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May 24, 2001

J.J. Henry


Q. Where did you finish in Richmond?

J.J. HENRY: I was tied for the lead starting the final round and finished 4th, shot 16 under par.

Q. What do you mean by "reality check"?

J.J. HENRY: Really just meaning the year really hasn't gone quite as well as I would have liked, and for me instead of -- Colonial was kind of close to my heart in the sense that I went to TCU, and things didn't work out and I didn't get a spot this year. So for me, instead of just sitting around and watching golf on TV, I felt it was best for me to just go work on some things, just to go have some fun, like I did last week, and I played great golf. I went out there and played golf. I didn't worry about shots, just took one shot at a time. And really that's what's been kind of holding me back this year. I kind of live and die by every shot as opposed to go out and have fun and play golf. I think slowly but surely I'm really starting to learn that. Obviously, like I said, it hasn't gone quite as well as I would have liked, but I'm learning a lot each week. It's a new adjustment to play these new golf courses, and I knew it was a matter of time before I got some good breaks, so to speak, and made a couple of putts, and hopefully I can build on this.

Q. Have you ever played in either of those Dallas tournaments, the Nelson or the --?

J.J. HENRY: No, I haven't. Prior to this year, this being my rookie year on Tour, I have played in I want to say maybe four to five Tour events. I played, being in Connecticut, I played in the GHO twice. I played in the Buick Classic, the B.C. Open, the Texas Open and San Antonio. So I had gotten my feet wet a couple of times, but not really on a full-time basis before this year.

Q. The TCU is located in --?

J.J. HENRY: Fort Worth.

Q. Did you think you were going to get a spot?

J.J. HENRY: There's no sense looking back on it now. Unfortunately I didn't. But in a sense things worked out. I went and I really -- like I said, the reality check, so to speak, and I went out and played great golf last week. I shot 16 under par. I freed it up, and I kind of carried it on to this week. Actually this week, too, I have my teacher here, Todd Anderson, so we kind of -- between last week and this week, kind of grooving things in. I worked hard on my short game. I was hitting the ball really well. And from a confidence standpoint I think this is the most consistent, most confident golf I've played in a long time.

Q. Is this the first time you've played this course and could you talk about the challenges of every week seeing a new course and having to learn it on the fly?

J.J. HENRY: Sure. This is a great golf course. I think there's a lot of risk reward. And obviously with the wet conditions we got earlier this week, I think they've done a great job just to get the course in the shape it is. We are playing lift clean and place in the fairways, so you do have ball in hand. You get a good lie if you hit the ball in the fairway. There are some instances where you can attack, and I was able to do that today. And take advantage of it. You can hit a great shot in there, but you still need to make the putt. I was able to capitalize -- I made 9 birdies today to go along with three bogeys. It was definitely a good day. Unfortunately, I kind of ended on a bad note. I 3-putted my last hole. But all in all it was a great day, and hopefully I can continue to do what I'm doing.

Q. (Inaudible.)

J.J. HENRY: Being the first time it's extremely difficult, there's no question about it. You are at a little bit of disadvantage, but I try not to dwell on the disadvantages. I look at the sense that obviously I'm very lucky to be where I am, being a rookie on Tour, and everybody has to kind of go through it sooner or later. This is my rookie year, and everybody has done it. There is a first time to play each course for everybody, so I've got to go out there and try to work hard in the early part of the week as opposed to some guys that maybe know the golf course, and hey, let's go play a couple of holes here or 9 holes here. My Mondays and Tuesdays are where I have to learn where to hit the ball and what to do and how to attack the golf course.

Q. What's the biggest positive surprise you've had as a rookie out here, and what's the biggest negative surprise, if there is one?

J.J. HENRY: Well, first negative, I think -- personally I thought that maybe I'd get off to a little better start than I did. And like I said, I'm trying to take something positive away from each week, and whether that be playing with a veteran player or learning the golf course or whatever it might be. But I think -- negatively I think it's not quite the start that I thought I'm definitely capable of and things just didn't work out. Positively, I'd probably say the experience in general. I think it's just -- there's definitely a lot, a lot, a lot to learn out here. The more I can surround myself with guys that have been doing this a long time and guys that have a good attitude, the better off I'll be.

Q. You talked about not living and dying by each shot. And you sort of seemed to have that attitude coming off the 9th green, after missing that last putt. Was that in your mind?

J.J. HENRY: I hate to end the round with a bogey, to play so, so well for really 17 holes and it's just kind of unfortunate. I did look up at the leaderboard and I knew at that point I had the lead, and obviously should have, would have, could have. But you've got to kind of take the good with the bad and go on, and hopefully I can just build upon it tomorrow.

Q. What's the J.J. stand for?

J.J. HENRY: Just Jay, Junior, J -a-y. They call my dad Jay, so I get J.J. out of that.

Q. What did it feel like seeing your name at the top?

J.J. HENRY: I'd love to see my name at the top come Sunday afternoon, but it's obviously something, playing the PGA TOUR, it's a dream come true. It's something you work for all your life. And really if nothing else, regardless of what happens the next couple of days, deep down you know you can compete and you know you can play at this level. Whether it's leading by the end of the day or not, it will be somewhere close to the lead. And I can only just try to take the positive away from it and know that I'm capable of shooting low scores out here, and hopefully I can just put a bunch together and who knows, this tournament -- in a way it's got to be rewarding to rookies, looking back at who's won to tournament the last couple of years, it seems to be a rookie. That might not end, but you had Rich Beem a couple of years ago break out and get his first win here. You had numerous first time winners here. It's got to be in the back of your mind something positive to feed off of for rookies. Not just for myself, but other guys that are trying to break through this week.

JOE CHEMYCZ: Let's go through your score card, starting with the birdie at 11.

J.J. HENRY: Had a great 9-iron there to about 10 feet just below the hole and made the putt. 13, I hit a great drive and great 5-wood to be 30 feet and 2-putted for birdie. 14, I actually made a great putt there. I hit a little sand wedge to about 25, 30 feet and right up the hill and made the putt. 15, I guess I pulled the wrong club. I hit a beautiful drive, probably the best drive I hit all day. I had an 8-iron, I thought, came up just short of the green, kind of had a difficult putt up and over the mound and missed a 6-footer for par. 17, I hit a 7-iron about -- made another good putt about pin-high about 25 feet. 1, I hit a 9-iron to about 20 feet. 3, it was a 3-iron shot, very difficult long par-3, hit it on the left side of the green and I ran my first putt by about 8 feet and missed it. I came back strong. I hit an 8-iron on 4 to about two feet. I hit a shot in there. Made another good putt on 5, probably about 25 feet. And then 6 I threw a little sand wedge in there, kind of laid up and drove it in the right side of the fairway and hit a 60 degree sand wedge to about 4 feet, 5 feet. Both 7 and 8 I gave myself great opportunities, hit it close on 7 and missed it. And 8 I hit a beautiful drive down the side and 8-iron to about 7, 8 feet. And then real long putt from the left front side of the green, probably over 50 feet, hit a good putt, missed about a 6-footer, just missed it on the left side, but it was breaking left-to-right, missed it for par, hit the left edge on 9. 7, hit a great 6-iron in there, missed it probably about six or seven feet.

Q. You 3-putted a couple, but you sank about five bombs.

J.J. HENRY: Yeah, all in all it kind of evened out. To 3-putt the last hole, unfortunately, what are you going to do? I've really hit the ball well. I think last week, for instance, on the weekend being in contention, I think I hit all 18 greens on Saturday and missed one on Sunday. And again I did the same thing this week. I hit a lot of greens today. I'm hitting the ball in the fairway, and really that's the strength of my game. When I start making putts, I'm somewhere near the top of the leaderboard.

Q. (Inaudible.)

J.J. HENRY: Length is definitely one of my advantages, but I was kind of pumped up after making some birdies and finally starting to make some of those 25, 30 footers. I worked hard these last couple of days with my teacher on some mechanical things, on trying to feel the speed and working on a couple of things, and it seemed to pay off today.

Q. (Inaudible.)

J.J. HENRY: Well, with as much rain and as soft as they are, I think they're rolling well. The more the day goes on, and everybody with the -- with the feet and stuff, foot impressions, it's going to be difficult as the day goes on, but things should dry out a bit. All in all I think the golf course is in shape, considering the amount of rain and moisture we got.

Q. (Inaudible.)

J.J. HENRY: His name is Todd Anderson. He's at the Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida. Anderson, A-n-d-e-r-s-o-n.

Q. Did you miss a fairway on 15? Did you miss a fairway off the tee?

J.J. HENRY: Did I miss a fairway off the tee today? You know, I don't believe I did. That's pretty much -- I think the rough is pretty penal out here, with as wet as it's been, and kind of humid, hot conditions today it's only going to grow. You've really got to keep the ball in the fairway. I've been hitting the ball well, so even on a drive, under normal conditions it might miss the fairway, but because the ground is so soft that you've really got to miss it off line to miss the fairway. But if you do happen to miss it, it's pretty penal, there's no question.

Q. Were you surprised at how quickly you were able to rise up through the Buy.com Tour?

J.J. HENRY: Not really. I mean I've been fortunate enough where I've had success at every level I've played at, whether it be junior golf. My senior year I was the first team All-American, and the co-college Player-of-the-Year. If I worked hard I knew it was just a matter of time before I really did some good things. I knew it would take good time. There's definitely adjustment between college golf and professional golf. I finished school in '98, three years out of college, personally, I think the BUY.COM is the best thing that happened to me. If I got lucky and got my card out of Q-School, it would have been difficult to keep my card and feel comfortable out here. I've played at a high, high level for the last couple of years, I think, and it can only help me. When I do put myself in situations where I might play well or have chances on the weekend. I've definitely learned a lot the last two years.

Q. (Inaudible.)

J.J. HENRY: It was Bryce Mulder, we were Golfweek/Taylor Made co-Player-of-the-Year. I was also the Western Athletic Conference Player-of-the-Year and stuff.

Q. A lot of people who follow golf still don't follow the BUY.COM Tour. Is it sort of like the high minor leagues in baseball or what do you learn there?

J.J. HENRY: Well, technically speaking, maybe, you compare it to kind of a Triple-A baseball, so to speak. But I think it's even higher than that, there's no question about it. You can debate about whether it's the second or the third best tour in the world or whatever, fourth best tour, but you're seeing guys from all over the world. Everybody wants to play here, and it's only 156 guys can play each week. You follow golf. You look at -- you look at the scores of one of those tournaments and probably 70, 80 percent of those guys at one time or another played the PGA TOUR. It's a good mix of young guys and older players, that I can learn a lot from some of the older guys, for some reason or another lost their card, and are playing down there. But personally speaking I think it's tough to compare it to like a minor league, because I think the caliber of play and the players that are playing there, week in and week out, I mean obviously this is where everybody wants to be, but there's some great golf going on down there, too.

Q. (Inaudible.)

J.J. HENRY: Well, it's not being intimidated by such low scores. You come out and have a 1:30 tee time and see the guys 6-under, 5-under. Really from a transition for me is just to try to go out and I haven't really quite done this as well as I would have liked this year, just to go out and play golf and have fun, and not really worry about results. To go out and take one shot at a time and not worry about, oh, I just made a bogey. Now I'm 7 shots behind. I've only played one hole. It's just a mindset so to speak. You watch these guys that have played out here a long time, they're not worried about whether they made a bogey or birdie, they're trying to go out one shot at a time and play the golf course. You can't control what other people are doing. You have to worry about yourself.

JOE CHEMYCZ: Thank you.

End of FastScripts....

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