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November 19, 2019
THE MODERATOR: All right, we are now here with Brooke Henderson from Canada. Brooke, this year you took wins at Lotte Championship and the Meijer LPGA Classic. You now have nine wins in your LPGA career, which is an amazing number.
It's actually tied for the second most in the last five years and that encompasses your whole career. When you won for the first time at the Cambia Portland Classic, was this the next five years that you envisioned for yourself?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Honestly the last five years have been a dream come true. I never could have asked for any of this. I'm just so grateful for my team. We work really hard and set lofty goals and try to chase after them.
I'm just grateful to be in this position, and it's been a lot of fun.
THE MODERATOR: We come here to Tiburon. You've never finished worse than 25th here. Really good results here. What do you like about this golf course so much that really seems to agree with your game?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, you know, I really like this golf course. I feel like you can be aggressive and you also have to play smart on certain holes.
I feel like over the last few years we've definitely come up with a better strategy as we've gone along. I think we understand how to be on the golf course a little bit better now, which is really exciting.
I think it's a year-end event so I always want to try to finish strong and play really well. Hopefully I'll just go out on Thursday, shoot a solid round, and put myself in good position come the weekend.
THE MODERATOR: Any particular holes out there? You say you've learned and maybe changed your strategy up a bit. Are there any particular holes that you feel you play exceptionally better now than you did when you started?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah. I think pretty much every hole I think we just know what side of the fairway to be on and how to attack certain pin locations.
You want to go out and make birdies and be aggressive, but I think we've learned on some pins you just got to be a little bit safer, and some you get the green light and you can go after them.
I think 17 really sticks out in my mind. First couple times I played it I was a little bit hesitant hitting in two because I didn't really know which way the miss was, if it was the right bunker which is really deep and usually plugged, or that hard chip down to the left.
Just watching other players play it I feel like we have a better understanding of that hole. Now it's more of a birdie hole for me, which is nice.
THE MODERATOR: Last event we saw you in was in Chinese Taiwan, Swinging Skirts. Took a rare week off. You don't take a lot of time off. You like to get out there and play. You played in 26 of 32 events this year, which is I think actually maybe a few -- you missed couple events this year. Is that maybe some strategy for you, learning, changing what's going on in your game, or you just like to play golf.
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, I love to play golf and I love to compete against the best in the world, and try to do it as much as I can. This year was a little bit unfortunate to miss the two Australian events. Had to withdraw from those so that lowered my count a little bit.
Definitely got me well rested for the rest of the year. I feel like we were really strategic in the ones we took off in the summer leading into the majors. We tried to make sure I was peaking. Even though it didn't work out as well as we would have liked, I feel like I had a really solid year this year.
I feel like every year, my whole team, myself, we just keep getting smarter and better, and hopefully that trend can continue.
THE MODERATOR: I know this week isn't technically a major, but it almost feels like it with the $5 million purse and the $1.5 million winner's check. What's the feeling out there on the course among the players of just what thanks to CME Group we have up for us this week?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, absolutely CME Group has really stepped up. This is an amazing opportunity for 60 players. To be here is awesome. It's a great feeling just to know that all have to do is play four rounds of solid golf and you know you can walk away with a ginormous check, which is pretty cool.
But at the end of the day it's just another golf tournament. You need to focus on what you're doing, try to stick to the process, and hopefully things line up and you can give it a run on Sunday. It's just an amazing opportunity, and I think all the girls realize this. I think there is going to be a lot of birdies and a lot of fun.
THE MODERATOR: Open it up for questions.
Q. I was wondering if you think there is an advantage to players who have grown up playing in Florida when it comes to this event, because it seems like Lexi plays well here, the Kordas. Do you think that's a factor?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, I think growing up on this type of grass can definitely be beneficial to a lot of players. I also think that when people have home games they have a little bit more excitement. They usually have more family and friends so more adrenaline, and maybe more to prove.
I think usually when we're in somebody's home state or home country they tend to play a little bit better just because of that. I definitely think that growing up on this type of grass is definitely maybe like a secret weapon, because it is so different than what I grew up on back in Canada.
Q. When you talk about goals, are you someone who physically writes them down?
BROOKE HENDERSON: No. We just usually talk about them amongst each other, like my team.
Q. Do you talk about them at the end of the year, too?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yes.
Q. How did you do this year?
BROOKE HENDERSON: I did really well. I'm happy.
THE MODERATOR: Are you willing to share any of those goals?
BROOKE HENDERSON: For me, a lot of process-oriented goals, so scoring average was a really big one for me, keeping it under 70. Usually when I do that I put myself in contention a lot.
You know, two wins to keep that streak going since 2016 was really important as well and I got it done really early. It was a big check mark.
I feel like just small things along the way. We were able to maybe not quite achieve but grow closer to, and it's just something to look forward to over the next few years.
Q. Following up on the Florida part, you have a place down here. How much are you down here? Does that help you close the gap a little bit by practicing more?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, you know, I'm about 30 minutes from here. It's really nice in the off-season to spend time where it's warm and sunny. We love this area and we actually have made a lot of friends. They're excited to come out and watch me this week. Hopefully I can capture some of that adrenaline of the hometown crowd and fuel off it the next few days.
Q. How did you pick this place?
BROOKE HENDERSON: We had friends down here and just kind of came over and visited and fell in love with it. It's a little bit quieter than the other sides of Florida. A little bit more laid back, which we like. The weather is great. Golf courses are really good. Just made a lot of friends.
THE MODERATOR: How long have you a place here?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Since 2017, but we stayed the year before as well.
THE MODERATOR: Anything further? Randall.
Q. How do you like the change in the format?
BROOKE HENDERSON: You know, at first I was a little disappointed because I had worked so hard the last few years to be in those top positions to have a chance at winning the big money.
But at the end of the day, I think it's great for golf to see the purses increase, and to have an opportunity like this is unlike any other event we've ever played, or I've ever played.
So I think it's definitely going to add excitement to the fans and the players. We all realize this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Maybe continue over the next few years, but it's just an amazing opportunity.
So I think we're all going to try to play our best and make a lot of birdies. I think it's going to make for a really exciting finish.
Q. Then about that $1.5 million winner's check, how do you hope that affects the rest of the women's game?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, you know, I think when sponsors, fans, even players see how much CME Group has stepped up and changed the game really, I think it's just a great way to set a trend for the future.
I think people are going to pick up on it.
Q. Paul Azinger always said one of the only things he's over choked over is cash and prestige. To stay away from the C word, have you ever found yourself affected by a certain amount of money you were playing for, and when was it? If you don't have a good story and can make one up, that would be even better.
BROOKE HENDERSON: (Laughter.) I feel like for my family and my dad, who's my coach, my sister and I, we just really try to focus on process. This is just another golf tournament. It comes with really nice trophy and a big check, which is really nice, but we're still just trying to set a strategy, stick to it the best we can, and go out and make as many birdies as we can.
So I never really think about how much money I make or anything. I feel like this tournament might be the only exception over the last few years where I've been in a position where if I played really well then I could have walked away with that, so I might have thought about it a little bit more.
Week to week I'm not thinking about that. I'm just trying to shoot good scores and win golf tournaments.
Q. When does your thought process or when do you switch from process to winning over the course of 72 holes?
BROOKE HENDERSON: You know, I think once you get into the weekend. You're still trying to stick to your own game plan, but you also see what other players are doing and see opportunities where you need to step up and you need to make some birdies and make something happen.
So I think come the weekend if you've put yourself in good position, you can kind of chase after things a little bit more.
Q. And lastly, from the time you turned pro, what would be the first thing that you really splurged on for yourself?
BROOKE HENDERSON: I really haven't bought a whole lot, to be honest. I think just probably car, Sea Do, and probably my condo. So nothing really too crazy.
Q. Was there anything -- am I talking too much, Christine?
THE MODERATOR: No.
Q. Was there ever a moment where - I'm sure everything gets direct deposited - where you called the bank and got the statement and made you stop for a minute?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, you know, I grew up in a really small town. My parents did really well but we weren't rich or anything. They sacrificed a lot so we could live this life. It's hard to believe that I've come to this position where I'm top 10 in the world and top 2 I guess in CME gold ranking right now.
I see my bank statements and it's kind of a nice feeling. It's been a group effort. My parents have done so much. My sister, she works really hard. We've worked hard for this, but we had a lot of breaks and I'm just really grateful.
Q. What has been the part of your game that has helped you achieve the goals that you set forth for the year?
BROOKE HENDERSON: You know, I think ball striking is always a strength of my game. It's continued to be a strength this year. Driving distance, I'm always trying to get it up there a little bit. Small gains every year.
Then if I can hit the ball close to the pin I can usually end up making a lot of birdies. So ball-striking is really key for me. I think as I was mentioning earlier to Christina, I feel like strategically on every golf course we've gotten a little bit as smarter, so you can shave off strokes in a hurry once you understand how to play a golf courses.
THE MODERATOR: Anything else for Brooke? Before we close, one other thing that CME is doing this year is Score One For St. Jude. You were the only player this year to have more than one hole-in-one. Congratulations. That means $40,000 is going to CME. We're celebrating that this week. Several of the kids and the survivors are here. What does that mean to you to know that not only is this opportunity for all of the players, but now it's an opportunity for you all to give back to the kids and the next generation?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, that's amazing of CME Group to start this initiative and give back to those kids. It's great to see kids get healthy and smile again, especially when they're put in at that position.
To raise $40,000 for two hole in ones is pretty sweet. Maybe I can get another one this week.
THE MODERATOR: Well, I hope so. Thank you so much.
BROOKE HENDERSON: Thank you.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports