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March 27, 2018

Brooke Henderson

Rancho Mirage, California

THE MODERATOR: We are happy to have with us world No. 14 Brooke Henderson, winner of the 2016 KPMG Women's PGA Championship for one of her five LPGA victories. Welcome back to Rancho Mirage, Brooke. You said you played nine holes this morning. Tell us how the golf course is looking early in the week?

BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, I'm so excited to be back here. It's always such an amazing atmosphere. Even early in the week I'm looking at a Dinah Shore statue, walking down on 18, and seeing the Wall of Champions, talking to Amy Alcott yesterday.

The course is in pristine condition. I think the key is to definitely hit fairways. As you can see over the last few winter winners, it's definitely a long ball person's course, so hopefully I can get it out there 270-ish, and hit a lot of fairways and just see what happens.

Q. You've played here three previous times. Your best finish is a tie for 10th in 2016. What are your personal expectations or hopes, perhaps, for the week as you head into the ANA?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, my first time here was in 2014 as an amateur. That was such an amazing experience. I think every year I've definitely learned more about the course, where to hit it on certain greens and certain fairways to give myself the best advantage. I think every year I'm continuing to learn and continue to get better.

I feel more confident out here this year than I have in the past. I think if I can get my game in a great spot where I feel really comfortable, try to hit specific spots on all the greens and hopefully make a lot of birdies.

Q. What is the state of your game right now? It's been a little bit of an up-and-down year for you. You have three Top 10s, runner-up in Singapore, and three missed cuts. What is the state of your game as you come into this week's competition?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, the three Top 10s was a lot of fun. Playing in Diamond Resorts Invitational was good earlier this year as well, could almost count as four Top 10s. So I feel like my game is in a great place when I'm confident and patient. I think that's exactly what it's going to take this week.

Coming down the stretch in a major championship, whether it's on Friday trying to make the putt or Sunday on the back nine, that's really where major championships are won. So try to keep the patience. If things aren't going to go perfect, because at some point during the four days there's going to be a rough patch, especially in a major championship. So just trying to persevere through that, stay patient, and when good things happen, hopefully take it on the run.

Q. So Yeon was just in and said she saw her blackout there yesterday and her hands started to shake. Do you let yourself think about having a plaque up there or jumping in that lake at some point? Is it a dream or a fantasy?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, this has been one of my favorite major championships and one of my favorite golf tournaments on the LPGA Tour since he was a young girl. Watching everybody make that leap on TV, and then the three times I've been here before watching them actually do it live is pretty amazing.

Of course I think about it, but it's a long way away. You have to stick to your own game plan. You have to stick to what you're capable of and try to shoot the score that you have set for yourself each and every day. If you can shoot those scores, then on Sunday, like I said, if you're on that back nine and you have put yourself in a great position, then you can go and try to chase it down and leave everything out on the table. But it's going to take three solid rounds of golf to put myself in that great position.

Q. You mentioned the rough out there and the fact that the long hitters have been seemingly winning here. Those things can be contradictory. Is it just driving it straight that you have to do this week?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, ultimately I think you have to hit fairways, and that will give yourself the best opportunity to hit the greens in the correct spots and give yourself great birdie opportunities.

With that being said, Brittany Lincicome, Lexi, they hit it a really long way, and they've won here or been close the last ten years very often, so there is something to that. I think it's so they can reach the par 5s a little bit easier. I think if you can birdie all the par 5s every single day, you're going to put yourself in a good position. Then you're 4-under, and you have a lot of room to make other birdies on the other holes or you can make up for mistakes on your way around.

Q. Brooke, it's been fun watching you grow up sort of before our very eyes. You're one of those pleasant, happy Canadians. We see you smiling even when things aren't really going your way. But when they are, what are you like on the inside on the golf course? How much pressure are you feeling? Because we can't see it. What's it like for you as you sort of battle things out and try to live up to your own expectations?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, I think that's what makes golf so difficult. It's a very personal battle and you kind of have to take the good with the bad most of the time. For sure when things are going great, it seems like you're unstoppable and you can win every week or you can finish Top 10 every week. But when bad things happen, you've really got to stay patient.

That's something that I think in 2017 and even in the beginning of this year, you know, missing a couple cuts, and not playing my best at times, you've really got to stay within yourself, stay patient, and kind of trust that you know what to do.

You've just got to kind of overcome the evil or maybe the devil inside of you and kind of trust that you know you're capable of it and just try to find that inner strength.

It can be really tough sometimes. It can be frustrating. I'm not going to lie. But when you hoist a trophy again, or you get that great finish or you shoot minus-7, it makes it all worth it.

Q. Brooke, you and Lexi led the Tour in par-5 scoring last year. Can you talk about how maybe your strategy has changed over the years in the par 5s here, and specifically 18, how you attack it on the varying tee placements?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, I love when it's the up tee. That puts a smile on my face, for sure. I think probably everybody does. It gives you a great opportunity to hit the green. Though on Sunday afternoon with all the fans surrounding that green and knowing it's possibly your last long shot of the day, it does give you a little bit of nerves.

But it's exciting knowing that you can hit that ridge and possibly have a 15, 20-footer for eagle and really boost your score up. So I think 18 is a huge key to this golf course. Even as you saw in the playoffs over the years, it can really define a champion really easily.

Q. (Indiscernible)?
BROOKE HENDERSON: I think the last few years I've hit 7-wood. It's not a 3-wood, so that's good news. It comes in a little bit higher, a little bit softer.

Q. You talk about staying patient. Is that what got away from you in the tournaments that you missed the cuts this year? It seems as though last year you were pretty consistent all season long and didn't seem to have those fluctuations. Is that a learning process for you?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, for sure. It is a little bit different. It can be scary, I guess. But I'm just kind of learning from it. I think, exactly, I kind of panicked a little bit when I saw that I was a few shots away from the cut line, and I kind of lost it in the last few holes.

I think maybe I was trying to push myself a little bit too hard and not just focusing on what I could do. Kind of looking at the other players and looking at the leaderboard maybe a little too much. But as I said, just trying to stay patient and focus on what I could do, shoot minus 4 every day, and see what happens from there.

Q. You had a significant amount of success early, and at a young age. As your career progresses, does it get harder to maintain that or easier because you've become more familiar with life on the Tour?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, I guess this is my third full year on the LPGA Tour, but it feels like I've been here forever, which is probably a really good thing. I'm very comfortable with the golf courses that we play and the players that I see every single week. It's really exciting.

Knowing that I got off to such a fast start, winning for the first time when I was 17, winning my first major when I was 18. That gives me a lot of confidence going into this week and this whole season knowing that I have had a lot of great success in the past, and it only motivates me and inspires me to try to be a little bit better every single year.

It's extremely tough to win out here. As you could see last year, it took till June or July for there to be a repeat winner, which is crazy. There is just so much talent. I finished T-22 last week, and I kind of thought to myself it's a lot of hard work, and it's a lot of pushing every single day just to finish T-22. So to move up those 21 spots, you have to have something special click in that round or in that tournament. I'm just kind of waiting for that spark to happen.

Q. I was talking to Lydia last week about trying to get a little extra yardage, and she was saying how you have a gear that your ball just waves goodbye to hers on the way down. Where do you get your length? Where does it come from?
BROOKE HENDERSON: I think growing up playing hockey when I was younger really gave me a lot of strength. I was a goalie, and I would skate with the rest of my teammates and I had a lot heavier equipment on. I think also trying to chase my older sister. She's six years older than I am, and growing up I was always trying to beat her. I was always trying to hit it just as far as she was.

My swing is not orthodox, for sure. But I think it gives me that little bit of power. And when I need to hit a little further, usually I can.

Q. Were you more interested as a kid hitting it as far as you can and as hard, and not where it went, initially?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, I think I've always been sort of accurate, which is good. But I think, yeah, I was trying to hit it as far as I could but still reasonably within the fairway markers. But I think just trying to get it out there as far as I could, because I could see Britt 50 yards ahead of me, and I didn't like that.

Q. Just following up on the length, when you look at this golf course, and obviously majors are set-up differently, I know that it's really in terms of the layout, people talk about it, and you mentioned it being a big hitter's ballpark. With your length, I don't have the driving numbers distance, but does it sort of take a little less pressure off of the accuracy? I know how important it is. You want to have a wedge from the fairway versus the rough. But is it more of an advantage because of that knowing that it's a big hitter's ballpark that maybe you don't have to focus or have so much pressure on hitting fairways? Does that make sense?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, I think definitely if you have a wedge out of the rough versus a 7-iron on the fairway, you're most often going to hit the wedge a little bit closer. So that is a really good way of looking at it.

I do think though if you can hit a wedge out of the fairway, then you're going to hit it that much closer and be that much more comfortable just because you don't know. It's kind of flip of the coin whether you're going to get a terrible lie or a pretty decent one out of the thick rough.

So I think the importance of getting it out there as far as you can, but really my focus will be trying to hit the fairway as well.

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