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August 24, 2016

Brooke Henderson

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

THE MODERATOR: Happy to be joined in the media center here by Brooke Henderson, three-time LPGA winner, major champion, Olympian for Team Canada. Brooke, let's go back to about a year ago now where you're coming off your first win in Portland heading into CP and you've just become a member of the LPGA Tour. Does it seem like a year has passed already, and what has this year been like for you?

BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, it's really been an incredible journey, even 18 months ago when I turned pro and moved my World Ranking from way over 200 in the world down to No. 3 now, and as you mentioned coming to the CP Canadian Open after coming off my first win last year at the Portland Classic was truly amazing coming back to be able to celebrate it with Canadians everywhere and the fans and support that I got that week was truly incredible.

I was teeing off early in the mornings, and the fairways were lined with fans, and afterwards so many people wanted autographs and pictures. I kind of felt the love from Canada, which was awesome.

Over the past year I've grown relationships and supporters and fans all over the world, but it's always nice to come back home to Canada and to be here this week, and hopefully represent my country well.

THE MODERATOR: Speaking of representing your country, you were in Rio last week. Obviously not the results you would have wanted, but what was the Olympic experience like for you?

BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, you know, being an Olympian, being able to go down to Rio for the 2016 Olympic Summer Games was awesome. My sister and I, Brit, we really enjoyed the whole experience. Finishing two strokes back from a bronze medal is kind of a little bit hard to take when you look back and you think about some of the shots that you could have gained over the four rounds, but on the other hand, I played really well. I played my best that week, and it just wasn't good enough to stand on the podium.

But I learned a lot about myself on and off the course, and I think moving forward, I'll gain a lot of experience, a lot of knowledge just from playing those four rounds down in Rio, and being able to stay in the Olympic Village and see the athletes as they train and prepare for their events and see them just all around the village doing everything that they need, and then afterwards, after they've competed after four years of training so hard, seeing them kind of relax and party and just kind of be regular people was cool, as well.

THE MODERATOR: Coming off Rio representing Canada and then coming to this event, what does the CP Women's Canadian Open mean to you as Canada's national championship?

BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, exactly. The CP Canadian Open is our national championship. Having Canadians and people from all over the world kind of celebrate this national championship is really cool. Even this morning, I teed off at 8:00 in a pro-am on Wednesday, and there was people following me right from the start. My gallery kind of grew throughout the day, and as I finished my round, that was probably the longest autograph session that I've ever had just with pictures and people supporting me.

It's always really nice to have that support and know that the whole country is behind me, and not only Canada but around the world, as I mentioned. I'm continuing to grow relationships with fans and supporters. It's a lot of fun, and I'm looking forward to this week here in Calgary and then going back a little bit closer to home in Toronto next week.

Q. I was wondering how difficult it would be coming back sort of into the real world coming from the Olympics back to -- I know it's a big tournament, but is it going to be more difficult?
BROOKE HENDERSON: You know, Rio was kind of just like a sixth major out on the LPGA Tour. Of course there was lots of other things going on, lots of possible distractions, and it was like the world's biggest stage for sport, and seeing those other athletes and seeing the different sports and learning about it was really cool. But at the end of the day, it was just four rounds of golf, regular stroke play, individual that we do every single week, playing against the same players that we play against every week. Nothing that way was too different. So coming here it's just kind of another week out on Tour, but being in Canada, being our national championship, it's important to me, as every other event on the LPGA Tour is.

Q. We haven't had a Canadian champion in the Canadian Open since 1973; does that put any pressure on you?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Not at all. I mean, it's definitely something that I'm hoping to break, that history, either this year, next year or in a couple years, I don't know. But I hope -- I'm going to give it a good effort this week, and I tee off at 1:30 tomorrow, so I'll do some practice this afternoon and try and get everything almost perfect and then I'll go out and try and play my best over the next four days, and we'll see what happens.

Q. Golf is golf, but it's significantly different traditional course here compared to what you had in Rio, plus to have the super long travel day to get here. What's the biggest challenge making the transition, getting back on the Tour and getting to that level where you have been all year long?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, you know, it was a long flight. I think it was 15 hours on a plane. It's only a three-hour time change, so it isn't too difficult. But I was talking to Caroline a few days ago who competed for Germany, and she was saying that people keep asking her that question, too, but out on the LPGA Tour our schedule is so diverse and we go to so many different countries and we travel so much that it's really just like a regular event. You have travel day either Sunday night or Monday, and that's exactly what we did. I got here Monday morning I guess mid-morning around 11:00, and then by the time I got to the golf course -- my clubs were actually lost for a few hours, but I got them Monday night. Everything was kind of similar to a regular Tour event. It was just maybe a little bit longer journey coming from Rio.

Q. You're obviously going to be a tremendous favorite from all the fans that are going to be here this weekend. Do you look forward to all of that? You mentioned the signing of the autographs already, but it's going to be huge crowds and you're going to get a lot of attention.
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, for sure. I'm definitely looking forward to it, feeling their energy and feeling their support. I know I'm going to hit a bad shot here and there, but they're going to be behind me the whole way. You know, it's an exciting week for me just like next week is, too, back in Canada.

When I won my first major at Sahalee a few weeks ago, it was pretty close to the Canadian border, and I felt like the whole week I had the most, I guess, favoritism or I felt that support from the fans, and it fueled me, it kind of helped me keep going, and I think it kind of resulted in my win, so hopefully this week I can feel that energy again and good things will happen.

Q. The top three in the World Rankings right now, obviously 19, 20 and 18 years old. Do you think there's a common thread there at all in what helped the three of you get so good at such a young age?
BROOKE HENDERSON: I think we have very similar things. You know, we are young, so we have lots of energy. We're very enthusiastic, a common faith, which I believe in very strongly, and I know the others do, too, and I think golf has just continued to grow stronger and stronger, and it's getting younger. You can see that. The girls coming behind us playing junior and amateur rankings right now, they're getting more opportunities, more experience, and you can see really good players coming behind us.

I think that trend will kind of continue of young people near the top, and I'm just hoping that the three of us can continue what we're doing and continue to grow with the whole movement.

Q. I think your first LPGA event was when Lydia made history as a 15-year-old winner. Do you remember what your reaction was that week to see a 15 year old accomplish that?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, that was my first LPGA Tour event and I was 14, so I thought I was doing pretty big things, and then I saw a 15 year old kind of come in and sweep the field away. I learned a lot from that week.

Lydia is truly amazing. She's an inspiration to me and I think everybody that knows her, even if they're players or fans or whoever. She has done incredible things in her career thus far, and it's just getting started. I think the future is bright for the LPGA Tour, and like I said, I think that the Tour is just going to continue to get younger and that momentum is just continuing to build.

Q. I know you mentioned Rio off the top; how do you look back on it? I know it's just a few days ago, but do you feel like one got away because of the tough third round?
BROOKE HENDERSON: I mean, I can look back on any round and find two shots that I could have been that much better. But like I said, there were times where maybe I didn't play my best, but there was others that I made putts or I made shots that I didn't even think were -- I was capable at that moment to do. It all balances out and all works out the way it should. It is kind of hard to take thinking that I could have possibly been a bronze medalist, silver or gold, just if things worked out a little bit differently. But I think over the next few weeks and when I look back at it when I'm older, I'll be very proud of my performance and how I played, and I think it's just good momentum and good things going forward to 2020 and for the rest of the season, too.

Q. How happy or maybe glad are you that you made the decision to go to Rio?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, I think -- I've been saying it for a long time, but I think becoming an Olympian and a high-level athlete like that is really an opportunity of a lifetime, to go down there and to compete, and I'm really glad we did. Our biggest concern was Zika, and I saw only three mosquitos. It was very dramatic every time we saw one, but it all worked out really well.

Q. From what you've seen, I know you played here I think in July and then the last couple days, whoever is sitting here on Sunday talking about a victory, what's going to be the key for one person to get to that point on this golf course?
BROOKE HENDERSON: You know, it can be -- you've got to play good shots around here. I think like any golf course, you need to hit fairways, you need to hit greens. You need to pay attention to slopes. The greens are quite a bit faster than we've played recently and a little bit firmer. Just knowing bounces, playing smart, good calculations, which comes into caddies a lot, too, so Brit has been working really hard over the last few days to try and take really good notes and make sure that she's ready to give me good numbers so that I can perform well. Yeah, you know, just like any tournament, I think it's going to be won around the greens, but hopefully I'll hit good shots and make it a little easier on myself.

Q. You said you have to be smart around here, but there are some holes that you can kind of take on. What's your game plan off the tee? Are you going to be a little bit aggressive in some places or are you going to be a little bit more safe do you think?
BROOKE HENDERSON: I mean, this golf course I think off the tee it's not a huge deal. There's definitely some holes where you can lay up. I probably will. But for the most part it's pretty generous off the tee. I think the par-5s are ones that you really need to get, but other than that, it's just make sure you're hitting fairways.

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