February 9, 2019
THE MODERATOR: We would like to welcome Paul Casey to the interview room here at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. You completed your third round, 5-under today. Could we get some opening comments about how it went out there.
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, it was great. Obviously I played very, very well. Very happy with my score. I am having a blast. I played with Graeme McDowell and his partner and my partner, Don Colleran from FedEx. We teamed up together last year and we had good success last year. We're chasing Fitzgerald and who was it, Streelman? We're determined to try and beat them this year. So we're putting up a good challenge, so, yeah. The rain stayed away for most of the day. Happy.
THE MODERATOR: With rain coming most of yesterday and a little bit today, how did that affect the course conditions with it being so soft.
PAUL CASEY: You have to be very aggressive, you have to manage spin as much as you can. I just saw Phil's shot out of the bunker at 4 at Pebble. It's very difficult to get close to some of the back pin locations. But guys know these courses well because we play them all the time in the rotation. And, yeah, the courses are doing remarkably well considering somebody threw out a stat that we have had, I don't know what they, half the rainfall, annual rainfall in a few days or whatever stat was, I don't know. But it was, the courses are doing well, the staff have been amazing to prepare the courses the way they did, especially after yesterday's deluge. They should be applauded.
THE MODERATOR: Open it up for questions.
Q. I don't want to bore everyone to tears here but I would be curious how you birdied the par-5s. How, in other words, did you, were they 2-putt birdies? Did you do anything exceptional? And how you played the 9th hole?
PAUL CASEY: At Spyglass? How did I play the 9th hole? My birdies today on the par-5s, I need to look at the scorecard. Is 7 a par-5? Driver down the right, 4-iron, chunk short of the green, 40 yards short of the flag, 30 yards short of the flag, pitched up to five feet and made it. 11, good drive, 5-iron pin high left of the green, not very far, only about 30 feet away, and I chipped up out of the fringe to a foot.
Q. 14, there's a little water down to the right by the green.
PAUL CASEY: Into the wind and the rain, it was raining at that point, good drive, center of the fairway, laid up with a 5-iron, 115 yards. I chipped a 9-iron to take the spin off of it to about eight feet pin high right and made it.
Q. How was the 9th playing? And then I'll hang up and listen.
PAUL CASEY: The 9th is playing beautifully because I birdied it. The 9th was, it was a good time of the day. It was, for me, it was sunny, I hit a great drive down there and about 170ish, 175 yards, I hit a soft 6-iron to the back left portion of the green and made my putt. How was it playing? It was playing fine.
Q. Soft 6?
PAUL CASEY: Soft 6. Yes.
Q. You mentioned the back pins and difficulty of managing spin and whatnot. I would be curious if, when you talk about altitude --
PAUL CASEY: Or lack of.
Q. Mexico city and things like that and in terms of how you make an adjustment. How do you make a judgment on distance and cold sea level weather? Is there a formula for it?
PAUL CASEY: Well, for us, we lean on technology a little bit. So all these launch monitors, we had those out early in the week. It is my, I've got a base set of numbers that I work with which seems to serve me quite well for a sort of a, let's just say, a nice spring day in Phoenix, let's say. Sort of 75 degrees, decent, whatever we'll say, a thousand feet, 1,500 feet above sea level, and I'm a full club shorter here this week, with, as it stands right now with decent sunshine outside. So when you throw in the rain and then bitter cold this morning. What we do is I have a warm-up routine, so we test those numbers in the morning and adjust those as the day goes on. Johnny seems to take care of most of it but it's really just, it's, all it is is really just doing your homework. It's experience, I guess. If you don't have experience, then doing your, yeah, doing your homework. There's no excuse to not know those numbers with access to technology.
Q. Does it matter one way or the other not being with the celebrities? Is it advantageous?
PAUL CASEY: Are you suggesting Don Colleran is not a celebrity?
Q. The so called A group for TV and on Pebble on Saturday.
PAUL CASEY: Doesn't matter. I think it can certainly have an effect of who you play with. I don't think it matters whether it's a celebrity, an athlete, an actor, CEO, it doesn't matter. If you have a rapport with your other players' partners in your group, mine being G-Mac and Ed Brown, I've known G-Mac since I was a kid and Ed, I've only met him this week, but very, very nice guy. And so we had a good group. And G-Mac played well and Ed's a wonderful player. He plays off 2 and he's a genuine 2. So we had a good time. Yeah, I've had groups before, whether it's here or Dunhill, where you don't get the synergy, it can matter. But to your question about being away from the hoopla and celebrities, it doesn't matter, as long as -- because I played with Bill Murray in a group before at Dunhill and I had a great time. And he's being Bill. Doesn't bother me because I get along with him and I enjoy it.
Q. Last year was your first start here in 16 years. I'm just curious what was going on through that stretch where you weren't able to play here and was it a matter of kind of learning how to accept the format that's here, because a lot of guys say that's part of the process of being able to succeed in this event.
PAUL CASEY: I think you're right. That is some, that is key to success this week. I started here, my, I think this was the very first ever professional event I played in, TOUR event I played in, PGA TOUR, European TOUR, any, Paul Spangler was kind enough to reach out to me and I just turned pro and extend an invite through various, through the right channels. And I partnered with Seth Waugh that year, failed miserably. Still have a friendship with Seth, so I guess I didn't fail totally. And then when my career progressed I predominantly played in Europe. So the middle east swing, that time of year, was clashing for a lot of it, so I didn't really have the opportunity to play because I was focused over there. And then the last few years stepping away from European Tour in 2014, 2015 season, yeah, it wasn't really kind of on the radar again. I didn't really think about it. And my relationship with Don has grown and he really wanted to play. And I was a little reticent I admittedly, having seen this so much on TV, knowing what it can be like around here. There are two factors, two big factors, one is the weather, obviously. If you have great weather this is one of the best places on planet; and two, if you have right partner it can be wonderful and if you don't -- so it's, it's a tricky one. I can, at least I can guarantee one of those elements. Last year we had both. And it was such a great experience with Don that I thought even if we get a bad year weather-wise, I mean it's a wonderful place to be. He's such a great guy to play with. The U.S. Open's here in June. I've got to do it again. Why not? I had success -- ultimately with my game, everybody's hitting it longer than I am these days, so I got to cherry pick. And I had a decent result around here last year. So it's going to stay on. As long as I have decent results, why wouldn't I play it.
Q. And speaking of the U.S. Open, obviously you played with a guy that had some success here in 2010. Curious, during the course of the three days, what kind of conversations did you guys have just about this course, just about the whole atmosphere, that type of thing?
PAUL CASEY: Actually very little. G-Mac and I didn't really discuss, it got mentioned once within the first three holes, I think, mentioned 2010, when was it? 2010? I think I shot 69 in the first round and was tied for the lead and then I finished middle of the pack or bottom of the pack. Yeah, I didn't watch much of G-Mac's final round, admittedly. No, we just, so we have been friends for such a long time through amateur golf and now professional golf. We chat about everything but. Food mainly. And alcohol.
Q. Have you ever gotten more attention for a tournament you didn't play?
PAUL CASEY: Are you talking about --
PAUL CASEY: Saudi Arabia? No.
Q. Are you happy with how that turned out, your decision, did you pay a lick of attention to it last week?
PAUL CASEY: Am I happy? I don't like that question.
Q. I didn't either.
PAUL CASEY: I'm not going to answer that am I happy, but I stand firm on what I said.
Q. Did you pay much attention to it last week at all?
PAUL CASEY: Not a lot. No. Too busy with the kids. I saw some headlines and I saw what happened during the event and Sergio and stuff, but.
Q. Which led to my last question. Going to L.A. next week as you are, as is he, what, as close as you are to him, what would you say to him if he asked, and what kind of advice would you have for him?
PAUL CASEY: Sergio?
PAUL CASEY: I don't know. Probably just go talk to him. See what's on his mind.
Q. (No Microphone.)
PAUL CASEY: I think -- yeah, the behavior is not acceptable. But what's going on? What's led to that behavior? That's the question.
Q. How did you find Pebble Beach on Thursday, and what did you see as far as what can help you not only tomorrow, but with the U.S. Open coming up?
PAUL CASEY: It's a course I love. It's also going to be very different in June. So what we have learned so far is the lines. I think the mowing patterns are already set for June, it looks like. There's some there's been some fairway, yeah, mowing patterns have changed. 8 is the biggest change. Used to aim it, I know the gentleman well, used to aim at this gentleman's house on the hill. And now you aim at the gentleman next to him. The next door neighbor. It's a 15-, 20-yard shift, that fairway to the right, to bring the cliff into play and the water into play. So, yeah, I played a practice round on Tuesday, and then tournament round on Thursday, so I know the lines off the tee, so I'm still getting used to them. That's changed some clubs because now you got to play a little bit shorter on 8 because you don't have as much room to play with. That's going to help. Other than that, every time I play Pebble I learn a little bit. I don't know this place as well as other classic venues that we play, so every day's a bit of a school day. But I feel good. I feel happy with the game, my ball striking's not been its usual solid display, but my putting's been much better considering the surfaces that we get, with the amount of traffic, and we know that they're soft, there are footprints. I will say this, I think the rule that's been added of being able to repair the green surfaces and bring them into a alignment of what they, where they're meant to be, however that rule is phrased, has helped this week.
Q. Going back to one of Doug's questions, when you decided not to play in the Saudi event have you had any conversations or reaction from players who did play or those who didn't play?
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, I've had a few. My funniest was Nick Watney came up to me in the players' lounge this week and he goes -- how did he put it? He goes, he goes, I think you won last week. That was Nick's line. Which was kind of made me chuckle and it's not about that, obviously, but it did make me chuckle.
Q. If you had played last week would you have done what Dustin did and played this event or would it have --
PAUL CASEY: I wasn't going to play, so that's --
Q. So it's a win/win.
PAUL CASEY: I wasn't going to play. I couldn't, there was no way I could play.
THE MODERATOR: All right, thank you for your time and good luck tomorrow.
PAUL CASEY: Thank you.
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