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May 27, 2015

Brooke Henderson


Q.テつ Welcome to New Jersey.テつ Awesome.テつ So you've had obviously a very busy stretch over the past couple of weeks.テつ Overall how are you feeling?テつ Tired wise, energetic wise?テつ I know you said you've been trying to pace yourself a little bit, but how are you feeling coming into this week?
BROOKE HENDERSON:テつ I'm really excited for this week.テつ It will be a lot of fun, and I've really been enjoying myself for the lasts couple of weeks starting really in San Francisco.テつ That was really a big turning point for me finishing third there and just sort of building confidence every week after that.テつ Kingsmill two weeks ago I didn't have a great start, struggling a little bit, but I was able to find it on the second day late in the round and then on the final round finishing 4‑under, and I left a lot of shots out there.テつ So again, that was really nice to be able to climb up the leaderboard on Sunday.
And leading into this week I'm hitting the ball really well and I'm excited for what will happen.

Q.テつ Initial thoughts on the course?テつ You haven't been here before?
BROOKE HENDERSON:テつ No.テつ This is my first time to the course.テつ I like it.テつ There's definitely some tricky shots out there.テつ Some greens are very sloppy in some spots, so you just gotta be careful about that, and the wind it really picks up.
And my Back 9 with the pro am standing on 18 the wind was really blowing, so just gotta keep my head up.

Q.テつ Awesome.テつ Now, give us a little bit more in depth‑‑ I don't know if these guys know that you on your off weeks have been caddying for your sister.テつ You caddied Monday I think for her.

Q.テつ So you kind of said it's such a great vision of being a caddy in terms of just taking an off‑week, but you said it's helped your game a lot.テつ Talk us through that a little bit.
BROOKE HENDERSON:テつ Yeah.テつ Exactly.テつ I think caddying for her has really added a lot to my game, definitely from visioning shots and just more calculating numbers and determining wind and just different factors.テつ I think it just speeds up my process when I play, and it has really allowed me to play well on a lot of weeks.
I've always looked up to my older sister, and growing up I used to watch her every single week, every weekend playing tournaments, and want to be just like her.テつ So now that I can help her and she's going to help me, she's going to be on my bag this week.テつ It's a pretty cool experience.

Q.テつ Was there any rivalry between you and her when you were growing up?テつ Obviously you were too young, she was probably hitting the ball by you for a lot of years and now you've probably caught up to her.
BROOKE HENDERSON:テつ Yeah, exactly.テつ I think having someone to look up to like that has really made me the player I am today, because I was always trying to get to her distance and driver, and I think that's one of the reasons why I do hit the ball so far.

Q.テつ Family negotiation now that she's caddying for you.テつ Did you guys strike a deal?テつ How did that conversation go?テつ Is it, all right, I'll caddy for you if you caddy for me?
BROOKE HENDERSON:テつ Sort of.テつ Yeah, she's been pretty good.テつ She's caddied for me a lot, so it's nice when I can return the favor in my off weeks.
I was at two Symetra event in the last three weeks caddying for her and then the Monday qualifier earlier this week.テつ And she caddied for me the last two days at Kingsmill and then hopefully all three days here.

Q.テつ Are you a vocal caddy?テつ Is she a vocal caddy?テつ Are you more a shut up and keep up?テつ What's your style out there?
BROOKE HENDERSON:テつ Well, it's cool because we both know our games pretty well.テつ You know, we've grown up together, and our dad is our main coach, so we have a lot of the same like thinking over a shot and everything like that.テつ So just being able to talk to her and really commit over a shot, I think, has really benefited me.
And sometimes she knows what to tell me when I'm not playing so well to get me going, and she knows what to say to keep me on a roll if that happens.

Q.テつ What was your‑‑ when you turned pro, what was your confidence level coming in?テつ Did you kind of expect to be successful right away?テつ Were you taking it as brand new?テつ Did you think there would be a period of adjustment?テつ Just what were your kind of expectations when you turned pro?
BROOKE HENDERSON:テつ Definitely this year I wanted to take it as a learning experience year, because a lot of things are new, you know, traveling and playing LPGA Tour events more consistently than I have in the past couple of years.テつ And I knew it was going to be a tough road, Monday qualifying and playing mini tours and just all that stuff, but I've been very blessed and grateful for the opportunities that I've been given over the last couple of weeks, and playing well in San Francisco really opened up a lot of doors for me.テつ I'll be playing in three of the majors and hopefully Evian, too.
Yeah, it's unbelievable where I am right now, but I know that I'm really a long way from where I want to be, and I gotta work hard to get there.

Q.テつ When you see other players, like we just had Michelle Wie in here, and she was one of the first ones to really come out as a teen.テつ And you see Lexi has come out.テつ Now Lydia Ko has won twice this year.テつ A lot of rookies have won; you've played well.テつ Does it help you to see that hey, this has been done before?テつ I'm not trying to do something that's never been done before, there is sort of a formula for this basically?
BROOKE HENDERSON:テつ Yeah, definitely.テつ They have been huge role models for me and I think all the young girls and even guys, you know.テつ They're incredible players, and just the way they handle themselves on and off the course I think is really admirable, and I'm going to just try to do the same thing as them and try to make my way out here.

Q.テつ When you were growing up, who was your favorite?
BROOKE HENDERSON:テつ My older sister and Morgan Pressel.

Q.テつ And you played with Morgan Pressel in San Francisco.

Q.テつ What was that like?
BROOKE HENDERSON:テつ It was cool.テつ I played with her in the U.S. Open two years before, and so I've known her a little bit since then.テつ But being able to play with her in the final round on Sunday was a neat experience.

Q.テつ I'll bet.テつ Could you go over the thought process you had; you're close to getting out of high school.テつ You have obviously had a lot of scholarship offers or you could go pro.テつ What was your thinking?テつ Did college have a chance or was it always your goal to turn pro after high school?
BROOKE HENDERSON:テつ I committed to the University of Florida in my junior year of high school, in January.テつ So I was committed to University of Florida, and coaches watched me a lot during the summer and everything like that.テつ But I just‑‑ I just continued to get better and continued to improve and finishing tied tenth in the U.S. Open.テつ And I knew my game was at a great level and then getting to the world No. 1 spot in the amateur rankings was also a huge confidence booster, and I knew I had a chance to go pro and a chance to make it, and I wanted to take advantage of that opportunity, because you never know; you wait four years and anything can happen.

Q.テつ Sure.テつ Of course.テつ That's pretty interesting.テつ A lot of advice‑‑ I'm sure you got a lot of advice, both asked for and not asked for from people?
BROOKE HENDERSON:テつ Yeah, for sure.テつ People definitely told me what they were thinking, and I appreciate that.

Q.テつ What's the biggest thing that's surprised you so far?テつ You've been playing pretty consistently schedule wise?テつ Anything anybody's lent advice for, anything that's kind of been, oh, my gosh, I didn't expect this to happen while I was playing?テつ Anything that stuck out?
BROOKE HENDERSON:テつ I think everything that's happened has been a positive.テつ You know, the girls have really reached out to me, and just yesterday Juli Inkster said, hey, Brooke, and tapped me on the shoulder walking by, and I played with her a few weeks ago, and that just meant a lot coming from her.
And I can say the same for a ton of girls out here, Alena Sharp and Lorie Kane also have really reached out and have helped in the process.テつ You know, it's been a new experience, traveling a lot.テつ I traveled a lot as an amateur, too, but it's a little bit different now.テつ And I've been really enjoying myself.

Q.テつ Talk about when you played in San Francisco, you came very close to being in the playoff, and then you had to get out of town to go to Texas for the qualifier.

Q.テつ What was that like?テつ I mean the whole process, was it like really exhausting or exhilarating?テつ What was it like and how did you stay awake?
BROOKE HENDERSON:テつ I think at that point it was a lot of adrenaline.

Q.テつ She's 17.テつ She can do it.
BROOKE HENDERSON:テつ Yeah.テつ Exactly.

Q.テつ Awe, those days.
BROOKE HENDERSON:テつ But I wanted to be able to play in Texas that week, and I wanted to give myself an opportunity to do that, so I had to take that red‑eye flight.テつ And I hadn't seen the golf course before, so I sent my caddy out early and he scouted it around, and I had my coach, he walked the course earlier that morning, too, so I had a couple of eyes.

Q.テつ It helped?
BROOKE HENDERSON:テつ Yeah.テつ And Alena Sharp, she actually gave me some good notes to help me get around the course, too.テつ So I had a lot of help and I was able to pull it off.

Q.テつ You mentioned that you had committed to Florida, but how old were you when you first, even if it was in the back of your head, started thinking about, hey, maybe I could turn pro?テつ Was it right when you made the decision or you know, were you 10 years old thinking, you know, I want to be‑‑ I want to be a pro right away?テつ I mean when did that thought first start to pop into your head?
BROOKE HENDERSON:テつ When I was a little girl, I always dreamed of playing on the LPGA Tour and making a living out here and playing golf every single day.テつ But you know, it was a long‑term goal, and I was a little girl, and I think when I was 14, I won my first professional event and became the youngest player ever to do that. テつAnd I think right then I thought it was more realistic and more possible.
And I worked really hard since then.テつ And even now I don't have my full tour card.テつ I'm still striving to be the best that I can be and hopefully have my full status next year on tour.

Q.テつ When did you first pick up a golf club?
BROOKE HENDERSON:テつ Really young, like three maybe.

Q.テつ And that was basically the influence of your sister or did your dad play a lot and you wanted to be with him?
BROOKE HENDERSON:テつ Yeah.テつ A little bit of both.テつ My dad taught both of us how to play, and she's six‑and‑a‑half years older than I am, so she would have been nine‑and‑a‑half.テつ So she was playing a lot, and I wanted to be out there, too.

Q.テつ Having full tour status, I know you tried to get it this year and they said you were too young.テつ How is it going?テつ Is that true you can take the money that you've won this year over?
MEGHAN FLANAGAN:テつ The stuff she earns this year since she'll be 18 at the end of the year.

Q.テつ Right.テつ So she won't even have to go to Q‑School if she makes enough money.

Q.テつ How does that sound, I mean not having to go through Q‑School or are you prepared just in case you do have to do it?
BROOKE HENDERSON:テつ Well, the goal is not to go, but I'm definitely preparing to go to Q‑School because finishing in the top 40 would be a hard task, especially playing only 10 events this year.テつ And hopefully I'll play a couple more with Monday qualifiers, but looks like 10.テつ And every week I have to play really well and try and climb up the leaderboard every single day, and especially on Sundays, to get a good check.テつ And really, I think if I play my game and play how I know I can, I think it's definitely very realistic goal.テつ But you know, golf is a funny game.

Q.テつ Yes, it is.
BROOKE HENDERSON:テつ And anything can happen.

Q.テつ Makes us laugh all the time.
BROOKE HENDERSON:テつ So definitely Q‑School is on my radar.

Q.テつ And is there a lot of competition to get you at these tournaments?テつ Do you actually have tournaments that you can pick and choose where you go?テつ It seems like you get a lot of offers, at least the way I see it, because of how talented you are?
BROOKE HENDERSON:テつ Well, all my exemptions are used up now because I have a maximum of six. テつSo now it's just Monday qualifiers or qualifying through good play.

Q.テつ Why did you pick this‑‑ I mean the sponsor exemption for this one.テつ What sort of led you here or attracted you to this tournament?
BROOKE HENDERSON:テつ I got it early in the year, and it's a great area, and I played with the ShopRite guys earlier today in the pro am, and it was a lot of fun and they're really good people, and I was very grateful for the exemption.テつ And I think having this one has opened up a lot of doors for me too.

Q.テつ Who's been your favorite player to play with?テつ Anybody that's surprised you that you would really‑‑ I know you played with some of the younger players closer to your age but anybody that stuck out that you were like, wow, I wanted to play with them and it was great.テつ Anybody?
BROOKE HENDERSON:テつ I think I could say that about a lot of girls.テつ Definitely Morgan Pressel and Lydia Ko just last week.テつ Lexi Thompson last summer.テつ You know, there's a lot of girls that I've looked up to, and it's pretty cool to be practicing right beside them and playing with them, especially in key moments, like on Saturday and Sunday.

Q.テつ And how comfortable do you feel‑‑ I know I talked to you probably two years ago, maybe once in Canada, and you know, you're, oh, I'm so nervous out here.テつ You're kind of in your niche now where you feel like you belong.テつ I know you say you're not a member, but like you said, people know you; you're playing well.テつ You're earning your spot.テつ How much more comfortable do you feel?
BROOKE HENDERSON:テつ Much more.テつ I think every week I'm out here I get to know a few more people and build close relationships with people I already know, and I think that's really important.
And yeah, every week, I'm a little bit more comfortable and excited to play as much as I can out here.

Q.テつ Do you think‑‑ I mean I guess it's just the nature of the way things go, like you looked up to Morgan and stuff, and now you're 17 and playing.テつ Somewhere out there there's the next you is 12 or 13 looking up to you, and it seems like every year there's better and better teen players coming on tour.テつ What do you think about that?テつ Are you surprised by that or I guess do you get old in a hurry out there, here comes another 16‑year‑old behind you.テつ What do you think about that?
BROOKE HENDERSON:テつ I'm not really worrying about it right now.テつ I love seeing young girls go out and play and love the game.テつ And when I was younger I did love it, but there was also moments when I wasn't a huge fan of it, and I think having my older sister and my dad right there really pushed me to be better.
Yeah, I try and encourage young girls when I see them outside the ropes or when I talk to them to try and get them to play because it's a great game that you can play from a really young age to my great grandmother was playing in her 90s.テつ It's a pretty neat game because you can't do that in a lot of sports.

Q.テつ In terms of being competitive out here, just knowing you off the course and seeing you on the course, very low‑key personality.テつ You kind of do emotions in check very well.テつ Are you competitive off the course or are you kind of what you see on the course off the course as well?
BROOKE HENDERSON:テつ Yeah, pretty similar.

Q.テつ Even‑keeled key?
BROOKE HENDERSON:テつ Definitely maybe a little more outgoing off the course, but it just depends on who I'm with, I guess.

Q.テつ Yeah.テつ When you're in the zone.

Q.テつ Are you a hockey person?
BROOKE HENDERSON:テつ Yes.テつ I love hockey.

Q.テつ Who's going to win the Cup?
BROOKE HENDERSON:テつ I don't know.テつ I don't know.テつ That's a good question.テつ I was cheering for Ottawa, but they lost in the first round.テつ So we'll see.

Q.テつ You oughta see her coming out, her pro video.テつ Hockey themed.テつ It's awesome.テつ I'll send it to you.テつ It's great.

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