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May 28, 2001

J.J. Henry


JOAN vT ALEXANDER: We would like to thank J. J. Henry for joining us. A long, interesting week, but you played very well. Why don't you just share your emotions with us and then we will go into some questions.

J. J. HENRY: Well I think that obviously this is a very special week. Probably one of the greatest weeks of my life, really. To really finally arrive on the PGA Tour and then to finally break through with a great tournament is something really I've worked a long, long time for. And to come out here and really have my first opportunity to win a tour event, to really, you know, what I thought hold up pretty well. Unfortunately, I made a couple mistakes here and there. I was a little nervous. Something I can just build on for the future. Obviously, I was trying to win the golf tournament, but at the same time in the back of my mind it was, worst case, trying to lock up my card for next year. And I think I did a lot toward doing that today. Now I can just really go out and have fun the rest of the year and to continue to improve and to hopefully good things will happen.


Q. When you are watching Frank step up to that putt, what goes through your mind as a golfer? Do you not want to see him miss because you wouldn't want to miss in that situation, but you wouldn't mind getting in the playoff, obviously.

J. J. HENRY: Well, unfortunately, I didn't actually see Frank's putt. I was on the driving range just kind of warming up. You can't control what other people do. And I tried to play my game. And you hate to see somebody really lose a tournament. And I take my hat off to Frank for the fact that he made, I don't know, a 12 footer to win the golf tournament. Especially off bogeying 16 and 17. He really held his composure well and made a great putt to win. Obviously from my standpoint to have a chance to win, sure, I was obviously a little upset. But at the same time I never wish bad upon anybody. I would like to let my game take care of itself and unfortunately I came up a shot short.

Q. Can you help non-pro golfers understand how hard it is to make a 12 foot putt after you bogeyed two in a row, just hit one over the green, just fluffed a chip shot?

J. J. HENRY: Without a doubt. I mean, golf is really it's so much between the ears. And Frank's in the same situation. He's trying to win his first tournament. He's been out here a little longer than I have and he might feel more comfortable than me in a situation like that. But like I said, I take my hat off to him, because the conditions were very soft. I'm sure he had to probably hit the putt a little harder than maybe you would normally. So the tendency too when you get nervous is to leave things a little bit short. And like I said, I take my hat off to him for a great tournament. And I congratulate him.

Q. You had mentioned that the greens were very soft. How different were they from yesterday? Have they dried up a little bit or considerably?

J. J. HENRY: Well all in all with as much moisture and rain we got this week I think the golf course was in great shape. For us to get in 72 holes was a great feat in itself. And this morning I think, yeah, I think the greens were a little soft and I think they were a little slower than they have been the last couple days. Whether that's just because it was early in the morning or not, who knows. But I think all in all, like I said, the golf course is in great shape and if anything I thought they may be a touch slower this morning. I think just with the moisture. Did it rain again last night?

Q. Can you take us through 16, and then also, when did you see that he had a three shot lead?

J. J. HENRY: Well really I'll start on 15. That was my first hole of the morning. I hit two great shots. It played extremely long. It's a long hole to begin with. And then with the wet conditions. I was hanging in there. I made a good putt. And then 16 I was really kind of just trying to hold on a little bit. And I flared a little right. Really way right. And was lucky to actually have a shot that I did. I hit a pretty good shot from where I was to get it to the front fringe. I knew I had a long, difficult putt. Probably 75 feet or so. And it was a little soft and had a double break. It went up left and then back to the right at the hole. And I probably missed about a 12 footer for par. But I hung in there, I thought. I gave myself a great opportunity on 17, a pretty demanding shot with trying to win your first golf tournament, with the pin cut pretty close to the water. But I figured I needed to make a birdie or two. And I hit a great shot in there really past the hole about 15 feet, I don't know. And unfortunately, actually, believe it or not, I left the putt a little bit short. I mean, right in the heart, but I left it short. I thought the greens would be a little faster than they were. And then on 18 I hit a beautiful drive. And I was kind of right in between clubs and I missed it, I hit it about 25 feet right up the hill. And had kind of a difficult putt. I had to hit it pretty hard. I missed it. But like I said, I'm just going to take nothing but positives from this week and it's something to build on.

Q. The putts at 16 and 17, were you able to go through the same ritual you normally go through? Did you find yourself catching yourself, getting quicker or were you happy with the way you hit them?

J. J. HENRY: Well, you go back to almost trying to maybe overread a putt or you really are almost trying to will the putt into the hole. And there was maybe a little bit of that. I didn't really hit a real good putt on 16. I kind of got a little quick and missed a little left. And 17 actually I hit a pretty good putt, I just left it just short, right in the heart of the hole. Like I said, it's something I can really just learn from and take a lot from this week. And when I give myself another chance to win a golf tournament, hopefully I'll learn a little bit from it. But as far as being my first time to really have a chance to win, I thought as a whole I held up pretty good. I shot 66 in the last round with stop and go, stop and go. So I'm really just going to try to feed off the positives and not really look at the negative putts that I missed.

Q. That tee shot at 17, you've got to be tickled to death with that.

J. J. HENRY: Sure. It's the type of shot -- I'm not going to lie, I didn't really sleep real well last night, just for the fact that being so close to your first victory. And I thought that we can't really control the weather, unfortunately. But I was really on a roll yesterday. I played great in the morning. I was, I want to say, six under par through my first 14 holes before they called play for the final time last night. And really felt kind of in control of myself. And being out, I don't know, an hour and a half to 45 minutes, an hour in front of the last group and in front of Frank, I thought that if I could really just finish the round and post a score, that that may, that might be good enough. But we can't control the weather. And I was talking to Peter Kostis, and what really started, I thought, as my advantage in the fact that I'm playing in front of the last group, I don't have really all the hooplah that goes with being in the last group to win your first tournament. And then in a way, maybe not looking negatively, but maybe it backfired a little bit. That maybe in the sense that now I had to come out and it was kind of a match play situation between me and Frank. And I guess Bradley still had a chance coming in. But I'll take it from there.

Q. The one at 16, that was right. I mean, it was really right. What was the problem?

J. J. HENRY: Well I just, unfortunately, I was actually trying to kind of cut it a little bit off that left bunker. Trying to hold on a little bit. And I just got way in front of myself and blocked it way right. I mean, I hit a bad shot. It was the only bogey I made yesterday and today, I think. And, unfortunately, it came at a situation with three holes to play. But everybody's human. You're going to hit bad shots. And being under the pressure I was under, maybe I got a little quick or whatever it might be. But, unfortunately, I just blocked it out to the right.

Q. You played 18 real solid.

J. J. HENRY: I did. I hit a beautiful shot. Really had a great angle to the pin. I had probably 177 yards to the hole. And I really was just trying to kind of start in the middle of the green and just draw it back to that pin. And I hit a great shot, but it came up, I don't know, 25 feet short. And it was kind of a difficult uphill putt.

Q. You've talked about some of the psychological positives you're going to take away from this week, but you're also going to make, I don't know what it is, 350, a lot of money.

J. J. HENRY: Sure.

Q. Obviously, it's more money than you've ever seen and won. Secondly, it's enough money that you know you have got a little cushion going in the rest of the year, you don't have to play quite so well to stay out here.

J. J. HENRY: Well, without a doubt. Like I said before, I think that I was out here to try to win my first tournament. There's no question. But in the back of my mind I was really thinking also finishing second like I did by myself will go a long way to securing my card for next year. And in essence I've always felt like I played my best golf in the summertime anyway. And now being in a situation where, knock on wood, that I have hopefully either secured or pretty close to securing my card for next year, I can just go out and have fun and just play golf like I know how to play. As opposed to really living and dying with every shot like I did the first 12 events of the year. I knew sooner or later, I mean regardless, I didn't get off to the start I really would have liked this year. The first 12 events there were times where I thought I played pretty good, but as a whole it was kind of upsetting. But I really just tried to take some positive things away each week. Whether it be learning from a veteran player or getting a chance to play with some of the guys or, you know, each week, each round. And I knew eventually if I stayed patient and worked hard my time would come. And it's nice to really finally play real well and hopefully feed off this confidence.

Q. Got in a little late. You were on the range the whole time? You never watched any of it?

J. J. HENRY: I was just kind of relaxing inside the clubhouse, had a bite to eat and really didn't think much of it. Frank was playing great golf at that point. I want to say he was maybe 18-under the last time I saw him when I was finishing. For one reason or another, unfortunately, I guess he bogeyed 15 and then 3-putted 17. And after he missed his putt on 17 I decided to go out and kind of warm up again, hit some balls. And like I said, I take my hat off to him. He made a great putt on 18 to win.

Q. What did you eat in the grill? Because we once had a guy that was in a playoff here many years ago who had been to the bar a little too long. And do you wish you had eaten if you had it to do over again or would you not?

J. J. HENRY: I really had some water and kind of like a banana and just picking on some fruit and little muffins and stuff. I wasn't going to go in there and bite into a big burger or anything like that. Burger and fries. I might after I'm done here, but not before the tournament was over.

Q. Do you have any special plans to reward yourself with the check?

J. J. HENRY: Not really. I'm getting married in December and I'm sure that will go a long way to maybe putting a down payment on a nice house or something. But I really hadn't thought much about that. I knew if I played good golf that that kind of stuff would take care of itself. And it's obviously nice to know that your hard work is rewarding both on the golf course and in your pocketbook, I guess. But I really don't try to think about that. I play golf because I love to compete. I'm a competitor. And like I said, if I play great golf, hopefully I can make a good living financially doing it. But the money is kind of secondary. I was out here to try to win a golf tournament. Unfortunately, it didn't really work out.

End of FastScripts....

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