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September 17, 2004

J.J. Henry


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: J.J., thanks for joining us. A good two rounds for you, 64 and 67. Can we just quickly talk about your first couple days out here at the Valero Texas Open?

J.J. HENRY: I enjoy coming here. This golf course suits my eye. I finished 2nd here three years ago when Justin won. I live in Fort Worth and I enjoy kind of just a quick drive down 35 there. I live about four and a half hours from here. I always enjoy coming.

For whatever reason, I seem to play my best golf this time of year. You know, I've been playing pretty well for a while. I've made 11 cuts in a row, just a matter of putting four together. I'm in a good spot. Hopefully I can just continue to give myself opportunities. I'm starting to putt pretty well, so we'll see what happens.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: What's going to be the difference? To get into the Top 10 or get that win, what's going to be the difference on the weekend? You mentioned you've made 11 straight cuts so you're playing consistently.

J.J. HENRY: Yeah, again, it's funny -- it's always kind of breaks seem to even out, but for some reason I got a good break today on the 15th hole. I kind of snapped a drive left and hit it up to the right of the green and made a really good 4, where you keep -- not talking about negative, but it seems like I said after walking off the 15th hole, I said, "That's the kind of break that every once in a while you need to win a tournament." For whatever reason it kind of hasn't happened to me in say the last eight, nine, ten weeks. I've always felt like I've hit the ball pretty well. When I putt well I seem to climb the leaderboard. I've always been a good ball striker.

Out here you're going to have a lot of opportunities for birdie, a lot of wedges in your hand. If you can make a couple putts, you can shoot a good score out here.

Q. This tournament is kind of being played in the shadow of the Ryder Cup in a way, a lot of tension that way, but there's a lot of dreams happening here.

J.J. HENRY: Exactly. It was funny, I was kind of fired up last night. I went to dinner and got back and watched the opening ceremony on TV on The Golf Channel there, and in essence this is kind of like our Ryder Cup this week. I'm a pretty competitive guy and I've been out here now four or five years so I kind of know what to expect. I look at it as a great opportunity.

Maybe the top 12 guys or 15 or 20 guys might not be here, but there's still 143 guys that are great players. Regardless of the conditions of the tournament, somebody always shoots good scores. You've still got to shoot a good score. I'm looking forward to the weekend, I really am. I feel like I'm playing pretty good.

Q. It seems like at 125 and below there's 15 guys within a shot of that 125 mark that are here, and there's a lot of dreams that are trying to unfold here.

J.J. HENRY: Yeah, that's the beauty of what we do. It's kind of like you never know when it's going to be your week, and I feel like hopefully -- again, I've been out here long enough that I know what to expect and I know how to handle myself under some of these situations. I think it's just a matter of time before I hopefully win some tournaments. Obviously this would be a great steppingstone in that direction.

Q. Were you watching the ceremonies thinking, "That's going to be me in a while"?

J.J. HENRY: Yeah, and on another note, too, I had a son, my first child, about seven weeks ago, so we brought him down. This is his first tournament, so he's bringing me good luck so far. I'm looking forward to just going back and hanging out. It puts things in perspective. He was born July 27th, and I think I'm a little bit more at ease, so to speak, on the golf course now.

Sometimes there's more important things than golf, and when I hit bad shots, it's maybe -- I'm trying to get to the point where I can just kind of move on, so to speak, and I did that a couple times. I hit a couple suspect shots and I got up there and hit a good chip and got up-and-down as opposed to a bad attitude, I didn't hit the right club, why did I miss it left, why did I miss it right. Those are the kind of things that keep your round going when you're not playing well, especially when it's for par or birdie.

Q. Why do you think that is?

J.J. HENRY: Well, it's a game of momentum. It's just I don't know how many times where you maybe of kind of get it going and you just miss a green and maybe you don't get it up-and-down, it kind of kills that momentum sometimes. On a tournament like this where you've got to shoot a low score to win the tournament where you've got to make as many birdies as you can, it can be kind of a -- I think I've only made one bogey in 36 holes, and that was a three-putt on my 3rd hole. I feel like I'm playing pretty well. I might have missed -- I guess I did miss a couple greens, but I'm not making many mistakes, it's just a question of making birdies. That's what you're going to need to do this weekend to win the tournament.

Q. Why is it with the birth of your child, why does that put things into perspective for you?

J.J. HENRY: I wish I could tell you. Again, it's all kind of a new experience.

Q. Is it just a matter of going home and having your child there?

J.J. HENRY: Yeah, it puts your life in perspective a little bit. I enjoy -- I'm extremely lucky to be playing golf for a living, there's no doubt, and I love what I do. I wouldn't trade it for the world. At the same time, it's nice to kind of -- if you do have a bad day, you can go back. My wife just kind of came out to 18. I missed about a six-footer on 18 for birdie that would have gotten me to 10 over, and I looked over at him and thought, "It's not all that bad."

Q. What's it like traveling with him?

J.J. HENRY: It's great. He didn't sleep too well last night to be honest with you. He still needs to eat every couple, two, three hours and things, but I'd much rather have him out here crying and keeping me up at night than missing him at home, that's for sure. It's fun. A lot of her family and stuff that are town, so hopefully we'll have fun this weekend. Might even go check out the Sting concert tonight.

Q. Seems like quite a few players are going to be out there.

J.J. HENRY: Yeah. Once you're done playing golf it's nice to get away and do some things. We're looking forward to it.

Q. Are the greens pretty comfortable with the Bermuda then?

J.J. HENRY: Yeah, the greens are real grainy. I've learned -- again, I've played here now -- I've played here I guess five times. This is my sixth time. I played here right after school. I got an exemption. It's definitely a golf course where the greens, you more you play, the more comfortable you feel because the greens are pretty grainy and it's sometimes tough to make putts, but at the same time, they're not real, real fast where the ball is really going to get away from you, so I feel you can be real aggressive on the putting green, and I think that's why you'll see pretty low scores this week in general.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: If we could touch on your round and we'll take one last question. Started out with a birdie on No. 1.

J.J. HENRY: Yeah, I didn't hit a real good drive. I hit a wedge in there, actually a gap wedge, 52-degree wedge in there to about four feet and got me started off in the right direction.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: You three-putted No. 3.

J.J. HENRY: Three-putted 3. I didn't hit a good shot. It was still kind of early and it was tough to see. It was real shadowy on that back right and I couldn't really see the contour of the green and I lipped out about a six footer for birdie.

No. 6, I hit a great shot, 9-iron in there to probably five feet.

Birdie on No. 9, driver, wedge again to about three feet.

Birdie on the par 5, 14, I hit a 5-iron just over the green and hit a good chip to a foot, two feet, close enough to where I could kind of kick it in.

Q. And then you had a good par save on 15?

J.J. HENRY: I got up-and-down from kind of back short right of the green and then hit some good shots coming in and missed it from about 12 feet on 16 and about six feet on 18. I didn't make a whole lot of long putts. I hit a lot of fairways, a lot of greens.

End of FastScripts.

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