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August 26, 2005

J.J. Henry


TODD BUDNICK: We thank J.J. Henry for stopping in after back to back rounds of 67, 6 under, two back of the clubhouse leader for two rounds.

Talk a little about the round today. You as well started off with a bogey on 10. Chris Smith said that at 8:00 in the morning, it's not necessarily a bad score on that hole.

J.J. HENRY: Yeah, no doubt. Again, you know, sometimes some of your best rounds are started with a bogey. But I wasn't real disappointed. I didn't hit a good drive; I pull hooked my drive left and had to punch out. I missed probably a 10 or 12 footer for par there, and of course went on to birdie the next hole. I hit a great 9 iron to six feet on 11 to get myself back to even, which really kind of calmed me down a little bit.

After a good start yesterday, I was kind of anxious to get out this morning and try to get off to another good start and hopefully just kind of ride out the momentum throughout the day. Birdieing that second hole, making a nice putt, really settled me down and I was able from there I think to go on.

And I guess 15 was the next. 15, I hit a great drive. Again the hole this year, of course after making a 2 yesterday, I hit another great drive today. It's playing a lot more difficult this year than it has in years past; one being that it's so fast and firm. Normally there's kind of a lot of deep rough just to the left of the green where maybe you hook it a little bit and it rolls and goes into the rough there and you have a chip on to the green. Now with it being virtually dried out, there's no rough; so now a pretty good drive down the left hand side of the fairway is kicking into the water.

So I think you'll see bigger numbers on that hole than in years past. I made a 2 yesterday and of course my playing partners, they made a 7. So there's a lot of realm of possibilities, really one of the best holes on TOUR I think. It's really a lot of fun.

TODD BUDNICK: You're from Connecticut. You've talked before about how important it is for you to try and play well here; the fact that you're off to a good start, talk a little about that.

J.J. HENRY: Yeah, I always consider it like my fifth major, technically carrying the Connecticut flag out here, so to speak out here. There's not many guys from Connecticut out here.

It's a golf tournament that since I could remember, since I was probably eight, nine, ten years old, I would come out here and sit and watch the guys on the range. And so to be out here doing it, it will be my fifth year out here, it's definitely neat to look back and see kind of where I've came or where I've come from the last ten to 15 years playing competitive golf.

TODD BUDNICK: Last week, T 4 pushed you ever over the limit.

J.J. HENRY: Yeah, and that's kind of a big sigh of relief. As you know, kind of a dogfight out here playing, obviously making sure that, one, you want to finish in the Top 125. And to be able to play well last week and get over that hump hopefully frees it up for me a little bit. I'm a lot calmer. I just go out and play golf. And if I play great, great, and if not, there's always next week. But it's nice to know that I really don't have anything to lose.

Obviously I put a lot of pressure on myself this week to play well, but I'm hoping to I feel like my game is coming around. I've always played my best golf being five years out here this time of year. So this is for some reason or another, whether I like the golf courses or the weather or whatever, but I've always played my best and hopefully I'll give myself a couple of opportunities to get over the hump.

Q. Are you encouraged by the way you're rolling the ball on the greens?

J.J. HENRY: I am, yeah. I went back to my belly putter last week. I've tinkered with it for years and I'm really rolling the ball well. Really most of the my best finishes this year have been with into putter. I finished seventh or eighth in Dallas, the Byron Nelson, and a pretty good event in Memphis. And for one reason or another, didn't feel comfortable and switched for last two months and I went back to it last week and played good. So hopefully I can continue doing it this week and throughout rest of the year.

Q. Is there added pressure, not only being from the state here, with the crowds, they are probably feeling more pressure than you are?

J.J. HENRY: Yeah, you know, and again, it's not that you want to do well for them, but sometimes, I mean, I put enough pressure on myself. But when you're playing well and everybody is kind of out there and enjoying, whether I hit it out of bounds or I hit it two feet, they are out here to support me and have fun.

Unfortunately the crowds are a little bit smaller this year than they have been. Hopefully with the good weather this weekend, again, this is renowned as being some of the best, biggest crowds on TOUR. I know it's a little bit later in the year than years past, but this is always an exciting event, especially with that finish, 15, 16, 17, 18. So hopefully there will be a lot of people out here this weekend.

Q. Because of that, is it surprising when you're walking down the 18th fairway; normally you see that huge bowl of people, not to see it?

J.J. HENRY: It is a little bit. But again, here in this area, I know maybe it's a little bit the time of year, I guess school starts next week or the week after, so maybe a lot of people are on vacation and doing other things.

Again, regardless of that, there's plenty of people that support from on down that really it's a great event, it really is. For southern New England, it's always fun, and to me it's always been like the fifth major. So sure, the crowd is not quite as big the first two days as they have been in the past, but that's not to say that hopefully there will be a lot of people out here this weekend.

Q. How much is there an adjusting period going back and forth between the putters?

J.J. HENRY: Not really, because I've done it both and I've had success doing it both ways. So, you know, to be honest with you, a lot of guys practice using a belly putter because it really locks in your arms even when you go back to a traditional 34 , 35 inch putter. You see a lot of guys practices with it. When you get comfortable with it, there's no question there's a little bit of a learning process on longer lag putts. But a flat putt from me to you or me to Chris, there's no question that it's a pretty easy way to putt.

Q. Practicing on the greens, do you think what it looks like inaudible?

J.J. HENRY: Not at all. I'll put with a broom if I don't care what it looks like. Chris Smith is a really good buddy of mine and he's about as easygoing as they come. Like I said, you watch guys, there's always kind of guys, whatever feels comfortable and whatever gets the ball in the hole is what 95 percent of the guys gore going to go. I don't think they think about whatever people think. As long as they are making putts and making money, they don't care.

Q. I don't know if you answered this already, but are you using a hybrid or a rescue?

J.J. HENRY: It looks like it it's actually a 3 wood. My 3 wood is a hybrid Sonartech 3 wood. So it looks more like a driving iron. I have a 19 degree which is like a 5 wood or a 2 iron and I have a 14 degree which is a 3 wood. So it might look to the eye like well, he's hitting 2 iron, but in reality it's a 14 degree almost like a second driver.

Q. Some holes you might normally use driver; have you been going more to that club?

J.J. HENRY: The golf course is playing so fast and firm, I just feel like I'm a long hitter anyway, and that club to be honest with you goes farther than most guys drivers.

So I'm not really worried about how far it's going. I mean, I am hitting my driver pretty good, but again I just want to make sure I put myself in a position now that, you know, again with as fast and firm even holes like 4, which is really into the wind, 3 iron, 7 or 3 wood 7 iron to about six feet; 3 which could be a long hole is a 3 wood and a wedge.

Yeah, could I hit another 10 or 15 yards? Possibly. But I don't want to salvage the opportunity to not get it in the fairway, per se. This golf course really doesn't favor a longer hitter, not at all. Even some of the longer holes, even like the 10th hole, I can't really hit driver. You hit a good drive straight and it can go in that bunker, you really almost got to shape it and hit it perfect where 3 wood is really the play.

Q. Three years ago there was a very similar situation, you went into the weekend in the hunt, what do you recall from that and what will be your routine?

J.J. HENRY: That's a good question, I actually just thought about that a little while ago. I was trying to remember, I think it was two years ago.

I'm just going to go out and try to do the thing I'm doing. I'm in a little better position than I was two years ago. I feel like I'm coming in playing better, the fact that I played well last week. And I feel like I'm a little bit more experienced. Again, there's definitely a learning process out here. You know, whether I play great tomorrow or I play bad in the long run, it's going to make me a better player; the fact that because I really do want this tournament probably more so than any other regular TOUR event so to speak. And, yeah, is that added pressure, does that make me a little bit more nervous? I mean, absolutely. But at the same time, it's going to make me a better player in the long run.

Q. With all of that said, now that you've been here five years, does it get easier every year?

J.J. HENRY: It does. But, you know, there's a little bit inside of me being as competitive as I am and knowing the fact that I feel like I have the ability to get over the hump and win a golf tournament. But every year that goes on, not that I self doubt what I'm doing, but I'm making a nice living and I feel like I'm doing pretty well. I've been out here five years and kept my card every year, and I've had a bunch of Top 5 finishes.

But I haven't quite got over that hump, and, you know, sometimes there's a little bit of a, what am I doing wrong, or what do I need it do to get over that; and a lot of that just comes with just going out and playing golf and not worrying about, you know, I'm playing in Connecticut or I'm playing in the U.S. Open or whatever it is and go out and hit the shot. I mean, 150 yard shot is a 150 yard shot whether you're playing with your buddies or you're playing, to you it might be a big event or a big opportunity.

Q. Hard not to dwell on trying to get that first win?

J.J. HENRY: Yeah, it is. Again I've been lucky to make a great living out here, but that aside, I mean, sometimes, I shouldn't say forget how to win, but it's been over six years now since I've won a golf tournament. Granted I'm knocking my head against the best players in the world, and I'm a much better player than I was, say, six years ago.

But sure, there are times when, you know, everything is great, but at the same time, you know, I want to win and hopefully if and when, if I do do that, hopefully it will open up the doors for even a calmer self and just go out and did it, so we will see.

Q. Has your schedule been the same or has it been different this year?

J.J. HENRY: I've always played a lot. Sometimes it's the fact that I feel like I have to play one to make sure I'm in a certain position, and other times I enjoy playing golf. I'm still young and actually just had my first son who is just a year old, so I just enjoy playing golf.

I was joking around, I would rather play for 5 million than take five bucks off my buddies; I'm going to be playing golf anyway.

The travel wears on you. As I get more hopefully, more, I guess I should say, maybe do more things or win a golf tournament, yes, I would like to cut my schedule back a little bit; probably. But up until then, I can pretty much guarantee I'm going to be playing probably 30 events a year.

Q. A lot changed (with your first child)?

J.J. HENRY: Without a doubt, it puts things in perspective. Best thing that ever happened to me absolutely.

There's times when basically golf doesn't mean all it used to mean. To be honest with you, I think in the long run it's probably going to make me a better player just for the fact that it's not golf, golf, golf. There's a lot more to life than just going out and playing golf. I've got a great family, a wonderful, beautiful wife and now a son who has just learned to walk and saying "Da da." So it's pretty neat.

TODD BUDNICK: Let's go through your birdies. We already did 11. 15?

J.J. HENRY: I hit a great 3 wood just landed short, rolled on the green. Thought it was going to stay, just rolled off to the right. Had a real difficult chip. Again with how crazy that green it is, hit a chip to about 15 fight feet and made that for birdie.

Par 4, again, one of the best holes on the golf course. I hit a great 3 wood, I cut a 3 wood right in the middle of the fairway and hit a 7 iron to about, great shot about six feet and made that.

7, I hit a great driver right down the middle of the fairway with a wedge to about probably four or five feet behind the hole and made that. A lot of good opportunities the last few days. I played real solid. I think I've only made one or two bogeys all week, so I'm playing pretty good right now.

Q. Hitting 15 greens, did you leave any birdie putts out there?

J.J. HENRY: No question. Of course you always leave putts. But yeah, there's no question, easily each round could have been 5 , or 6 under. Everybody could probably say that, but I could easily be it's been kind of a stressed free few days. I'm not chopping out of trees and holing bunker shots and doing crazy stuff.

I hit one bad drive yesterday on 13 and hit it in the water on the par 5, which if you hit a good drive, it's an iron probably for me. And then I bogeyed the 10th hole today, which is the opening hole. It was a tough hole, so I've had two bogeys in two days. So it's been a pretty stress free so far.

End of FastScripts.

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