JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Paul Casey, thanks for joining us here after a 5-under round today. If you could, maybe start with some opening comments.
Obviously can’t win it on Thursday but you certainly can lose it. You’re off to a great start.
PAUL CASEY: We were going to get a perfect golf course to play which we did this morning playing with Padraig and Justin. Greens were as good as you’re going to see them this week and, yeah, I was happy with that.
Birdies are obviously going to be flying around and you’ll be frustrated with only 2-under, to be honest with you, on my first nine of the today, the back-9, especially dropping a shot down on 18. Got it going a little bit on my second half including the eagle on 5 which was nice. First time I’ve had an eagle in awhile. I’m very happy with that.
It was the best round I’ve had in quite awhile and still struggled a little bit about the ball striking. This week, I think it’s all about the putting and started to make some putts and build a little bit of confidence.
JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Take some questions.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about the FedExCup and your position there and you’ve got to feel great, you know, getting off to such a good start here.
PAUL CASEY: I’ve got nothing to lose this week. So I’m trying to put myself in a position to win this golf event. I believe I got to be Top 4 to seal a place for next week and there are Top-10 situations, depending on what other guys do.
So, I’d love to be part of that. You know, I don’t need to get too far ahead, don’t need to start thinking about that on a Thursday. For me it’s focusing on today and I did a very good job of that, actually. It was quite — I really went out there very relaxed and — yeah, I didn’t get too caught up in sort of worrying about FedEx stuff.
Because I’m not on the bubble, quite a way outside, I don’t need to worry about it quite as much. Maybe the group behind me, the 125, Camilo, Ernie and Beckman?
I could sort of — you know, I guess Camilo was a couple over through sort of 5, 6 holes this morning so I got nothing to lose. I’m going to go ahead and enjoy and put myself in a position to win it.
Q. It’s been a little bit since you really contended. So can you talk a little bit about your mindset this week and is it hard to get back into that?
PAUL CASEY: It has been hard to get back into that although I really enjoyed it — I really started getting into the flow of things after the eagle on 5.
I made a birdie on — I now just focused on trying to make birdies on the latter half of my back-9. Even possibly first few holes today I was still, you know, where is the golf ball going to go. Is it going to draw the way I’m sort of wanting it to draw, whatever the mindset is?
Last few holes today it was very much, all right, what do I have to do here to make birdie, taking it one shot at a time but trying to get myself as far up the leaderboard as possible which is what I’ve always been used to doing.
When you’re not doing — when you’re not used to doing it like I haven’t been used to doing it in the last few months, you don’t know what you need to do to sort of ignite that feeling again.
So, it was great. I mean I actually walked off with sort of 5-under feeling like I probably should have shot better. I’m not going to beat myself up or get frustrated about it. I did an excellent job I think just to, you know, staying in the present which is what I need to do and that’s how I play my best golf is when I stay in the present.
JOEL SCHUCHMANN: You’ve had some injuries problems, turf toe, which is, I guess, the diagnosis. Maybe just go through a little bit about how that’s affected maybe your golf swing and kind of maybe how that’s kind — when it started and how it’s progressed.
PAUL CASEY: Yeah. It started — I think I noticed it back in May. Didn’t know what it was. It was a swollen joint of the right sort of foot where the big toe sort of — the knuckle there.
I was in Arizona at the time. I thought I had been bitten by a spider or some “creepy crawly”. Didn’t pay too much attention to it.
It persisted. Wondered whether it was a fracture or something like that. Basically went through the whole series of what it was, x-rays, blood tests for gout, all sorts of things, and wasn’t until I got an MRI not that long ago that we found out it was turf toe.
Actually what I was doing up to that point wasn’t helping what I had and in hindsight I should have rested it there and then but, you know, wasn’t aware of it and tried to play through that, which was a mistake.
What it’s done to the golf game, most importantly the swing, I’ve taken — try to take the weight off my toes and the weight has gone back on the heels which is really bad position to be in.
Then can’t actually fire off my right foot either. I can’t put any pressure down into the ground from the right foot and sort of the transition where right foot should roll to the left side and up on to the toe, I can’t do that.
So I kind of sort of flinch at the ball, right foot and the right sort of knee as a very sharp movement now sort of out. The best way to describe it, the right knee should move towards the left knee but mine doesn’t, sort of wants to move straight out to take the pressure off that right foot.
It results in making it almost impossible to hit longer clubs, especially drivers and 3-woods. I mean it’s sort of in a very stuck position coming into the golf ball. I’ve been sort of flicking at it, try to control it. You can’t do it with high clubhead speed.
So, yeah, I mean it’s sort of ruined my golf swing for the last couple of months. You know, now knowing what it is, it’s strapped up, I’ve got to come and play. We’re doing anti-inflammatories. I was on Prednisone, all sorts of things to try and cure it as quick as we can.
Rest is the thing I should be doing the most which is why I won’t hit any golf balls this afternoon, straight back to the hotel.
It’s getting better. I noticed a vast improvement at Bridgestone and sort of bottom of the pack with the guys who made the cut last week at the PGA. Again, it’s getting better so — I’m excited about it and I’d love to play next week and that’s the goal and try and win this week and, if I don’t, I get a nice rest period. The rest of the year could salvage what has been a very disappointing season so far.
JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Okay.
Q. Was this the most fun you had on a golf course in awhile?
PAUL CASEY: Yes. And hopefully tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday are even better.
Q. Obviously a good start. You talked a little about that, position for the rest of the week, really.
PAUL CASEY: Yeah. I mean looking at past results here, what did Arjun win it with, 20-under? That’s got to be about the same number, I would think, this week.
I didn’t play last year, I played a couple years ago. As far as I know the golf course hasn’t changed. It’s great. I really enjoy this golf course.
But I think you’re going to have to keep going low. The goal is — my caddy said 5-under everyday is sort of the goal. We focus on it one round at a time and one shot at a time and, yeah, today was a very good start to that but tomorrow I’m going to have to forget about the score.
I’m sure I’m going to tee it up late in the afternoon and somebody already is going to be 8, 9, 10-under par. I’m going to have to go out there and keep repeating what I’m doing.
Q. Did you guys all — you know, you and Padraig and Justin are all sort of the same situation. Did y’all talk about that at all?
PAUL CASEY: No, we didn’t. Never came up. I think because we’re so far out of it that, you know, we’ve all got to play very well to make it. I’m not sure we would anyway.
No. It was very nice to walk off my last hole today and have my two playing partners saying good playing today, which I haven’t heard in awhile.
JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Great Paul. Thanks, appreciate it.
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