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Casey Still Seeking Breakthrough Win
Paul Casey has come close the past two years to getting that big breakthrough win on the PGA Tour. With only one victory under his belt, the 2009 Shell Houston Open, the talented Brit - a former Arizona State star and the only player in history to win three straight Pac-10 championships - is getting closer.
But as happened last year, the 32-year-old Casey finished second in the WGC Accenture Match Play Championship. In 2009 he lost to Geoff Ogilvy in the 36-hole final, and this Sunday, fell to a red-hot Ian Poulter 4 and 2. After play Sunday afternoon, Casey talked about his near-misses with a gathering of reporters.
MODERATOR: Paul Casey, thanks for joining us. Runner up for the second time in a row at the Accenture Match Play Championship. Good performance once again, but just talk about your day.
PAUL CASEY: What can I say? Poulter played great. There were a lot of shots which I wanted to pull off and I didn't. You know, he did a fantastic job of making putts and keeping the ball in play and he kept the pressure on. And I got beaten.
MODERATOR: Any opinion on where the turning point might have been today, specifically?
PAUL CASEY: For me, probably quite late, No. 13, middle of the fairway, great drive, 7-iron in hand, perfect club, a good number. Ian missed the green to the right and I knew it was a very difficult up-and-down. I couldn't get it within 20 yards of the flag. I'd hit some very good shots and I followed them up with some -- for some reason, when I looked up the ball wasn't going in the right direction or the direction I wanted it to.
Q. How much can that be put down to fatigue or the length of your day? Do you get a sense so late in the day like that that you're not exactly in control of what you're doing?
PAUL CASEY: I don't feel particularly -- I don't feel physically tired. I feel mentally tired. Yeah, maybe. But I'm not going to make excuses about it, you know. I hit shots like that all week, but did a very good job of sort of battling through. That's what I was very happy with is scrambling, pulling out sort of up-and-downs when I needed to and maybe I didn't make a couple today that I should have done to put it a little bit more pressure on Ian. For example, on really 13, 14 there, and he made his fantastic up-and-down on 15 and that's it, the match -- I thought I could get it back to 1-down quickly, with three or four left. And all of a sudden I'm dormie. That's how quickly it turns around.
Q. He had an advantage on a lot of the par-5s where I thought it might belong to you given the length. Your thoughts on that or is that the way the hole played out or what? It seemed like the ball came up short of the green?
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, I did. It's like Christian, my caddie, got a text yesterday criticizing his choice of -- or clearly it was his choice, not my choice, because we ended up in the bunker (laughter). I hit hybrid on 14, we ended in the bunker about four times, the last four times we played it apart from this afternoon. And for me it's -- I always felt driver was running through, and it was a perfect 3-wood over the bunker, but for four rounds straight I mis-hit it straight into the bunker. So I think a lot of those you saw were just slight mis-hits. They didn't put me -- a lot of times they didn't put me in a lot of trouble but that's what I was kind of -- you know, just a little bit frustrated with that. The ball wasn't finding the middle of the face. But I did a pretty good job of getting it around even so.
PAUL CASEY: Very much so, and it's -- there are a lot of positives to come out of this week. It was a lot of good things happened after finishing second here last year. So hopefully a lot of good things can happen after finishing second again, especially if I play a full season, which would be nice. So I'm very optimistic and lots of events left yet. This is a really good sort of building block.
Q. I don't think you finished 72 holes until Sherwood, is that right?
PAUL CASEY: Correct.
Q. Would you have thought then you could have made it through 114 holes pretty easily?
PAUL CASEY: No, not at that time. But it sort of -- the sort of fitness or the lack of discomfort turned around very quickly. It got better pretty quick. No, at that time I wouldn't have thought I was able to get through so many holes as I have this week.
Q. In an odd way I wondered if the second shot into 18 last night may have had as much influence on this final as any. I expected you to hit the green and didn't, what happened there?
PAUL CASEY: I expected me to hit the green, too. I don't know. Aiming at the flag and I look up and the ball is 20 yards right again. You know, I didn't let that affect me in any way. I came out here with a --
Q. Is that technical?
PAUL CASEY: Yes, just technical. That's all it is.
Q. Missing the green the same way as you missed the green on the 13th?
PAUL CASEY: I missed them left and right. I did a very good job of managing it, though. I've had much better ball-striking days and shot some bad numbers. It was a good illustration of not hitting it particularly well. But I don't -- I mean, you know, what I don't want -- you're going to probably write, well, Casey played rubbish. You have to, you know, realize Ian played excellent golf.
Q. I'm not going to write it.
PAUL CASEY: No, the reason I lost isn't because of that, you know. Ian played great stuff. He needed what he needed to do today. I think he kept it in play on every single hole, which is pretty impressive around here. And made a lot of clutch putts. He's putting very, very well.
Q. Ian took a fair amount of ribbing a few years ago by suggesting he could get to No. 2. Have you seen that talent in him, that that is imminently possible?
PAUL CASEY: The way he played today was very impressive. So with that amount of World Ranking points, I'm sure that boosts him up to the Top-5 or something.
PAUL CASEY: Fifth, sixth.
Q. Did he surprise you with how much he's come on?
PAUL CASEY: For Ian it's always been he's -- you know, he'll tell you exactly what he's thinking, which always makes me smile about Ian. But if Ian believes that, and he does, then there's no reason why he couldn't get to that spot because for me it's not about talent, it's about work ethic and belief and all the rest of it, all the other attributes that go into being a great golfer. And he's worked incredibly hard. So I think everybody chuckled slightly when we read the comments. But I know how hard he works and how much he cares about it. So deep down I think we sort of -- I think a lot of people -- I, for one, thought, well, you know, it's not that much of an outrageous comment. I think he showed today he's pretty good.
MODERATOR: Paul, we appreciate you coming in. Thanks for your time.
The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.