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HYUNDAI TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS


January 9, 2015


Russell Henley


KAPALUA, HAWAII

CHRIS REIMER:テつ Great 8‑under par round, maybe just talk about what was the key to playing so well today.
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ I kept the ball in front of me pretty decent today, and didn't scare too many chances at bogey, but my main thing was obviously I putted great and was seeing the lines today.テつ You know, if I can putt like that every day, I would probably have a few more wins.

Q.テつ Shooting 8‑under‑‑
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ Yeah, one of my main things I've been trying to do since last fall and this year, what I really want to do is just keep a good attitude, keep even keel when things don't go my way.テつ I know I'm going to hit bad shots.テつ That was my main thing.テつ I hit a bad shot there and made a bad swing but how I react to the bad shots is usually the indicator of how my round goes.テつ Just try to keep a good attitude and go out there and hit a good next shot and give myself a good putt.テつ Just one of those days where it fell in.

Q.テつ What's the biggest change this year?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ Oh, I was just mad that I didn't break 70 last year.テつ I've been working with Scott Hamilton since late summer and took us a little bit, a little stretch where I struggled a little bit, but making some changes.
Ever since I've gotten comfortable with the things we've been working on fundamentally, I've started to keep the ball in front of me more and not have as big of misses and driving the ball better.
When you're driving it better and hitting your wedges a little bit better, keeping the ball in front of you better, I feel like I'm really, really confident and feel like I can get the ball in the hole.テつ That's been my biggest thing and just working with Scott, he's helped me a lot.

Q.テつ What are the things you guys are working on?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ A lot at the start.テつ But first thing, I'm really just trying to get the club on plane and for me I was just a little bit steep and trying to shallow out my swing and basically instead of hitting so down on the ball, hitting just the top of the grass.テつ And with everything, that makes my wedges, the contact, more consistent, makes my fight a little bit better, makes me hit it farther; a lot of good things that I like about it and that's kind of all I'm trying too fight is just keep it shallow.

Q.テつ Are you a picker?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ A picker?テつ Like picking the ball off the ground?テつ I try to.テつ I mean, I would rather pick it off the ground than hit straight down on it.テつ I've tried hitting straight down on it and that doesn't work, like basically fading the ball.テつ We'll see; if that doesn't work for me, I've had more success having my miss a little bit more shallow, yes.

Q.テつ Having been here last year, how much did it help you today, just the course knowledge?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ Just looking out and knowing the lines, there's some blind shots, and a lot of times you're hitting down 50 yards or uphill 50 yards and just being comfortable and knowing what's out there helped me a lot.テつ And also a lot of it shifts; it can be really slow or really fast.テつ So just being comfortable with those shots is one of the biggest changes just from having a little experience.

Q.テつ I believe you were 14 out of 14 on putts 15 feet and in.テつ Can you explain how that can happen on a given day?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ Yeah, I'm confident in my putting.テつ I've always been pretty confident with it.テつ That definitely doesn't happen every day for anybody, and it's just one of those days where it happened for me.テつ If I knew how to do that every day, I would do it.
But it's just one of those days where things worked out and I was reading the putts correctly and exactly how I wanted to hit them and that led to me making some putts, so that's all I can say for that.

Q.テつ Do you have a pretty homemade swing or what's your history with instructors?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ I've had a couple different instructors.テつ I would say I'm probably homemade.テつ When I was in high school, I played basketball and golf, and so when golf came around, I never really went and hit many always balls.テつ I just wanted to go play with my friends.テつ I think they redid the range a couple of years when I was in high school, or one of the years, so I just got used to go and playing golf.
Definitely probably a little bit homemade.テつ I think it's starting to look better and better as I've spent more time out here and played more pro golf and had more time to work on it, but probably a little bit homemade.

Q.テつ (Inaudible.)
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ I wish it was.テつ If I had a chance, I would have tried.テつ I don't think I was good enough.テつ I thought I had a chance.テつ I played like I had a chance, but no (laughter).

Q.テつ Do you consider yourself a streaky player out here, and if, so how much of that do you think is because of that swing?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ That swing, as in like that swing or like‑‑ (laughter).テつ Yeah, I think swinging the club, fundamentally, correct, on plane, good grip, ball position, keeping the body, the head still, all those little things, I think are super important.テつ Most of the really consistent players out here do the same thing every time and they have the club on plane.
I definitely think the inconsistency for me has been for my swing.テつ In fact, I always putted pretty well.テつ Obviously there are going to be tournaments where I don't make any putts.テつ Since I started hitting the ball better, since last ‑‑ basically in the playoff, I've had a second, I've had 12th at THE TOUR Championship, I had a fourth at McGladrey, and two of those I was leading after a couple days.テつ So I've been playing better golf, and definitely I think the swing as it's gotten better, has made me play more consistent.

Q.テつ Whenever you have good rounds, people rave about your putting.テつ What are the expectations like for a putter?テつ Do you get a sense everyone expects to you make everything, and you do; or tournaments where you make nothing‑‑
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ I think I struggle with that a lot for sure, the expectation of, oh, everybody tells me I'm a good putter.テつ So I've got to make my 5‑footers or I've got to make a lot of my 10‑footers or this is a straight uphill putt or this is a putt a good putter makes.テつ I think everybody fights that.
I know I fight that.テつ I fight it at home when I know I'm not quite as focused when I'm playing with my friends and I'm making as many putts as I thought I should.テつ I'm definitely fighting the expectation, but for me, when I get in the tournament for some reason, I get a little bit more focused on my overall process and being very patient, and I feel like that focus helps me and my expectation level, so I definitely fight that.テつ I know what you're talking about.

Q.テつ Did you do anything different or unusual in the quote, unquote, off‑season that helped you prepare for this week?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ I've been working out a lot.テつ Working out a lot and I took about three weeks off after China, and I've been listening to this guy in (inaudible) and other than that, I've just kept it real simple.テつ I've gotten to‑‑ I feel like I'm in better shape than I was last year, and I feel a little bit better.テつ But I wouldn't say it has anything to do with me making putts today.テつ But that's really the only thing I did different from the other off‑seasons I've had.テつ I just worked, went to the gym and tried to just keep it simple, yeah.

Q.テつ When you shallow out a golf swing, is that something that tends to be difficult to do at the start and are you consciously thinking of it on every golf swing and you're competing?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ Well, it's been more of a feel for me, so for me, a lot of it now is understanding what makes me shallow the‑‑ what makes me keep the club on plane, I'm not going to say shallowed out.テつ What makes me keep the club on plane, and understanding why you need a little bit of tilt, how my body works.
So for me when I take the club back, I don't know if it's shoulder flexibility or what, but I always have a tendency to have a little bit of lift and be a little over the plane and that's made me steep.テつ So just finding ways for me to add to that ‑‑ (indicating) ‑‑ coming down instead of going over the top, come this way, it's a feel.テつ It's not uncomfortable; it's not something I'm thinking about now every time now, but at the start I definitely was.

Q.テつ You mentioned that it looks better.テつ Did you worry about how your swing looked?テつ There's so many different kinds of golf swings.テつ
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ Yeah, I just think it looks a little tighter and it looks a littlemore ‑‑ not as many moving parts.テつ When I see a swing, I'm not Butch Harmon.テつ I can't just pick out something.テつ I don't understand the golf, like all that stuff.テつ When I put my swing on video with Scott Hamilton, it just looks simpler to me when it's going up and down the plane line.

Q.テつ Are you getting used to being in the lead?テつ You talked about being in the lead a few times recently.テつ Did that help you today?テつ Will that help you tomorrow?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ I think so.テつ I'm definitely coming off not playing a tournament since middle or start of November.テつ Definitely was feeling a little bit of nerves on the back today.テつ It was good.テつ I liked it.テつ I was excited about it, playing well.テつ Hopefully that will help me.テつ I mean, hopefully I can take those experiences and keep playing well this week.
But I like being in contention and competing and that's why I play the game, so hopefully those times this last fall will rub off and I'll have some good rounds.

Q.テつ What's the latest song you learned on the guitar?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ I learned "Better Together" by Jack Jackson the other day.テつ I think he's from Hawaii.テつ Learned that a couple days ago.テつ If only I can sing like him, but I can't, so just keep playing guitar.

Q.テつ Will you sing a song ‑‑
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ I didn't want to embarrass you.テつ Everybody would have been laughing at us.

Q.テつ You started working on your swing in the summer?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ Yeah, right after the U.S. Open, I saw Scott.テつ I went through a stretch where playing the WGC, British Open, PGA right there where I'm working on my swing and it was tough.テつ Mentally, I was struggling.テつ My confidence level wasn't very high, working on a couple things and trying to play those really tough courses.テつ I missed some cuts there and didn't play my best.テつ But it started to get more comfortable in the Playoffs.

Q.テつ Is there something that happened that changed, a moment?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ Yeah, I felt like I had been struggling a little bit.テつ Just not quite hitting the ball‑‑ my misses weren't very good.テつ Anybody could hit a good shot.テつ My misses, my bad shots were just really bad.テつ I was just trying to make my misses better.
And I played with Brendon Todd and Chris Kirk the first two rounds at Pinehurst, and both those guys drove the ball so good.テつ Their misses weren't bad at all and they are obviously great chippers and putters, and they played great.テつ I was like, I know I can hit it a little better than I'm hitting it.テつ I know I can hit it like them.テつ I know they had both struggled with the driver just a little bit in the past and working with Scott, Scott had helped them.テつ That's why I chose Scott.

Q.テつ Practice rounds or‑‑
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ First two rounds, yeah.

Q.テつ Did you look at any leaderboards?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ I didn't look today.テつ I'm not going to look ‑‑テつ I'm trying not to look the rest of the time and just stick to what I'm doing.テつ I feel like I've got a good game plan and what anybody else does isn't necessarily going to change what I'm going to do the next couple days.テつ So I tried to not look.

Q.テつ Inaudible.
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ Last year, maybe in a practice round, I remember being pretty hot one day but I think it blew hard last year.テつ When we first teed off, it was, what, five miles an hour?テつ I don't think I've played it like that.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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