Ryder Cup LogoRyder Cup: Team USASeptember 22-24 2006, The K Club, Straffan, County Kildare, Ireland
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An Interview With: PAUL CASEY

19 September 2006

GORDON SIMPSON: Welcome to The K Club, Paul. You're here as a tournament winner, a very good winner, as well, on Sunday, and you said if you had the choice of the HSBC and the Ryder Cup, you'd take the Ryder Cup. Now you can have both. How do you feel coming into this week?

PAUL CASEY: I can't control anything this week. There's another 23 guys here that are going to determine that. It feels great to be here. It's been such a long buildup, it feels like.

You know, last week was great. Obviously I played some wonderful golf and maybe got a little bit lucky, as well, but that's all out the window now. I don't think that counts for a lot going into this week. It's very unpredictable, this. Anybody can beat anybody else here this week. You're going to have to play some wonderful golf, control the nerves and see what happens on Sunday.

GORDON SIMPSON: Does it give you the feeling that everything is in good order going into this week, the way you finished off in the Match Play?

PAUL CASEY: Yeah, I mean, I'm happy with the game. The game is solid. It's one of those things, we saw some tremendous golf last week, guys like Robert Karlsson throwing in nine birdies in 18 holes and things like that. If you get up against somebody who's hot, then there's nothing you can do about it.

Like I said, control the game, worry about what I'm trying to do and see what happens.

Q. First things, congratulations on last week. Secondly, talk a little bit about your partnership with Luke this morning and whether we can expect to see that again come the weekend?

PAUL CASEY: Yeah, we had fun this morning. Woosie put me out with Luke, and we won the front, we lost the back, but we won the match overall. We won our first I think because we had some media commitments, the three of us.

Not a lot was talked yesterday about the pairings yet. It was really just putting out guys I don't know what Woosie is doing, he's just sort of feeling out pairings, I think. The four of us get along very, very well. Obviously I have a lot of history playing with Luke in the World Cup and the Walker Cup, and I have history playing with Howell last time around in the Ryder Cup. Some possible pairings there, but I don't know which way it's going to go.

It's really the first day at The K Club to see how the course is playing, what the rain has done and what the course is like.

Q. If I can ask you a few questions about the Irish players. The trio of Irish players in the Ryder Cups hasn't been too successful in Europe. How do you gauge the significance of them playing on the team?

PAUL CASEY: I think it's twofold. It's first the three as golfers, professional golfers. They bring a lot of experience in humorous ways, and they're all three brilliant players, experience in the Ryder Cup, and they're invaluable to the team. But also they're Irish. That helps with the crowds, that helps with the atmosphere, and really getting everybody sort of geared up.

I was on the range this morning when Darren walked on, and he had a wonderful reception. I think it's going to be huge this week. The Irish crowds have been waiting for the Ryder Cup for years and years now, and it's finally here. They get to see 24 of the best golfers in the world, but they also get to see some of their home heroes battling it out, and they're going to be there supporting all three of them.

Q. Apologies for taking you back to this, but after the last World Cup Ryder Cup, sorry, when you said that your quotes about properly hating the Americans, for the duration of that contest, in Stephen Gerrard's recent book, the Liverpool captain recently said for 90 minutes of a game against Manchester United he wants Manchester United to die. Really the question is about the intensity of the competition and whether there has to be hatred between two teams in an event like the Ryder Cup.

PAUL CASEY: I don't think there is you know, I made a mistake I think last time around. I regret what happened and some of the reporting was out of my control, as well.

But these are 24 friends here. If we look at the bigger picture, this is just a game. There are things which are a lot more serious going on in the world, if you look at the U.S. and the UK, we're allies. There are bigger issues that people other than me have to worry about, and we're very thankful that we're all friends here. This is really just a game.

You know, we go out there and we play golf, we entertain. If you think about it, the troops and stuff that are out there defending our countries, respective countries, they would love to be here watching this, being entertained, watching myself, Tiger or whoever it would be out on the fairways, and we have to remember that.

You know, it gets passionate out there. This always provides wonderful memories, wonderful entertainment, but that's all it really is at the end of the day.

Q. Everybody is saying it should be a friendly contest, but do you feel the crowds actually look for the fist pumping and the rah rah of the players and the excitement that generates when you feel you're actually in the heat of battle?

PAUL CASEY: Explain the question.

Q. Do you think the crowds really want it to be friendly? The players are saying this is 24 friends playing a game of golf, but the Ryder Cup for the last four or five times it's been played hasn't really been that and the crowds don't really expect that, either. They want to see a real contest.

PAUL CASEY: But it's difficult. I'm not on that side of the ropes. All I know is from my angle, it's 24 guys competing against each other very, very in very, very hard competition and not trying to budge an inch.

At the end of the day, it provides great memories. I can't speak for what it looks like on the outside. I mean, it may look fears. I mean, it's stressful. It's a lot of pressure out there, the crowds are big, there's a lot of TV attention, media attention.

But I think when we shake hands, when it's all done, there are smiles. I think if there aren't smiles then sometimes it's guys frustrated with themselves for not playing the kind of golf they wanted to play.

Q. Have you cashed your check yet from last week? You won a million pounds; did you get a haircut or a pair of shoes or buy a Ferrari like Darren?

PAUL CASEY: I haven't got the check yet.

Q. What will be your first purchase?

PAUL CASEY: I think the guys in the team room were suggesting they were going to help me spend it last night. I don't think it's sunk in yet. I'm not going to do a lot yet. I'm going to stick it in the bank. Monty was giving me a hard time, asking me if I wanted to swap bank accounts. I declined.

It's a big sum. It's an incredible sum, and it buys a lot of things. The thing I'm really happiest about is that I played great golf last week. I got a little bit lucky here and there, and I just feel that's the hard work playing off. I need to chase the guys ahead of me in the World Rankings. I'm at 17 now, and I desperately want to get to the level of the rest of the guys here, guys on my team, guys like David and Luke who I grew up with and my sort of peers. They've played better golf than I have, and I need to keep chasing them. So hopefully this is just the first stage of moving ahead.

Q. Just quickly, you've only played obviously once before the singles at Oakland Hills. Do you expect given your stature and experience to play a much more significant role this time?

PAUL CASEY: My stature? I'm 5'10".

Q. You said that, not me.

PAUL CASEY: After last week, I'd love to play five matches. I think I'm fit enough to play that many, but it all comes down to Ian and pairings, who I'm compatible with. I'm very happy to play with any of the guys on the team. I get along with every single one of them. But it depends on who's playing the best golf, who can play foursomes with one another. I may get along with guys, but it doesn't necessarily mean that my game suits them if we're going to play foursomes. But having said that, I'm eager to play as much as possible, and I'm at Ian's disposal. If that means one or two matches, fine; if it means all five, that's brilliant. But I'm very keen to play as many as I can.

GORDON SIMPSON: Thank you, Paul. Have a good week.

Video Highlights

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Memorable Moments

  • 1969: Tony Jacklin and Jack Nicklaus on the final hole of the final day.