Paul Casey, 2019 Emirates Australian Open, Tuesday 3 December
KATHIE SHEARER: Paul, absolutely great to see you here again. You’ve come intermittently over many years. I’ve sat beside you. When was the first time that you came over?
PAUL CASEY: No idea.
KATHIE SHEARER: NSW Open I think.
PAUL CASEY: I won in 2003, but it was – I turned pro in 2000, so pro ‘01 or ’02 was my first visit as a professional. Even though in ’99 I played in Lake Macquarie as an amateur. That was a messy week, but it was good fun. Yeah, so it’s been 20 years of intermittently visiting Australia. Good to be back.
KATHIE SHEARER: Certainly good to have you. Two wins this year, two marvellous wins this year and the year isn’t over.
PAUL CASEY: Correct, I’ve got one last opportunity to make it three. This is a great Championship, as these guys know and you know. It’s steeped in history. You correct me, 1904 the first one? Yeah, see, nailed it. Niklaus has won five or six of them.
KATHIE SHEARER: Gary Player seven.
PAUL CASEY: Has he?
KATHIE SHEARER: Yes.
PAUL CASEY: Palmer. Yeah, so this could have been considered and maybe should have been considered a fifth Major. This would be a very cool one.
KATHIE SHEARER: The travel over, I was reading, and it is a long way, there’s no way to get here. You come from the States, you live in Scottsdale still?
PAUL CASEY: I do, Paradise Valley and I went from Dubai back to the States and then down here, so lots of time on an aeroplane in the last two weeks. I feel surprisingly well actually. I didn’t last week, I felt awful with jetlag, but I feel good. It’s not easy but then I’m here to play well, I’m here to try and win. I’m also here to have a good time and enjoy it. I’ve just sampled the golf course, I love it. Sydney’s a great city, I had a lovely dinner last night. But yeah, I’m here to do a job and be professional. So yeah, I might be tired, but I can muster energy for one more week.
KATHIE SHEARER: And you played the 18 holes today?
PAUL CASEY: No, I just played nine, the back nine. I got a good feel, played with Rod Pampling, who knows this place well and has played this golf course very well. Didn’t he shoot 61 here once?
KATHIE SHEARER: 61, yes.
PAUL CASEY: So yeah, gleaned a little bit of information out of Rod’s brain. I really like what I saw. I’ve seen it on TV but you never know with just seeing something on TV, until you see it in real life. You hope, you cross your fingers that you like a golf course when you turn up and luckily, I instantly did, so I feel very good about it. I’ll learn the rest of it tomorrow and it’s not going to be an issue. I’ll feel prepared by Thursday when I tee off.
Q. With all respect, because you seem to be getting better as you get older, is every tournament you come to more important to win than it was when you were 23, 24, because they’re not going to be there forever?
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, I talked to a friend of mine – maybe he’s not a friend anymore – he just reminded me that maybe I’ve got 100 tournaments left in my career or something. I’m like, that’s harsh, isn’t it?
Yeah, so in a way, yes. I know I’ve got a limited number of Majors, Major opportunities, yeah, limited number of events that I am going to have an opportunity to win. I’m 42, realistically, maybe four, five great years, if I’m lucky. It might be less. Certainly I can play till I’m in my fifties, but at what level, I don’t know. So, yeah, the clock’s ticking, which is why I said I’m obviously here to enjoy myself, but I’m here to try and win, otherwise I’m not going to get on the plane, and I’ve made a point of that now. I don’t go anywhere anymore unless I’m trying to win.
Q. That’s what I was getting at. So, is it Florida where you broke back through a couple of years ago?
PAUL CASEY: To be honest, it’s the last four, five years have been actually some really good golf. What year are we – I’ve lost track of years – 2018, when I won Valspar was a pivotal moment, because it was nine years between victories on the PGA Tour. I’ve had victories in Europe between then. They put the other day that I was – Paul Casey ends his drought in Europe, hasn’t won since 2014 or ’15 or something on the European Tour, but they forget that I’ve actually not really been a member there for the last few years. So, I’ve actually not played that many events. So, I actually looked at it and went actually, I’ve won quite a lot in Europe considering the number of events I’ve played. But it’s been, the uptick since ’14, ’15 onwards, has been really good and I’ve enjoyed it. Sorry, I’m not sure what the question was.
Q. I didn’t really get to fully ask it yet, but it looks like you’ve found a way to combine those two questions to keep winning now and win more frequently when you do play. What is that secret?
PAUL CASEY: I’m not sure my – I don’t think I’ve gotten better as a player in terms of my outright ability to hit golf shots or physically, nothing’s really changed. I think I just eliminate mistakes better than I used to and so I’m hanging around more, I’ve got more opportunities for high finishes and therefore wins than I used to. So, it’s more probably a better understanding of my golf game, more efficient. It’s cheesy and corny, but it sort of rings true with me, I’m happy as a person and therefore play, win or lose, I’m more even keeled than I used to be, therefore again, that just provides more opportunities.
Q. You’ve achieved a lot obviously in your career. We’ve talked about winning. Where would winning this week rank in all the things that you have won over the years?
PAUL CASEY: I think it would rank quite highly based on the cache of the event, the history of the event. It would also be pretty cool, you’ve got to check, I’m not sure I’ve played an Aussie Open.
KATHIE SHEARER: I’m not sure that you have.
PAUL CASEY: I’ve played lots of Aussie Masters and lots of other things. So, this was – I don’t know why I don’t have an answer for you of why it’s not really been an event I’ve played before. You know my schedule, I’d love to play international golf. I respect that this is a standalone event, this is not co-sanctioned with multiple tours, which I like that. Maybe that’s been a reason I’ve not been down before, but the fact that I’ve made a decision to come down here early in the year through Patrick and various other people, put it out there and sold this, and sold it very well.
So, then to make that commitment and come down and then if I were to win this week would be incredibly satisfying.
Q. Where would you rank it?
PAUL CASEY: Where would I rank it? Okay, let me ask you – ask that again, where would I rank it in terms of based on the tournaments that I’ve won or the meaning to me?
Q. The ones you’ve won, where would you rank it?
PAUL CASEY: Based on the Tournaments I’ve won in terms of cache, it would be one of the biggest ones, wouldn’t it, just based on history. It’s pretty simple. Winning the Porsche European Open this year and looking at the names on that trophy was pretty cool or Irish Open, names on that, pretty cool. My golf history’s terrible. I don’t know how those Championships are, certainly the European Open is not in comparison to this. A WPGA Championship is now or an Irish Open, they’re not great names – great names, not that old an event. This would probably be the most significant in terms of history.
So, where would it rank, to answer you, yeah, probably the best. Sorry, that was a really long answer. It’s like an interrogation and I cracked.
Q. Talking about nostalgia, will you go back to NSW this year? Are you into that sort of stuff or not?
PAUL CASEY: I am into that stuff but there’s just no time. Yeah, I’m into that stuff but I tend not to do any of that stuff when I’m at Tournaments. I think the time for that is down the road, bore my kids or something, one day drag them out here. I went round here. I’d love to go play that place, but with mates, because to be honest, it’s a great golf course but it just gives me fits, to actually have a score card in your hand and try and play that golf course is just like, it’s no fun. With all the – what is that stuff around there, it’s like gauze or tea tree or whatever that stuff is, it’s awful.
KATHIE SHEARER: It’s tea tree.
Q. As someone who’s been coming here for 20 years, you look at the lessons to be learnt through golf in different parts of the world, like Links Golf. What would you say the lessons to be learnt about Aussie golf are in terms of what you need to play well?
PAUL CASEY: That’s a good question. Partly the architecture of the golf course that’s down here and then the grass types and the set up you, firm and fast, I guess you’ve got a combination of great ball strikers, which actually rings true, if you look at most Australian professionals that I know through great pros through the years, great ball strikers, great swing control, great trajectory control with their irons, brilliant bunker players and short game. I think of, obviously, he’s not here this week, but Jason Day’s great, one of the game’s best currently.
You need that. You know, the golf courses dictate how you’re going to develop as a golfer and luckily, all those traits are applyable for them any golf around the world. Again, why your players have been so successful around the world for so long.
But yeah, these courses just expose you if you don’t have those, but in the same regard, any player I believe can win this week, in terms of any style of golf, they don’t have to be long, they can be short, they can be long, but without question, if you have those attributes, then it’s going to be a massive advantage.
Q. You’re in charge of the Global Golf Tour, congratulations. Where would we be playing? Would we be playing national opens in the series? Would we be playing not so much in the United States? Would we be–
PAUL CASEY: You don’t have long enough for me to answer that fully.
Q. I’d love to hear it.
PAUL CASEY: You don’t have long enough. It’s funny, my manager’s at the back of the room, he knows what I’m like. He knows I sit with Monaghan and Pelley and these guys and Slumbers and Mike Davis on a regular basis and usually give them my two cents’ worth. I’m fairly opiniated on that stuff. It’s a complicated answer, in short, because yes, there’s the history of the game and relevance and then there’s also money as well and TV and media and everything else. So, it’s a very complicated answer and a lot of thought, diligent thought that needs to go into answering that question. I can’t give you an answer.
Q. So, if I specify a specific question here – you’ve obviously read up on the Australian Open history and you appreciate what it is. Would you like to see it more prominent on a global calendar?
PAUL CASEY: Yes.
Q. As part of a bigger tour or just continue to stand alone?
PAUL CASEY: You’re leading the witness. This is dangerous in here, it’s like entrapment. Yeah, are you giving me the get out, escape, pull the rip cord. Go on, next question.
Q. Will you be watching the President’s Cup next week?
PAUL CASEY: Yes.
Q. And who’s your vote to win?
PAUL CASEY: You know, the mind obviously says the US. You look at the strength of their team, even minus guys like Brooks. My heart would dearly love – I’ve said it – I’d love the Internationals to win. The great golf course they’re playing, I hope the fans become a factor that benefits an extra man for the International team. I think the International team is fantastic, because I know all the players and world ranking position aside, I know that they’re very capable of giving the US a great run for their money.
The format itself makes it very difficult for me to genuinely – you have to kind of lean to the US just based on the format, because everybody plays, unlike the Ryder Cup where four guys sit out each session on Friday/Saturday for us. It makes it easier to – it just makes it slightly easier for maybe the weaker team to work it. So, I don’t know, I hope they win, the Internationals, I really do, or at least if it’s not, I hope it’s a hell of a match, because I’m a golf fan as well and you have to give hats off to the Americans. The quality golf they played a couple of years ago in New York was brilliant, but you want it to be close.
KATHIE SHEARER: Okay ladies and gentlemen, thank you, thank you Paul for coming in.