Team Europe > News

An Interview with Casey & Howell


September 18, 2004

JULIUS MASON: David Howell and Paul Casey, ladies and gentlemen, after a lovely morning.

Paul, why don't you start us off, give us some thoughts on your round and we'll get some thoughts from you, David, and we'll go to Q&A.

PAUL CASEY: Thoughts on today, we only found out late last night that we were paired together and we were very excited as to what today would bring.

Practiced very well with David this week. You know, Bernhard said he really wasn't going to put the rookies together but I think we were a very, very strong pairing and I think we proved that. We both had a fantastic, obviously, first experience. Obviously, the outcome went our way, but we really enjoyed ourselves. We hit great tee shots off the first and had a lot of fun.

JULIUS MASON: David?

DAVID HOWELL: Pretty similar, really. It was a strange day for us yesterday, being out, being part of the team but not part of the team in the playing sense.

When we got out there today, it was clear the atmosphere was going to be totally different and it was also clear that things weren't really going our way as they were yesterday. So without really looking at the boards, we were fully aware that we were the light at the end of the tunnel here and we needed to come through.

Q. Could you guys sum up, please, how I guess you were trying to justify the fact that you're on a team and playing a hell of a game, but also because the rest of the team weren't doing so well, you had to chase and it was a double whammy, could you just go through that a little bit?

DAVID HOWELL: I don't think either of us are trying to justify our place. We both qualified, not easily, but qualified by right and we are due our place on the team.

But, sorry, I can't remember the second part of your question.

Q. Obviously, you were hoping to do really well yourself, but it was the extra pressure because the rest of the team weren't doing so well today?

DAVID HOWELL: Well, yeah, I mean, I think we were both aware. I had not seen what was going on but I was aware from the crowds until the -- I think the sixth hole, my caddie very nicely mentioned that we were losing the other matches, which I thanked him for. As it happened we won that hole, the sixth, did we not, with a birdie? We were very aware if we could get out this morning with a one-point loss which it turned out, it was going to be a good morning for us and as it turned out it was going to be up to us to do it in the end.

Q. When Bernhard announced the pairings, did you think he had made a mistake?

PAUL CASEY: No.

Q. What were your sensations what did you feel when he announced them?

PAUL CASEY: No, I don't think he made a mistake at all. I think on paper it looked very, very good. I think we had some very, very strong pairings. He obviously wanted to get all of the rookies playing today, you know, Poulter with Clarke looked good to me, obviously very, very tough match-up there.

Q. Excuse me, I mean, the two of you.

PAUL CASEY: I think it's great. I really do. We know each other very well. I don't think the U.S. crowd maybe knows David as well as they know me but he's a tremendous player. He's an incredible player. No, it was a strong partnership. We weren't going to give an inch and we were -- the most important thing is no matter whether we were together or not, we were excited to play together and that's the key.

DAVID HOWELL: Just to add on that, I don't know how you felt, but I think it was almost good for us that we were not playing with an experienced player. We just knew that we had to rely on each other and we had to stand up and be counted and there wasn't any hint of, you know, Monty, you can play the first five and I'll see how I feel after that. It was a case of, let's get stuck in and do as well as we can. I think that worked in our advantage.

Q. Monty was just in here and he said that he felt that your victory today symbolically was almost bigger than the entire first day. Your thoughts on that?

DAVID HOWELL: Well, it's a big call. I mean, we've won a point at the end of the day. A few guys might have been looking at our pairing, a lot of the people over here possibly haven't heard of me, but my teammates have heard of me and we weren't afraid to go on out there and take on those guys.

And it was, I don't think it was so much that me and Paul beat Chad and Jim, just the case that Europe managed to win the last two holes against the USA. I don't think it's anymore than that. You can read more into it than that, but it was a momentum shift. I mean, we were getting hammered out there as a team and I think we all feel like we have dodged a bullet this morning.

Q. Looking at yesterday, with the exception of Luke, the results were the efforts of the veteran leadership. You guys come out there today and you put up a great result, two rookies paired together, what does that say about the depth of this European squad?

PAUL CASEY: It shows we have, simple as that, we have depth. Talking with the experienced guys on this team, even some of the experienced caddies, they felt this is, in the past, they have come over and they have hoped to win and maybe that's sort of the feeling in the back of their minds, "Well, maybe I hope we don't get beaten too bad."

This is definitely a team, Bernhard, he has options. That's the main thing, he has a lot of options. That's got to be a good feeling for him. He can pair anybody pretty much with anybody else. There's not a case of sitting anybody out because they are weak. Everybody's playing good golf.

I think that's a sign of European golf the way it's coming around. There's a lot of guys coming through, a lot of guys who didn't make the team as well. You know, I think there's depth coming through and that's just showing with the rookies winning points.

DAVID HOWELL: You know, the two teams are quite different and we feel and I'm sure that Paul would agree that our five rookies, we're obviously due our place on the team, but we all feel that we're going to get better as players and this isn't the highlight of our career; this is the start of more things to come. Certainly, the way I feel. So we feel like we belong.

Q. Paul, can you talk about your two putts on the last green, the first one, the distance and the degree of difficulty and the second one as far as putting through your shadow was concerned?

PAUL CASEY: The first one, Bernhard came up to me and said, told me that Sergio hit it a lot higher than the line I was picking out. He failed to mention Sergio made it. (Laughter.) Just found that out. He just reinforced the line I was picking. At no stage did he try and change my choice, which I thought was great. It was a difficult putt.

Q. How far was it?

PAUL CASEY: The pace was probably more important than the line. I felt I made a great putt and put it in a perfect place.

The second one, very rarely do I get somebody else to help me look at a line on a two foot putt but I needed it with David. It was more just reinforcement of what I saw there, which is what we did all day, actually. We were very good at reassuring each other, instilling confidence into each other. It was, I don't know, the putt probably from two feet moved an inch right, went straight in the middle as I've done many times before.

Q. How long was the first putt?

PAUL CASEY: No idea, 35 feet, 40 feet.

Q. We've heard a lot about what took place in the American team room yesterday down by five, videos being shown, strategy changes in terms of being aggressive and that sort of thing, what took place in the European Team room up by five?

DAVID HOWELL: Paul paid the hundred dollars he owed me for two days, that's the main thing I can remember.

Obviously we didn't have a lot to say. We had a great day yesterday. We knew the Americans were going to come out strong this morning. It was just not going to be any other way. And we talked about the fact that the crowd were going to be more influential today which is exactly what happened. We expected that.

PAUL CASEY: We didn't try and change anything, simple as that. We knew that we didn't too excited about the result yesterday. We knew it was going to be tough.

Certainly, you can't read anything into maybe our performance today with not winning as many matches as we did yesterday being the reason behind getting over enthusiastic about yesterday, certainly not. We didn't change a thing. We tried to be sensible and because obviously what we did on Thursday night seemed to work. So try and go with that.

Q. Could you talk about your tee shot and birdie on the difficult 17th?

DAVID HOWELL: Yeah, it would be a pleasure. (Laughter.)

Well, you know, we were obviously up against it. The two guys hit 5-iron before us and clearly had gone through the green. It was just on the limit for me with a 6-iron. I decided that was the play. I put a good swing on it and it wasn't the purest stroke I've ever made, and that was my strange reaction was, you know, is this going to get there? And luckily, just before I had just attempted to swing, the wind probably got as strong as it had for that whole, one, two-minute period. I just sort of thought, well, I just wasn't sure whether it was going to get there, which is sort of why I just wandered off. Obviously delighted with what it did. It was always going to be good then.

The great thing that happened that hole is Paul had an unbelievably difficult up-and-down. Really, I didn't have much chance of getting up-and-down at all and I had a putt that usually I was going to have to make, but if Paul made 4 it made my putt so much more difficult because I had to think about the one back.

You know, credit to Paul. He concentrated, a great chip, a great putt and that really made it a whole lot easier for me to be aggressive with the put.

Q. Can you tell us what your emotions were like coming off the 16th when you were 1-down and whether you talked about the situation or whether you just kept in sort of your own?

DAVID HOWELL: Well, when we discussed this morning that we've got 18, almost 18 separate matches here, we're going to try and win every hole we play. Nothing, that didn't change anything. Obviously we certainly weren't down, you know you're up against it. I certainly wasn't sitting there saying, "We need to win the last two holes", it was just, "We need to win this hole." That's what we did and that was one individual game that one hole and we came out on top and the rest is history.

I think we took, it was a real blow because Jim had been the stronger of their partnership, Chad will certainly admit that, and it was -- Jim was struggling on that hole and Chad buries the putt when we are both in good position. Classic match-play situation. We just, well, we just stayed calm.

Q. Paul, could you talk about your iron to the 18th?

PAUL CASEY: The iron to the 18th, I think I had 202, 5-iron, wind in off the right. I was surprised to see it going that far right, actually. I thought I made a better swing than the results have showed.

I felt the wind was going to hold it up a little bit more and maybe throw it left of that ridge. It was vital to be left of that ridge or if you're not left to be short at least.

DAVID HOWELL: Yeah, what were you doing?

PAUL CASEY: (Laughs) No, but it's also a bit of maybe a sucker pin. You don't want to go at it and turn it over and be long. You can't be long, you can't be left. On the green it turned out to be not too bad. But I felt good. It was a good yardage. Just one of those things. The wind is very, very tricky out there. You know, simple as that. It was just obviously the outcome was fine in the end.

DAVID HOWELL: From my point of view that was one of the best 4s I've ever seen because I was obviously in serious trouble and their play forced it up there and Paul, being the big man we know he is --

PAUL CASEY: Short.

DAVID HOWELL: -- made the shot you would expect.

Q. How big of a disappointment when you were told or realized that you were not going to play at all on the first day?

PAUL CASEY: I was certainly disappointed. I thought it was a big chance I'd play in the four-ball, maybe not the foursomes.

Disappointed, but there's nothing you can do. It's a team event and we're here to try and get at least 14 1/2 points as a team. It doesn't matter who gets them. It really doesn't. You know, the way things turned out as well yesterday, I can't complain. I can't be disappointed. It was exciting. Maybe it's the best way of getting our feet wet was to watch some fantastic golf.

Bernhard's decision I think was to put out as much experience as he could. The one rookie he did put out, Luke, Luke's played the best golf of all the rookies in the past two months, which I don't think any of us would dispute.

JULIUS MASON: David?

DAVID HOWELL: I wasn't that disappointed, strangely. I feel part of this team. You know you're going to get a part to play at some stage. I thought it was almost an inspired decision. We were so itching to go today. We were messing around on the course, the three of us yesterday, and watching a bit of golf and it was a funny atmosphere out there. We were not sort of deflated but it was a really strange first Ryder Cup day for us yesterday which just made us all the more up for today and it was -- well, it's panned out to be a wise decision. We have won our first point and the guys had a great day yesterday. We thought it was the right decision and what Bernhard is doing is right.

PAUL CASEY: I agree. When I say disappointment, it's disappointment because you just want to get stuck in. I certainly don't question the captain or any of his decisions. But he just -- we were raring to go, when you have a team that you have 12 guys that are all capable of winning points, everybody just wants to get going. Everybody is chomping at the bit to start.

Q. David, when you're standing over that putt on 17, how does that feel in terms of other putts you've made in your life and is the pressure that different? Does your body feel different?

DAVID HOWELL: No. No more different than other pressure packed putts I've hit in my career.

I holed a couple, made a few birdies out there and there was no fist pumping or anything. That's not normally me. I just couldn't help myself there when I did get one of these and the crowd went mad, or the small contingent we've got with us and there was a few emotions coming, it was really hairs-standing-up-on-the-back-of-neck time. I was really pleased, I put a great stroke on it. As I say, the worst stroke I put on a putt the whole day was the first hole and after that, I started to stroke the ball really well. It's nice to hole them when you know you've got no choice.

Q. For Paul, you know this country pretty well and you've played here a lot, how is it for you to be in a situation where you're the outsider and the majority of the people are cheering against you playing golf here?

PAUL CASEY: It's something I think we've all prepared ourselves for this. It was certainly loud. It's like being -- it was like being at the 16th hole at the Phoenix Open, every hole, everybody's against you. It's like you've played for U-of-A and now you're playing the Phoenix Open and they hate you, it's fantastic. It was thoroughly enjoyable. They were very loud, boisterous.

We didn't have any issues out there with the crowd. We didn't have to back off any shots, which was nice. That was good. I think they did a fantastic job of getting their players going. Obviously we did a fantastic job of getting their players going by beating them yesterday.

I mean, it's difficult. It's stressful. But we both love it and that's why we play golf is to be in situations like this.

JULIUS MASON: Paul Casey, David Howell. Thank you very much, folks.

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