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August 9, 2002

J.J. Henry


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Second consecutive 67 today, 10-under for the tournament. If you could talk about your round today, how things are going this week overall.

J.J. HENRY: Well, it was a great day. It was a beautiful day to play golf. I knew obviously the scores were going to be pretty low. I had to try and get off to a good start. That's exactly what I did. I birdied, I believe, four of my first five holes. I birdied 1, let's see, 3, 4, and 5, so I did birdie 4 of my first 5, kind of leveled off, hit some good shots; had some good opportunities. For one reason or another, things just didn't fall. Finished pretty good. Hit a lot of good shots coming in. Obviously I am very happy with the way I am playing. I am playing with a lot of confidence. It's kind of been a long time coming for me. I feel like the year so far has been a little bit of a struggle. I have made a lot of cuts, but haven't really put four good rounds together. I am really playing with a lot of confidence. Hopefully I am looking forward to the next couple of days.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Anything in particular you have changed as far as your swing or added to it or is it just a case where golf is one of those games where there are peaks and valleys.

J.J. HENRY: Yeah, maybe starting the beginning of the year -- I had a couple of chances last year to win. I finished second twice, maybe put a little too much pressure on myself starting out. I knew to stay patient. I knew my time would come, actually my putting really turned around the last couple of weeks. I went to a belly putter. I really want to say dramatically changed my game, really my confidence, and as most of you know, putting is a lot of confidence. For one reason or another, that's really turned around my game.


Q. How many putts today?

J.J. HENRY: I'd have to go through it. But it's not necessarily the number of putts. It is just I was hitting a lot of good putts. The speed was good, line was good, I did make seven birdies. So all and all it was a pretty good putting day.

Q. Is this really a good time for you to start getting confidence and playing your best when Tiger is deciding to shoot 9 unders?

J.J. HENRY: Well, obviously he's the best player in the world, and as far as the next couple of days I can't really control what he does. I am just going to try go out and play consistent good golf and give myself some chances and see what happens. Obviously he's playing really well, and you know, regardless of what happens, I am getting the chance to play in the PGA next week too. That's actually my first major next week. I feel like I am playing well. Regardless of what happens this weekend I can try to take something from this, really looking forward to next week.

Q. Is it tough right now when 20-under is the number. You are still got quite a chase going with this guy four shots up?

J.J. HENRY: Without question. But again, I mean, if you said the number is 20 he's still -- obviously he's playing well, but he's still got to shoot, you know, he's what -- he's going to have to play pretty good golf; he's going to have to hit some good shots to get to that magic number. This is the kind of golf course where if you get hot you can make a lot of birdies. I don't really think any lead is really safe, strictly for the fact that there's a lot of birdie opportunities out there. And you are going to have to shoot -- to keep pace, you are going to have to shoot four, five, six under this weekend.

I'd like to say really that I have a pretty heavy heart this weekend. Unfortunately my mother-in-law is very ill with cancer and actually I didn't even know if I was going to come this week; that's how ill she is. We talked it over Monday and she wanted me to come play and I talked to my wife, so I am really playing with a heavy heart this week, and I know they were all watching today, so it was pretty special to play really well the first two days regardless of what happens, because you know, unfortunately she has cancer and they are not giving her much hope.

Q. Are you dedicating your play in this tournament to her?

J.J. HENRY: I am. Again, it was kind of a struggle for me again just to come out here. Golf is very important to me but my family comes first, but she wanted me to come play, and my wife wanted me to come. So I know they are watching today. It was pretty special.

Q. Buick Open is not known to give up a lot of low scores in the afternoon rounds. What did you find out there that couple of other guys found before you but normally this time of day you don't see numbers like you put up this afternoon.

J.J. HENRY: Well, I mean, again it was a beautiful day to play. I was joking with my caddie that it was almost kind of like playing indoors. There wasn't a cloud in the sky. It was just a great day to play. I just had a good attitude. I hit a lot of good shots. I took advantage of the par 5s a little bit, and you know, I made a couple of putts. Sure, I could have made a couple more, maybe a spike mark or a bump here, but that's just kind of the rub of the green and you have got to kind of make the best of it. Again, I got off to such a good start, birdied 4 of the first 5, kind of just coasted along and held on to shoot 5-under. So I just -- you got to kind of roll with it. Everybody has got to play one day in the afternoon, and I did play a little bit later than usual, maybe, but that's just the way it goes sometimes.

Q. Following up, you will not be paired with Tiger Woods tomorrow. Perhaps on Sunday. Any thoughts about that because the media and the fans following him has to be a distraction for him or his partner?

J.J. HENRY: There's two ways to look at it. I did look at the board after 16 and knew if I did make another birdie that I'd probably get a chance to play in the last group and it would be pretty special, especially here at the Buick, you know we are both part of the Buick golf and the Buick golf family, it would have been neat. Again, at the same time there are a lot of people and it can get pretty chaotic. But you know, we all play to play in the last group and play with the best player in the world. I did get a chance to play with college with Tiger but I haven't played with him since he and I turned pro. It would have been good. This Sunday would be even better. We'll see what happens.

End of FastScripts....

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