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October 31, 2003

J.J. Henry


TODD BUDNICK: Thanks, J.J., for coming in, rounds of 69 and 67 have you one back of the lead after two rounds. Kind of an eventful first 9 there.

J.J. HENRY: I don't think I made too many pars looking at it. I did make two pars on the front 9.

Q. Yes, talk about that start?

J.J. HENRY: I knew starting out on the practice tee, I told my caddy, Tim, I knew it was going to be a difficult day to play. Yesterday morning was tough and I knew the wind was blowing a little bit. The greens were getting fast and firm. I tried to be patient and consistent, keep the ball in play. Fortunately I bogeyed the first hole. I got a bad break off the tee and I ended up making a bogey. I tried to hang in there. I have had a lot of my best rounds when I bogeyed the first hole.

From there I made some birdies and settled down a little bit. Tried to play consistent, keep the ball on the fairways and greens and I knew par was a good score today.

Q. Anything different about the course today?

J.J. HENRY: It's a very difficult golf course. It really is. The rough is thick and the greens are real fast. As the day went on it kind of dried it quite a bit. It's going to a good test this weekend, no doubt about it. Where I am on the money list, I have nothing to lose. I am in a position, I think, where even if I win I don't think I get in THE TOUR Championship and obviously if things don't go as planned, so be it. I'm just going to go out and try to have fun this weekend and look forward for the challenge; it's going to be difficult out there.

Q. You say you had a lot of your best rounds when you bogeyed the first hole?

J.J. HENRY: Maybe it's a mindset. Maybe it wakes you up and says, "let's go do it." For some reason or not, some of my best rounds on TOUR or over the years I bogeyed the first hole and really kind of road the ship, so to speak, and ended up having a nice day. Maybe I use that to fire myself up, but it obviously worked today.

Q. It doesn't look like there will be too many scores from the afternoon like yours, and yet it seemed there wasn't as much wind; was it the greens that made it so tough?

J.J. HENRY: Yes, the greens. It was so windy out there. It was enough to kind of at times make you indecisive. You had to really try to pick your spots and, again, I hit a lot of 3-woods today. Just trying to keep the ball in play so I could be more aggressive into the greens. If you get above some of these holes in spots where maybe you are downwind, downgrain, it's extremely difficult.

Q. One good round is a good accomplishment here, there is very few back-to-back scores in the 60's so far?

J.J. HENRY: Right.

Q. Is that being consistent?

J.J. HENRY: I think so.

Q. For lack of a better word, "grinding" through this?

J.J. HENRY: Yes, again, I have always felt that -- I feel like I'm a pretty good ball-striker. I always felt that golf courses where par so to speak or if you shoot a couple under you will move up the leaderboard. Obviously maybe that's something I need to work on.

Over the last three years on TOUR I never really played well where you have to shoot 20 or 30-under par to win a tournament. I always played well where I could kind of pick my spots out on difficult golf courses. Again, I'm going to try to go out and continue to have fun this weekend, I know it's going to be difficult out there. Just enjoy it. It's my last tournament of the year, just go out and have a good time.

Q. Where are you on the money list roughly?

J.J. HENRY: I think I'm right at 100. So again I'm in a spot where I could just go out. I have nothing to lose. Obviously, we talk a lot about the Top-125 or Top-30. The way I look at it I had a great opportunity to go out and try to win my first event and what better way to end off the year with a W. And start the season off right, I guess.

Again, obviously, there is a lot of golf left. Like you said, I have a shot, I think 69, 67, so it's going to be difficult to shoot two more days in the 60's, no doubt about that.

I'm putting great, actually I switched putters this week. It was pretty late Wednesday afternoon and I just happened -- I'm staying right here at Innisbrook -- I was almost about to go back to my room and relax and this one putter caught my eye, one of those Odyssey 2-Balls but it looks kind of like an old Ping or a Newport where the ball is in the middle. Maybe it's just a different look, or a different feel. I seem to putt these fast, grainy greens real well the first two days.

Q. You played here in the Tampa Bay Classic, correct?

J.J. HENRY: Actually I have not. I was here two years ago and with 9/11, we didn't get a chance to play. Last year scheduling, it didn't work out. So this is actually my first event here.

Q. I was curious; did you get a look at the golf course two years ago?

J.J. HENRY: I played a practice round. Actually played about 27 holes that year before, obviously the horrible circumstances that happened. But I knew it was a tough golf course then. I think I remember watching on TV last year and seeing how difficult and how high the scores were. I think KJ Choi kind of ran away with it at the end last year. You knew if you shoot par or a couple under you are going to be in pretty good shape out here.

Q. What putter did you switch from?

J.J. HENRY: I was using this old Ping J Blade that I was using since about mid-June of this year.

Again it was the last tournament of the year. I missed the last two cuts and I figured I would go out and mix things up a little bit. More importantly try to have fun.

For some reason the last couple of weeks, I don't know why maybe I put too much pressure on myself. It's not like I was sweating a spot out. I just felt like maybe I was trying too hard. I took the approach this week where I really have nothing to lose. I'm just going to go out and try to hit golf shots and that's exactly what I did the last two days.

Q. The amount of money you are playing for out here, is it sometimes easy to forget to have fun?

J.J. HENRY: Yes. I mean, I just love to play golf. Obviously, when you play well out here, all that kind of stuff takes care of itself. And, sure, there is times where it enters your mind. I'm just trying to kind of establish myself out here. The money crosses your mind but most importantly I love to compete.

I think that's why I am here today; because I'm very competitive. I love the challenge. There is no doubt that this weekend on this golf course you are going to really have to play well to give yourself a chance to win and be patient. You are going to make mistakes. You can hit great shots a foot in the rough. At times it's like playing a U.S. Open. You got to just punch out back to the fairway; it's that severe sometimes.

Q. Almost everybody comes in and talks about being patient; how come everybody can talk about it but yet it becomes so difficult?

J.J. HENRY: That's just the nature of the game. Mentally it's hard to compose yourself for four and a half, five hours out there especially when you feel you are hitting good shots and you catch a gust of wind or you get a bad lie. That's a challenge that I'm trying to get better at.

I have been out here three years now. I feel like I'm still getting better and better. At the same time I need to kind of take things in stride and just go out and have a good time. I feel like if I go out and play fun I have played my best golf. I wish I could do it every time. That's something I'm trying to work on. Once I do that, I really feel like my best days are ahead of me out here.

Q. You got started with that bad break on one?

J.J. HENRY: I hit a driver off the tee. I was right on the edge of the bunker of the rough. I had a horrible lie. Whacked it out over the next bunker. It hit the top lip of the bunker and didn't get up-and-down from the green-side bunker and made a 6.

Q. Birdie on 3?

J.J. HENRY: Birdie on 3. I hit a 7-iron to about 15 feet and made it.

Q. 4?

J.J. HENRY: 4, actually made a great putt. I hit a 7-iron; not a real good shot. It was probably 40 feet. It was kind of a swerving putt. It was by far the best putt of the week. It was a good way to kind of kick it off.

Q. 5?

J.J. HENRY: Played a long par-5. I hit a 3-wood off the tee just to give myself a chance, a 3-iron layup and hit it about 80 yards. I hit a sand wedge in there about eight feet and made that.

Q. Bogey on 6.

J.J. HENRY: 6 is an extremely difficult hole today. You had pretty good wind. I don't know if you guys know that hole. The fairway slopes like this and the wind is blowing probably 10 or 15 miles an hour right-to-left. Tough pin. To make a long story short, I missed it just left of the green and hit a good pitch to about four feet, five feet and missed it.

Q. Birdie on 7.

J.J. HENRY: 7, I hit a great 3-wood and a 9-iron up there about five feet. Six feet, maybe. Six feet or so.

Q. You bogeyed the next one, par-3?

J.J. HENRY: I hit a 5-iron off the tee in the left bunker and just didn't get up-and-down. It was a pretty difficult hole today with that front pin.

Q. 10, birdie?

J.J. HENRY: 10, I hit a 3-wood off the tee just to put it in the fairway and an 8-iron, I'd say, to about ten feet right past the hole and an extremely quick putt. It was either a three or a five. Luckily the ball went right in the middle of the hole.

Q. 13 and 14?

J.J. HENRY: 13 and 14, I made a great putt on the par-3 13. I hit a 7-iron to about maybe 30 feet or so. A nice putt there.

On 14, I hit a good drive. I ripped a 3-wood just short left of the green and hit a nice pitch to about five feet, made that for birdie.

Q. Do you hope you bogey the first hole tomorrow?

J.J. HENRY: I'm going to try to get off to a better start. Again, if I do, maybe I can kind of look back on today and say it's still possible to go out and shoot a good round.

Q. Are you looking for the greens to be faster this weekend?

J.J. HENRY: I was joking before. I said today is Halloween. It was pretty scary how fast those greens are today.

Q. They are talking about not watering them for the weekend?

J.J. HENRY: The way I look at it, it's the same for everybody. I just got to go out and try to make the best of it. I got nothing to lose. I'm going to try to go out and have fun and hopefully I will continue to do well.

End of FastScripts.

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