October 6, 2020
Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, USA
Aronimink Golf Club
THE MODERATOR: We're back with Rolex Rankings No. 4 Brooke Henderson. Brooke is competing in her sixth KPMG Women's PGA Championship, has never missed a cut and won in a playoff in 2016, making her seventh start of the 2020 LPGA season with three top-10 finishes. Brooke, I know you're usually someone who likes to get out and play every week, play week in, week out. It's a different year, certainly understandably picking and choosing and taking your time. How are you feeling right now as we get ready for the season's next major?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, you know, the last few weeks have been really good to me, and that's been really exciting to see that I'm back in contention, near or in the final groups on the weekend is always a lot of fun, and to play as well as I did at ANA and then back it up last week at ShopRite, my game feels like it's in a really good spot, so I'm really excited going into this week, especially when I have such a great history here at this event, and this golf course just looks amazing, so I'm excited.
THE MODERATOR: Your win at Sahalee was undoubtedly one of the biggest moments of your career, everyone will say, getting that major win. Do you ever think back to that week and smile about the week in Sahalee?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, I think that was just such a life-changing event and just everything seemed to go to perfectly. It was just a great week from the hole-in-one on Thursday to hoisting the trophy on Sunday, and to have Brit by my side for it, it just was a remarkable week.
This tournament, KPMG, and the PGA, they've been a huge part of my career so far, getting a sponsor's invite in 2015 and then playing -- I guess I finished second in 2017, so this tournament has just been huge in my career.
THE MODERATOR: What is it about this tournament in particular that really seems to bring out the best in you? Is it the experience itself? Is it the golf courses? What is it?
BROOKE HENDERSON: I think it's just everything. They always treat you so well. We're on like the best golf courses in America. The purse is always really big, which is always a bonus, and you're just taken care of. The food is always great, hospitality is always awesome. I think they're just raising the bar for women's golf, which is really exciting. Playing on network television, it's really great.
I think a few days ago I walked in and I saw the trophy and I looked for my name engraved on the side, and that was just a really cool moment for me.
THE MODERATOR: I know you even have a special part in the locker room. Did you ever think you'd be sharing a locker room with Dame Laura Davies? It's mind blowing.
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, it is, absolutely. I played really early this morning at 7:00 and she was teeing off, too. It's just, yeah, amazing to be able to play against the best in the world, and to be surrounded and have my name on a trophy that has so many great names that have played before me.
Q. With so many pros finding success these days with unconventional swings, what advice would you give to up and coming players who are trying to win with unique swings?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, you know, I've been really fortunate. I have pretty much the same swing as I did when I was like three years old, and my dad is my coach and he never really changed too much because it seemed to be working, so he just kind of let me go with it, and just refined some of the smaller things. I think it's just really important that if it's working, just keep going, keep practicing, keep working hard.
Q. You already are a really powerful player, but when you see what somebody like Bryson is doing out on the PGA TOUR, have you worked to try and get more power or tried to do anything to get more distance in your game?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, you know, my team and I, we always consider length being a big advantage, and so every year I'm always trying to hit it a little bit further, whether that's new equipment at Ping or just getting a little bit stronger. He definitely took it to like the ultimate, and like ultimate -- I don't know, just like lifestyle change. I'm not sure if I'll do that, but just small gains here and there, and I think it will make a big difference.
Q. As someone who usually plays a very heavy schedule, do you feel as prepared as usual for this major championship, and do you have to do anything this week maybe differently than you did in the past to get ready?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, the thing about when the golf course moves around every year, you have to really pay attention Monday through Wednesday to get prepared. Brit is out walking the course, getting the numbers, making sure everything is correct, and just seeing a golf course for the first time, you really just have to pay attention these first three days and try to get a solid strategy together. So we've been trying to do that.
And for -- I've been playing now since I guess middle of August, so I feel like my game is in a good spot, especially coming off two top 10s, so that feels nice, and hopefully I can just keep it going.
Q. Now that you've become Canada's winningest pro golfer, men or women, do you look at these majors a little bit differently, as sort of the real next step in your legacy?
BROOKE HENDERSON: I think, you know, winning my first major in 2016, now when I come to a major championship I know that I can compete here and I know that I've done it before, so that gives me a lot of confidence going into the week. I have a parking space out in the parking lot. You mentioned a special spot in the locker room. There's just a lot of perks to it. But I feel like the biggest one is just confidence knowing that you can compete on the biggest stage there is in women's golf, and hopefully I can get four solid rounds together and be in contention come Sunday.
Q. You have a group of fans called Brooke's Brigade. When you play, there's usually a good number of fans cheering you on. What's it like for you to play this year without spectators, and how do you think it's going to affect your play at this majors?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, it's definitely very strange playing without fans. They definitely play a huge role in golf. It's always fun to connect with the fans after good rounds or you hit a good shot and hear them clap, it's always really fun, and you can kind of feed off their energy, where this year that's missing, but at the same time I think it was the correct call under the circumstances in a world pandemic. It's just definitely the right decision.
I think over the last few weeks I've kind of gotten more comfortable with it. I feel like the biggest challenge is when you hit a good shot but you can't see the green, normally you can just depend on the crowd to know if it's a good shot or if it's over the back, and I'm with Brit and we're walking really fast up to the green to try to check it out.
Q. Just wondering about momentum; obviously we can see the results, runner-up at the ANA, T6 last week and of course just some excellent results at this particular major in your career. Do you feel like you've got momentum coming into this week?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, I think it's slowly building. I didn't really get off to the start I wanted to in August, but I've kind of regained where I was, and I've seen my World Ranking to go up, as well, to No. 4, which is really exciting. I feel like my game is in a good spot. I feel like I have good vibes from this tournament and the last few tournaments I've played in. I think being here at Aronimink it's just so beautiful and the course is in such amazing shape, it's definitely going to be a challenging week, very difficult golf course, but hopefully I can hit it well and just put myself in contention.
Q. Donald Ross is knowing for interesting greens complexes. What's the challenge of trying to learn these greens in a couple of days? As you look at the test overall, what do you think the biggest thing that will be asked of you this week?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, these greens are massive and very slopey, and as you mentioned, it's just really important these first three days to try to learn them as best you can. Luckily we do have a greens book, and Brit is a good green reader, so I can depend on her. Yeah, I think just pace on putts. Even if your ball-striking is decent you know you're going to have long putts at some point during this tournament, and just trying to read them the best you can.
Q. How much is length a factor here do you think?
BROOKE HENDERSON: The course is playing very long. I've hit more hybrids in the last few days than I have in a really long time, so I think it just kind of depends on the wind, and hopefully they'll move us up a little bit on some holes just because it is so soft out there.
I feel like if you can hit it long and hit it straight, then you'll have some good looks, especially on the shorter holes.
Q. What do you think is going to be a good score?
BROOKE HENDERSON: That's a tough question. I mean, it is a very difficult golf course. I feel like if everything is on, then you can make some birdies, but I don't think the scores are going to be super outstanding, but hopefully just hit a lot of fairways and a lot of greens and see what happens.
Q. You have a lot of good young players out here on this Tour and there's a great tussle, I guess, chasing that No. 1 spot. What's it like to be in that mix, and how big a role does that play in what you're trying to accomplish?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, you know, I've been really happy that my ranking has been inside the top 10 basically I guess since 2016, which is really exciting. As you mentioned there's a lot of talented golfers out here, and it has been sort of some movement recently up near the top and people battling it out. I'm sure over the next year or two there will be some more movement. It's just an exciting time to be a part of this and to be in the position that I am, and hopefully I can just continue to improve and get a little better and hopefully add a few more wins to my resume and then maybe my ranking will move up.
THE MODERATOR: You're a KPMG champion; this certainly is an important event in your history. One of the tag lines here is "inspire greatness." I know you talk about how much inspiration you take from your sister and your family, but who are some other athletes or people who have inspired you and what does it mean to you when you see kids out there looking up to you as their inspiration.
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, that's really cool. Someone mentioned earlier the Brooke's Brigade and it's really cool to think that I might be motivating them in some way, and hopefully that continues.
I would say growing up Morgan Pressel was a huge inspiration to me, huge role model, and it's pretty cool now that we're friends out here on Tour. I feel like, yeah, I owe her a lot, and as you mentioned, my sister, my parents. I'm just grateful to be out here.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports