home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


April 2, 2017

Russell Henley

Humble, Texas

AMANDA HERRINGTON: We'd like to welcome our 2017 Shell Houston Open champion, Russell Henley. Russell after three consecutive Top 7's here, it's about time you got the win with the final 65 here. Very impressive. How does it feel to go back in the winner's circle?

RUSSELL HENLEY: Hasn't really hit me yet. Last year was a little bit of a struggle for me. I think I missed 9 of the first 10 cuts. And as a competitor and a golfer, I feel like, you know, you're always going to be harder on yourself than everybody else is, and I just -- I just didn't know what happened. And so a year later I'm holding up the trophy here, it's pretty special.

I didn't -- I wasn't expecting to go back to Augusta, I was planning on not going, but I was going to try my best to win. So, the fact I get to go back is pretty cool and I'm excited. It hasn't really sunk in yet, though.

AMANDA HERRINGTON: We look forward to seeing you next week. You're already a two-time winner on the TOUR this year. Jumped to 11 in the FedExCup standings. Made it to the playoffs, made it to the TOUR championship once before. How does this position you for the rest of the season?

RUSSELL HENLEY: It's great. I feel like I've had a really consistent season so far. I missed my first cut at the Frys after making equipment change to Titleist and just wasn't really quite dialed in and comfortable with it yet. And as the fall went on, I got better and better with it, and this year I feel like I'm starting to get really comfortable with all the stuff and I feel like it's improved my game a lot, using all Titleist stuff. And that's been really, really great.

I just think the consistent play I've had has given me confidence. I've made a lot of cuts and had some Top 25's. Although I haven't quite been close to the lead, I feel like my game has been there and it just kind of happened this week.

AMANDA HERRINGTON: We'll take some questions.

Q. Russell, you came out and won two quick ones right off the bat in your career, and then as you mentioned, last year you kind of struggled.
What did happen last year, and was it just tougher than you were making it out to look in the beginning?

RUSSELL HENLEY: Yeah. I think, you know, 2013 I had a win and then was a little inconsistent and kind of lost -- wasn't very confident with where I was going with improving my game and kind of what I needed to do to play well. I was lost with my swing and questioning everything. I think that happens when you play against the best players in the world.

Some guys obviously just have quick starts and have never really looked back. I struggled that year, and then the start of '14 was awful. End of '13, start of '14 was off. Missed a lot of cuts. Played really bad. Somehow won the Honda. The rest of that year I can't say I was really a confident golfer at that point. I knew I could play and was streaky. I wasn't very consistent.

In 2015 was a great year. I don't really know. I think I just honestly I remember just like not practicing as much because I was so frustrated with the game and I played really consistent. I had like 11 Top 25's. And last year I guess I just tried to do it again. I don't know what happened last year. Just -- it's a humbling game. This is a great experience for me to win. I'm confident about it, but, I mean, I also look back on all the times I've struggled, too, and I feel like it's molded me to be tougher.

Q. Russell, did you at all feel like the overlooked guy in that final threesome with Sung so far out ahead and what Rickie did? How important were the two birdies you closed with yesterday to set you up for today?
RUSSELL HENLEY: Okay. Where should I start? Yeah. You know, Rickie had some fans. He might get some momentum. No -- there's a lot of Rickie fans, and everybody is looking at Sung because he was leading by 6 after two days. And I knew it was going to be hard. I knew -- I was prepared for it to be close or prepared for, if any of them played really well today, it's going to make it really hard on me to come back.

I just tried to go into the mentality that I know I can do it, I know I can win if I play well, and I just tried to believe in it. And, yeah, I was just prepared for a very difficult round today, and two birdies yesterday were huge, you know.

I think I was 6 back going into 17 and I was walking up the fairway and I said, you know, everybody is real happy right now and it's a nice day out, everybody is watching golf, and, you know, and it seems like Sung is going to win this thing. Let's bear down. You don't know what's going to happen. You never know what's going to happen in this game.

I rolled in a long one there and one on 18. The next thing you know, I'm 4 off and got some momentum. Took a lot of confidence from that.

Q. You talked about obviously you've had a streaky history on the TOUR. There's something about you and this course, there's nothing streaky about the way you played here. 13 consecutive sub-par rounds, et cetera, et cetera. What works for you here?
RUSSELL HENLEY: I think I just I feel like I err on the fat side of the green here really well. There's some times like today on 9 when I hit it in the right bunker. I misjudged it. The greens are big and perfect. I feel like I just -- I feel like I just err to the fat side of the greens, and in turn you count up all the times I do that instead of hitting it on the short side or missing the green, and I think I might roll in a couple putts because the greens are so good, and that adds up to a couple Top 10's.

I feel like I just manage the course well. I know where to miss it and I feel comfortable. I feel like there's a lot of room for me to hit the ball coming into the greens. That's the best way I can describe it. I don't really know other than that.

Q. You talked about it hadn't hit you yet. Are you shocked with the 7-shot swing, you were down 4, come in and win by 3. When did it hit you, hey, you're going to Augusta, the second part?
RUSSELL HENLEY: Yeah. I didn't know what they were going to do under the pressure. I didn't know what Rickie was going to do or Sung. I didn't know what Daniel Berger was going to do. I try not to pay too much attention to the leaderboard. I just tried to bear down, and I was just -- I was trying to win by 10.

I feel like if I was up a couple and I said I don't like this, this doesn't go comfortable. I need to be up by more to be comfortable. I feel like that was kind of the mentality.

I started thinking about Augusta probably on like 16, 15 or 16, and I just -- I knew that anything could happen, but I couldn't help but think about it. It excited me. I don't know. It's a cool experience, and, like I said, it hasn't sunk in quite yet.

Q. You mentioned the greens and how especially -- the overall golf course, the fans that you talked about, what's been the vibe last four days now that you played here for awhile in terms of comparing this course to other courses, this area to other courses you play at?
RUSSELL HENLEY: Yeah. I mean, it's one of the best manicured courses I mean on Tour. It's so green. It's perfect in every spot. There aren't really spots in the fairway where it's thinner in one spot and then another spot the grass is a little longer and more lush. Very consistent throughout and the greens have always been just spectacular.

I just -- I think it's definitely one of the best. I don't think there's really one that I would say is better on Tour.

I think that gives me confidence knowing the greens are really smooth.

Q. Obviously the Masters and the Majors, you compare this to non-Major events this stacks up fine?
RUSSELL HENLEY: I can't think of one that's better. The golf courses we play are very, very good, but I don't see a blade of grass here that's, you know, off.

Q. The Masters is special to anybody that goes. As a former Georgia golfer, it's got to be a little extra special for you? And second part of that, logistically, you know, you got a lot of stuff to get sorted out?
RUSSELL HENLEY: Hopefully somebody is doing that for me right now (laughter). Yeah. It's cool. It will be my fourth Masters. If I was in college and I was a senior in college and you said, hey, Russ, if you could say the next five years you're going the play golf on the PGA TOUR and play in four Masters, would you take that -- and you win three times, would you take that in? I would say, "Sign me up." I'm very thankful. It's very tough to get in the Masters and it's exciting.

Q. Russell, on 9 you had been rolling so well and then things kind of came apart there with the double bogey, but Sung also had a bogey there. Did the fact that he bogeyed that hole kind of mitigate the fact that you double-bogeyed?
RUSSELL HENLEY: I think so, yeah. I didn't expect him to make bogey there, he hits it so well. I didn't hit a great shot, but I kind of got a bad break. My ball landed on the lip and shot -- I had no chance. Little bit of a bad break. Try to shake it off.

That putt, I just figured it would be slower than that, and then I feel like I missed that putt before on that same pin. I've always not played enough break. I just thought about it, and I was like, well, I didn't really do anything that bad there. That first putt I hit could have gone in. I didn't miss it by much. So, I just said, you're playing great. That one stinks, but keep doing it.

Q. Playing in the final group making 10 birdies, where does this round stack up in terms of some of the best of your career?
RUSSELL HENLEY: I made 10 birdies today?

Q. I believe so.
RUSSELL HENLEY: Oh, wow. Wow. Yeah. Then I guess it's definitely the best (laughter). My first Tour event I played in, I shot 3, six 3's, and won by 3-over. Tim Clark, who I've now gotten to be friends with even, he's helped me with my game.

I would say it's definitely the best. Rickie has won recently. He's playing with a lot of confidence and he's a super talented player. He's fun to play with. But when you play with him, you know just by the first thing, that guy is made to play golf. He's got a great wedge game, a good putter. He's very sharp. His whole game is very sharp. You just -- you know that's going -- you know he's probably going to play well.

And Sung has been playing great. I didn't see him hit that bad of a shot yesterday on Saturday. I knew it was going to be hard. But yeah, I would say it's definitely my best round. I felt very in control. I felt very nervous, but I felt very in control and very disciplined. It was good.

Q. You mentioned the equipment change, whole new set of clubs. What was the biggest sort of thing you had to adjust to and are you somewhat surprised to win I think in your like 7th start since the clubs?
RUSSELL HENLEY: I am surprised. I think everybody probably is. I think the biggest was the driver and the ball. The ball -- but it wasn't a hard change with the ball. Just such -- it's an incredible ball. I played the 2015 Pro V1 x. It spins and flies very flat in the wind. The wind doesn't hit it much right to left or left to right. Getting used to it. It took me awhile to trust it, because I feel like I didn't trust myself before and now I'm starting to realize this stuff is really good and if I'm aiming at something, I can trust it's going to go there, it's going to fly the way I want it, won't go too far.

I think you have a little more belief in the consistency of it all. It took me a little bit. From the get-go I knew it was the right move.

Q. You said you were amazed that you had 10 birdies?

Q. You never went more than two holes without a birdie. Just tell -- how difficult it is to win on this Tour?
RUSSELL HENLEY: It is. You got to keep the pedal down. You got -- for me it's about keeping the pedal down and bracing the nerves and just hanging in there. Todd and I always talk about, my caddy, let's play 72 holes the best we can. Because you never know what's going to happen. I was going down 17 yesterday, 6 back, and I could have gotten in the vibe of oh, this thing -- you know, Sung is in control of this thing, but I just beared down and I just kept after it like -- and to answer your question, it's very hard. I feel like I had some lucky breaks to win the Honda. I figure one guy would make the birdie on 18 on the playoff hole. I was the only one who did it. It's very hard to win. Weird game like that. You have to keep making birdies because somebody is going to make birdies and beat you if you don't.

Q. A very unique question to Houston, you will now forever be remembered as the last Shell Houston Open champion, the third oldest sponsorship on the Tour.
RUSSELL HENLEY: Yeah, it's cool. I love the event, love the course, the locker room scene, very comfortable, and love the old pictures like Freddie Couples hitting. I've always felt very comfortable on the golf course. Yeah, it's crazy. I mean, I think some great players have won here. I remember a couple years ago, I don't think I was on Tour yet, but Phil going real low and Chris Kirk coming in second, just being amazed at how green the course was, watching it on TV, and now I won it, too.


Q. Russell, what's happening inside you that we can't see?
RUSSELL HENLEY: I'm thinking about what I want for dinner. I'm trying to think where I want to take my wife. I think I want a cheeseburger.

Q. How will you celebrate?
RUSSELL HENLEY: I'll probably just go call a couple friends, talk to my parents, my brother, and talk to my wife a little bit, and just talk about the day and I might get some ice cream. And tomorrow if we have a place to stay in Augusta, which we usually get a house, but I don't know if there's going to be any available now, I probably like to watch a movie with my wife and hang out.

AMANDA HERRINGTON: We will let you get to your new travel itinerary. Thank you for joining us and congratulations.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297