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June 8, 2016

Brooke Henderson

Sammamish, Washington

KRAIG KANN: Good afternoon once again everybody, welcome to the KPMG Women's PGA Championship. It's great to have here Brooke Henderson, currently No. 4 in the Rolex Women's World Rankings. She's got her rain gear on, it's a little wet out there right now. What do you think of this golf course, you've been here since Monday?

BROOKE HENDERSON: It's really beautiful. Showing up here on Monday and seeing the tall, tall trees and the green grass, it was really incredible. I got to see the course a couple of times the last few days. I'm looking forward to the week, I think it will be a great test for everybody, and hopefully have some strong days.

KRAIG KANN: You haven't played out on Tour all that long, you haven't played all that many Major Championships. This golf course is drawing rave reviews from a lot of people. What's so special about it from your point of view?

BROOKE HENDERSON: I think it challenges every part of your game. Off the tee it can be tight and it's playing very long. So having good tee shots and having good strategy off the tee is very important. And the second shots aren't that much easier. They're small greens and well guarded with bunkers and long rough. Hitting the greens I think is really important, too. Just like any Major Championship when you miss greens you need to be able to get up and down. I think it's going to take a well-rounded player to win this week, and someone with a lot of patience.

KRAIG KANN: You've already won on Tour. And obviously winning a regular event is one mindset, coming into a major championship is another mindset. Do you look at it any differently this week? Is there more pressure in your mind to perform, more difficult? How do you assess that?

BROOKE HENDERSON: Well, Major Championships I've actually placed pretty well in over the last couple of years. Last year I had two T-5 finishes, one at the KPMG PGA of America Championship. I'm looking forward to getting out there. That patience I was talking about earlier is something I've been working on really hard on my game. I think with Major Championships someone will go out and shoot a really low number the first day. But then the course tends to get tougher and the scores tend to get closer to even par. I think if I can hang around there and maybe have a solid weekend I can maybe contend for that championship.

KRAIG KANN: I'm looking at this again. No. 4 in the Rankings. Big smile on your face. Are you dreaming?

BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, I am. It's very surreal. Last year I was way over 200 when I started my pro career. And then start of this year I was 18th. And right away I set a goal, I wanted to crack the top-10. I was able to do that just a couple of months into the season. And it keeps on getting better.

KRAIG KANN: You lead the LPGA right now with nine top-10 finishes this year. Clearly that would make most people thrilled. Are you satisfied with that or do you come in here with other expectations you maybe haven't reached yet?

BROOKE HENDERSON: I've had a very solid season. I haven't played as well as maybe I would have liked. And there's a couple of tournaments, I think four, that I haven't finished in the top-10 where I was kind of kicking myself and that was one last week.

Coming to this week I practiced a little bit harder and tried to get a better game plan. But overall I'm very happy with nine top-10 finishes. That's really cool especially in what is called my rookie year this year. I'm excited for the rest of the summer. And hopefully a win is just around the corner.

Q. I was wondering, what do you think the strongest part of your game is? What are some of the things you work on in your golf swing?
BROOKE HENDERSON: The strongest part of my game would definitely be long game, so off the tee. And then iron shots, approach shots, which I think has really led to my success this far this season, and hopefully again this week. I'm not a technical player. I'm very much a feel player. And balance, posture, things like that are important to me, but as to where my hands should be or where my club should be at the top, it doesn't really bother me.

Q. How much pressure do you feel representing Canada, both here at this tournament and coming up here in a couple of months with the Olympics?
BROOKE HENDERSON: I love it. I've played on Canada's National Team since I was 14. I've won the Maple Leaf on my shirt since then. I love being announced that I am from Canada. I know I have fans all across the country. And I'm starting to build fans around the world. It's really an incredible feeling to know that I am the face of Canadian women's golf right now and everyone is behind me.

KRAIG KANN: The definition of Canadian golf fans is what? How crazy are they for you?

BROOKE HENDERSON: They're pretty crazy. They show a lot of support.

KRAIG KANN: It's interesting, you've got your hands in your pocket. You're Canadian, you're supposed to be like -- this is perfect weather for you, you won in Portland, here you are not that far from the Canadian border.

BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, and I think being in the Northwest is really cool. And I love the surroundings. I mentioned the tall trees and the green grass before, but it's just such beautiful views and the hills and the mountains. I have good vibes, winning in Portland. Portland is a little bit similar, not quite the same course but very close. I'm looking forward to a good week.

Q. Ariya came in yesterday and said she won't hit driver at all this week. And Lexi early today said she could see herself hitting as many as ten drivers. Does this course tempt driver? Does it require it? How will you go about deciding when to pull that particular club? Will you have more of a sound pretournament strategy or will you let the feel kind of dictate that?
BROOKE HENDERSON: The driver is normally the best club in my bag. It definitely gives me an advantage over a lot of the field. Over the last few days when I've been playing course I've been trying to pick it apart and holes I know driver is the club for me and maybe it fits my eye a little bit better. But I think a lot of it has to do with feel.

Also when I played holes I hit driver and then I also looked where the widest part of the fairway was, and maybe I would hit 3-wood or 7-wood off the tees to get it there. Like I said, it's the best club in the bag for me, so when I hit it I want to hit it and I want to be as far down the fairway as I can to have a short shot in.

Q. At what age did you decide I'm going to turn pro and not play college golf?
BROOKE HENDERSON: That was a really tough decision for me. It took a long time. When my sister was being recruited to go play golf in the States I was like eight years old and a little bit older. And she received like piles and piles of letters from schools and I was like, wow, this is unbelievable. And one of those schools that really stuck out to me was the University of Florida. I painted my entire room the Gators colors. I had a Gator head cover in my bag.

I received my first letter from them when I was in grade 8. So it was just kind of -- that was something that I really dreamed of. I really wanted to play for them. And so I verbally committed in grade 11, I believe. And then it was tough to tell them, no, that it wasn't the right decision for me. It's turned out really well. They were really supportive of my decision to turn pro. It's all worked out for the better, I think.

KRAIG KANN: What does your room look like now?

BROOKE HENDERSON: It's still Gators, I'm still a big fan.

Q. Winning a major tournament, winning a medal in the Olympics, which is more important for you?
BROOKE HENDERSON: I think they're pretty close. The Olympics to me is kind of like I 6th major on the LPGA Tour. The LPGA has five extremely strong events on the schedule and every time you mention a major championship it kind of sends shivers down your back little bit. It's really important to me and I think everybody competing this week. So to choose one over the other, I don't think I can do that.

Q. You said that about your long game, Curtis Strange this morning told me no major has ever been won with a long game, it's all about the short game. What is the state of your short game right now, and is it something you're comfortable with going into this week?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, I think the week starting after ANA I put a lot of focus on my short game to try to get it a little bit better. And so when I did miss greens I was able to get up and down pretty easily. And I mentioned before, too, any Major Championship can't be won without the short game. I know that. It doesn't matter how well you're hitting it, you're going to miss a green at some point. So you've got to be able to get up and down.

I have a new putter in the bag this week, it just came out on Monday and I'm really liking it and I'm putting really well with it now. I'm looking forward to giving it a chance.

Q. To follow up on that a little bit, given where most of us were at age 18, how do you prepare yourself for the level of patience that it's going to take for 72 holes of a major and a very difficult golf course?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, and patience is something that I've worked on for a really long time. I think to have the nine top-10s that I had this season it took a lot of patience. Because I wasn't necessarily in the top-10 right from the start of the week, starting on Thursday. I kind of got a couple of good rounds in and then was able to stay patient and wait for my game to kick in and then finally make some birdies on Sunday to climb up the leaderboard.

I think it's the same thing this week with a major championship. With this tough of a golf course you can't expect to hit everything perfect and be in a great position right from the start.

So I think that patience is something that I've worked hard on mentally to have. I think it will really come in handy.

KRAIG KANN: When you say you've worked really hard on that mentally, how? What do you do? Tournament to tournament do you have talks with yourself? Do you write down notes? Do you talk with parents? How does that work for it a player who's 18 years old and hasn't been out here all that long.

BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, my dad, he played a lot of high level sports, although he doesn't have a degree in psychology he's very, very good at it. He's helped me along the way the whole time.

And over the last couple of weeks I haven't been hitting the ball as well as I maybe would have liked. I haven't gotten the results really that I was looking for, even though they're still pretty good.

And so just through experience I'm continuing to practice that patience, and just waiting for the right time for me, for my time to come. And talking with him and just going through some things that I think has happened helped.

Q. You've been around long enough to see what Inbee Park is capable of in a major. I think most people are dismissing her this week because of her thumb injury, what do you think?
BROOKE HENDERSON: I don't think you can ever count her out. I played with Inbee in the third round of this championship last year, when she shot 9-under. I really saw firsthand what she's capable of. And I saw what it takes to win a major championship through her. Hopefully I'll learn my lesson this week.

KRAIG KANN: On the No. 4 World Ranking and 18 years old. I want some perspective from you on what it's truly like to be out here at that age. In professional sports today somebody gets drafted into the NFL as a quarterback they're expected to compete right away, they start, they make a lot of money. An NBA player in the lottery is expected to score 20 points a game and get the team to the playoffs.

A player like you has rocketed up to No. 4 in the world and suddenly the expectations go up. How do you manage that, what's that like for you? You're not just a player out here anymore.

BROOKE HENDERSON: Well, for me I'm just really living the dream, something that I wanted to do since I was a young girl. Every week, every month, every year, I'm just continuing to improve and continuing to get better. I am starting to feel a little bit more of those expectations. And I have more media attention. I have more attention from fans. Right now it's really cool. And I'm just trying to enjoy it as much as I can and just continue to get better as a person and a player and really soak all the extra things in.

KRAIG KANN: Is this as good as you thought it was going to be.


Q. Any of your fellow players needling you about the fact that none of the Canadian teams made the NHL playoffs this year?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yes, that is kind of heartbreaking.

Q. Anybody needling you, though?
BROOKE HENDERSON: No, they're all pretty good about it.

KRAIG KANN: No. 4 in the World, Brooke Henderson, thanks so much. Good luck this week. Appreciate it.


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