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October 24, 2014

Russell Henley


THE MODERATOR:テつ We'd like to welcome Russell Henley into the interview room.テつ Tied his career‑best round on TOUR with a 7‑under par 63 today.テつ Russell, great playing.テつ If we could get some comments on your day.
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ Yeah, I bogeyed the first hole.テつ I actually hit a pretty good drive on 1, and it was just cold, and I didn't think‑‑ I definitely wasn't thinking 63.テつ So after the first hole I was just thinking, all right, you gotta hang in there and just be patient and hopefully get something going.
And I did, and I got one lucky break on 18.テつ I hit an awful drive and ended up making birdie.テつ So that kept the round going, and then I felt pretty good with my putter today and rolled a couple good ones in on the Front 9, my Back 9.
THE MODERATOR:テつ All right.テつ Great.テつ We'll open it up to questions.

Q.テつ (Indiscernible)?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ It wasn't 63 when we teed off.テつ It was a little bit chilly, but yeah, I wasn't planning on it warming up like it did as much, and it turned out to be an awesome day.

Q.テつ How much distance do you think you lose in the morning?テつ How do you adjust to that?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ The other morning in the pro am, I was hitting it at least a club shorter, and you know, into the wind, into the cold wind, it was playing almost two, and if you hit a normal shot, it'll spin back into you, so you gotta hit some half shots, so it's kind of a weird‑‑ you almost gotta take two more clubs and hit it three‑quarter shots just to keep it under the wind, so I'd say I was pulling on average two more clubs in the morning.テつ I don't know.テつ I just confused myself on that one, too.

Q.テつ Seems to be a pretty consistent theme with the guys playing in the morning getting through those first five holes or so.テつ Talk about mentally how were you able to get through those?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ Well, I don't know.テつ I wish I knew.テつ I definitely wasn't super comfortable when I teed off.テつ It was chilly, and I haven't played a tournament in five weeks, so I knew I had to play another good round today to make the cut, and I just tried to make sure I was going after it and swinging hard and not being tentative.テつ So I was just trying to‑‑ that was my main focus and it worked out.

Q.テつ Russell, another good day putting, and I know a lot of fans when they think of you, they think of that Hawaii you made everything in sight.テつ Have you been a good putter every step of the way starting in junior golf or do you consider yourself a good putter or do you try not to put that much thought into it?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ You know, if you ask me, I would say I'm a great putter, and I think if you want to be a great putter, I think you have to believe that you're a great putter.テつ And you know, I would never make the argument that I'm better than, you know, Crenshaw or anything like that, but in my mind, I truly believe in myself as a putter.
And every day at noon I have a reminder on my phone that says I'm the best putter in the world, and I've always had that since I guess reminders came out on phones.テつ I don't know how long that's been.
But I try to just believe in my putting and enjoy putting, and people always tell me I'm a great putter, so it's pretty easy to keep the confidence going when you're doing that.テつ I just wish they would say that about the rest of my game.

Q.テつ A lot of guys who aren't great putters, (indiscernible) they kind of downplay themselves as a putter, even though they are pretty good?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ Yeah.テつ Well, I think there's a lot of different ways mentally that works for guys out here.テつ You know, I think I've found my formula to when I know I'm putting well.テつ I'm not putting much pressure on myself and just really enjoying putting.
And when I can truly know that I'm going to have fun, you know, whatever putt I'm going to have, and I'm not going to get upset about it and I'm kind of even keel, that's usually when I putt great.テつ But I'm a very confident putter.

Q.テつ Pretty impressive Back 9 there.テつ When did you feel like things were starting to click for you?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ Well, you know, I birdied No. 1.テつ That was a pretty tough pin.テつ I hit it right below the hole and hit a perfect putt right in the middle.テつ And then kind of getting through 1, 2, 3, 4 hitting good drives on those holes is pretty critical.
2 is a pretty tough driving hole.テつ I hit it left in the hazard yesterday.テつ I think once I got those balls in the fairway, I just‑‑ I felt like it was just a hair easier.テつ You know, compared to the day before, once I got on the green, I was already confident.テつ So I just hit fairways on the first couple of holes and hit the green and gave myself some good looks and just made a couple of them and got some momentum.テつ Other than that, I don't know what happened.

Q.テつ Does the reminder beep or anything or is it just like a text that flashes on the phone?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ It like vibrates.テつ I always have it on silent, but yeah, it vibrates.

Q.テつ Any chance you would have made a putt if that's the time it vibrated today at noon?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ Probably.テつ I turn my phone off.テつ Maybe I should leave it on when I play.テつ But you know, I probably did.テつ I made some good ones today.

Q.テつ Couple more things, the bad tee shot you talked about on 18, where did it wind up?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ It wound up like almost under that truck down there.

Q.テつ Oh, wow.
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ It was bad, you know.テつ And a lot of times guys don't like to think about their bad shots and look back on them, but I mean I choose to laugh mine off, and I'm kind of glad I hit it.テつ Actually it was a lot more fun than playing that one the normal way.

Q.テつ What did you hit in there?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ I hit 8‑iron to like 15 feet and made it.

Q.テつ And lastly, what is your thinking or outlook or thoughts on this time of the year, how much you play, where you play?テつ How do you go about picking that?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ This year is the first time I made the TOUR Championship.テつ Last year I started the PLAYOFFS at 19 and ended at 43, and this year I ended up 19th in the FedEx at the end of the year.テつ And I was worn out.テつ Going those four in a row, I hadn't played four in a row the whole year, except for the West Coast, I might have played four in a row.
And I just haven't really been excited to go play for the last couple of weeks.テつ I've been really wanting a break.テつ When I was in high school and in college, you get a lot longer break than you do now, and with this wrap‑around season, I was just kind of worn out.
So I decided to rest and take a few weeks off until I got the itch back.テつ And I'm kind of a worthless golfer if I'm not excited to play, and I feel like I'm finally excited to play again.

Q.テつ Does seeing so many Georgia and SEC names up here on top of the leaderboard help you get excited and pumped up to play this round today?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ I haven't looked at the leaderboard.テつ Actually, I think I saw Harman played really well yesterday and maybe shot 65 or something.テつ But other than that, I haven't really checked it out.
Honestly, I haven't really been focusing on it very much.テつ I got to 9‑under kind of late in the round, so I really wasn't focused on it.

Q.テつ How do you set a goal after you shoot 63 to come back the next day and match a round like that?テつ So what are you mentally thinking going into tomorrow's round?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ You know, it's tough to back up a 63.テつ I'm definitely not going to expect to go shoot a 63 tomorrow.テつ I'm just going to try to enjoy it.テつ I haven't played a tournament in five weeks, and to shoot a 63 on Friday is way better than I could have expected, and I'm just excited that I made the cut.

Q.テつ Kicked off the week playing with Darius Rucker on stage the other night.テつ Talk a little bit about that experience.
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ Yeah, Darius is super nice.テつ He plays a little bit at the country club in Charleston where I'm a member in Charleston and a little bit at Kiawah down there, too.テつ So I see him in Charleston, and I met him a year or two ago, and he's always been really nice to me, and I've enjoyed hanging out with him a little bit.
I asked him the other day if he wanted to bet, because he was playing in front of me in the pro am, if he wanted to have a little bet, and after about nine holes I yelled up to him, do you want to buy out for half because I knew I was beating him, and he finally said, yeah.テつ And he texted me when he got done, he said, hey, are you going to be at the show tonight so I can pay you?テつ I said, actually, I'll be there, but if you just want to let me play "Wagon Wheel" with you, you don't have to pay me anything.テつ He said, done deal.
So I just met him before the show and we kind of went over what we were going to do and let me go up there, and it was kind of a dream come true.テつ I love music, and I just wish I could do that more often, play on stage with Darius Rucker.テつ Hopefully that wasn't my last time.テつ I'm going to expect to get back up there again.

Q.テつ (No microphone)?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ I just went up and played guitar with Darius ‑‑ or played "Wagon Wheel" with the whole band.テつ They just gave me an acoustic guitar, and I played with them.テつ It's pretty cool, I got a recording of it, right at the end of the first verse, instead of saying the word, he said "Russell" and like pointed to the mic, and I sang the chorus with him every time.テつ It was pretty cool.テつ I still can't actually believe it happened.

Q.テつ (No microphone)?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ No.テつ I'm not that confident to be the best ever.テつ I am confident to play some guitar.テつ I feel like I've gotten better over the last couple of years playing more and more on the road.テつ But that was very special.

Q.テつ When did you start learning how to play?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ I started when I was in 8th grade.テつ A lot of my buddies growing up were really, really good from even a younger age than that.テつ And I just kind of hung out with them a lot, watched them, and I'm a very visual learner, so watching them play, I kind of picked it up; and as I got to college and got a little more time out here, once I graduated on Web.com and PGA TOUR, had more time to practice and kind of gotten a little bit better the last couple years.

Q.テつ What songs can you cover?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ I can play pretty much anything rhythm.テつ I know all the chords, and I like like new country stuff.テつ My favorite band is Florida Georgia Line.テつ I like Jason Aldean.テつ I like Cole Swindell.テつ I have some stuff I'm learning right now, but other than that, I'm not too much on the lead, just the rhythm.

Q.テつ What do you have the rest of the year?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ I'm going to play China, and hopefully I can get an invite to the Shark Shootout.テつ I know that's a really fun one to play in, but I'm not going to plan on it.テつ I'm just going to plan on playing China and resting up for next year.

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