUL CASEY: Best ball-striking round of the year. Yeah, I think I've hit 15 greens today. Missed a few fairways. But this place is pretty tight. I'm not good at remembering my rounds of golf. I'm going to think I probably played some decent stuff in Bahrain and ground it out very well, but I wasn't striking it brilliantly. Yeah, this was fun today.

Q. Any trouble spots??

PAUL CASEY: Yeah, stuck it in the trees on 5. And luck of the Irish, I got a nice, clean sort of breakthrough the trees. Not a big gap. Probably a six-, seven-foot gap, about 170 yards or so and hit a beautiful 5-iron under the trees through the gap up on to the green through the gap to about five feet and missed the putt. Poor tee shot and then got lucky and played a very good recovery.

There were moments like that. I would seem to miss it on the right sides with the fairways; like missed it left on 16, and still made par. Just missed it in the right places.

Q. So is this the kind of break you would get if you wear a green shirt on St. Patrick's Day??

PAUL CASEY: Yes, exactly. The brighter the green, the more luck you've got.

Q. You're still working with Peter Kostis??

PAUL CASEY: I am.

Q. What are the two of you working on these days??

PAUL CASEY: It's just a progression. It seems like it's the same stuff we have been working on for the last ten, 11 years. I must admit, I have not seen him that much. This is my seventh event in nine weeks. It's been pretty hectic.

The last time I saw him, it was kind of repairing the damage that the travel does to the golf swing; getting the grip and the alignment where back where it should be. I always have a habit of laying in too far right; grip gets weak, and you know, spine ankle doesn't stay there through the swing. Just sort of basic stuff.

And he usually just gives me sort of two, three drills to work on: Hit with your feet together, and try and hit shots sort of flat-footed and things like that. Just very basic stuff.

Q. So he doesn't screen and say, what have you been doing since the last time I saw you??

PAUL CASEY: No, one of the things he's always said to me. He said, "If you return after a trip away playing golf with a golf swing which is as good or better than when you left, then you haven't been playing golf. You've been playing golf swing."

So he expects the swing to deteriorate. He thinks that's something -- a natural occurrence. That's what you're trying to do. You're trying to hit golf shots. I'm not trying to make golf swings.

For example, if I'm wearing waterproofs and stuff, the ball might star to creep further away from me.

Q. Just to get the stuff out of the way??

PAUL CASEY: Things like that. That happens. He can kind of tell -- and he can tell whether I've been playing golf, trying to hit golf shots, or whether I've been trying to swing the club nicely.

Q. I know some people were surprised, I think you already talked about your scheduling, people were surprised you were not going back to Houston, probably didn't realize you played seven out of nine weeks. Can you talk about what you had to weigh to figure out your schedule??

PAUL CASEY: Yeah, it was a very difficult decision. I sat down, again, with Mr. Kostis. Sat down with Peter at the beginning of the season and I said, what do you think, and wanted to get ready for -- as prepared as I could for the majors.

And if you look at my history in terms of how I've played, sometimes after victories, I've always struggled after victories. I don't know why. Fatigued, whatever it is. But I've performed poorly. So we want to go back to sort of being nice and fresh going into Majors and it was a very difficult decision to tell Steve Timms that I would not be at Houston.

So, yeah, it's not something that's going to be permanent. That's just, we wanted to try it this year and see how it went.

Yeah, seven in nine weeks has been a lot and I must admit, I'm looking forward to two weeks off. And if I don't play well at Augusta, then I'll be calling up Steve Timms saying, "I'm really sorry." (Laughter).

Q. Have you got a similar plan for the other majors, taking time off??

PAUL CASEY: Yeah, I won't play the week before the U.S. Open. And typically I've not played the week before the Open. The PGA is always the different one because you have Bridgestone before it.

Yeah, seems to be a common thread.

Q. Are you trying to manage your European schedule and U.S. schedule to keep your membership on both tours? Does that add to the stress of it all?

PAUL CASEY: It's always a little tricky. You know, it's quite feasible to pull it off, if you have a World Ranking in the Top-50. Outside of that, I think it's near impossible.

And last year, I played very good golf, and I guess had an outside shot of -- a chance of winning the FedExCup, probably was too far outside of the sort of money or the points in The Race to Dubai to give it a go.

But, it's difficult now with 15 and 13. I try and manage the schedule so I'm as fresh as I can be for majors and then go down and pick events of importance, WGC and PLAYERS Championship and BMW Championship in Europe.

And then after that, it's golf courses I play well at or places I enjoy. That's why I put this event in; a golf course I had only been to once, but what I remembered, you know, tough ball-striker's golf course, very different from a lot of the Florida golf courses that I have played before. And got a brilliant field, as well, so there's going to be good World Ranking points.

So it kind of ticked all of the boxes putting in this weekend. It's always difficult, and the problem is we have so many wonderful events, and there are always going to be tournament directors who are going to be disappointed when you don't turn up somewhere.

But it's difficult, and I think they understand our position, as well. We want to play everything you can, but especially when you're playing two tours; it's difficult to please everybody.

Q. Is it more fun for to you keep track of World Rankings or do you watch them closer now that one guy isn't miles way ahead of everybody else now? Theoretically it can be somebody different every couple of weeks.

PAUL CASEY: It can be, but I don't study it. I don't number crunch. Usually I get other people telling me that; Kostis, again, he'll go, "If you win this week, you're going to go to 3." It's good fun.

Q. More so than a year and a half when Tiger was No. 1 in perpetuity??

PAUL CASEY: I'd say so, yeah.

Q. Do you think that's more interesting for the public, too, to see different faces and to see the reshuffling??

PAUL CASEY: I think so. I hope so. I don't know. You know, we all know who has been the greatest golfer for the last ten years. But I think the World Rankings are pretty reflective of who has been playing great golf for the last couple of years.

They are fun. They are not the be-all and end-all, are they. They are not completely accurate. But how else are we going to do it.

Q. Would you shorten the length of time to one year from two years??

PAUL CASEY: I'm not sure shorten the length of time. I heard a suggestion the other day at the Match Play about wins counting for more points and maybe the margin of victory contributing to the points you gain. So if you win, you get X number of points but if you win by five, you're going to get a bonus going into that, which was actually -- I'm not a mathematician, but that sounded very interesting. Probably would have put Tiger so far ahead that he would still be No. 1 by his victories in the past and beaten us by ten.

Q. That's why I asked about the one year versus two years, because he was ranked while he was not even playing.

PAUL CASEY: I don't think the players have got an issue with the -- I think the players are pretty happy with the ranking system. Seems to be a lot of debate coming from other quarters. I wouldn't change it unless I see a really good suggestion on how to do it.

Q. What would you consider the keys to your round today? Why was the low scoring there?

PAUL CASEY: Good iron play I would say. Yeah, very good iron play. Certainly long iron play was good. And I think that's a key on the par 3s around here. The par 3s are pretty tough.

And let me just quickly think; I gave myself -- with the exception of 17, yeah, I gave myself good opportunities on the par 3s, and I think that was the key.

And on the other holes, as well. I think you can't say this is a tee shot golf course or a second-shot golf course. I just think it's a ball-striker's golf course. Yeah, I just did a good job of -- and you have to keep it below the hole and I did that very well. Good distance control. Good irons and good distance control.

Q. How do you approach tomorrow in do you just have amnesia about today??

PAUL CASEY: Yeah, maybe I'll wear green again. (Laughter).

Q. Do you have St. Patrick's Day plans tonight??

PAUL CASEY: No. No green beer. I like my beer but not tonight.

Q. Have you been here long enough to have picks in the NCAA pool??

PAUL CASEY: I did some for somebody. I've got no clue. I think I had Ohio State winning it. But I'm clueless. (Laughing is).

DOUG MILNE: Paul, congratulations, and appreciate the time.

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