December 16, 2020
Naples, Florida, USA
TiburÃ³n Golf Club
THE MODERATOR: All right, welcome inside the virtual media center here at the CME Group Tour Championship.
Happy to be joined by Brooke Henderson. Brooke, how are you doing?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Good. Definitely happy to be back here. The weather is a lot warmer and a lot nicer.
THE MODERATOR: I was going to say, a lot of players have said that, that they really like these temperatures compared to what you guys had last week overall.
The last major of the season closed out last week. Overall what were your thoughts of closing it out in December in Houston?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, you know, we were really grateful that we were able to compete and play a U.S. Women's Open, especially so late in the year. It was kind of a gift to have it on our schedule, so definitely happy to plan and play all four rounds. It was a little bit dicey there for a little while. Definitely not the week that I was hoping for, but at the same time, I felt like I worked through a couple things and a lot of positives I can take into this week.
THE MODERATOR: What are some of the things you're looking to focus on as we gear up for this Tour Championship?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, you know, my putting was a little bit of a letdown. Lost a little bit of confidence there on Saturday, I guess Friday afternoon and Saturday.
Putted way better on the Monday finish, and so that felt really nice, and been working on the greens here. Feel like I'm in a much better place, which is exciting. Felt like my ball striking wasn't too far off last week, so hopefully keep that going this week.
THE MODERATOR: Taking a look at your season as a whole, five top 10 finishes, including an exceptional performance at the ANA Inspiration. What have been some of your general thoughts on this past year on what you were able to do on the golf course?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, in the springtime I wasn't sure what my schedule was going to lok like, how much I was going to be able to play, so I'm really grateful for the LPGA and the protocols they put in place to make this relatively a very safe place to play.
I've been very comfortable out here playing I think ten events, and as you mentioned five Top 10s. It's been a really successful year, and it would be really nice to finish this week off hopefully another top 10 or maybe better.
But hopefully just put in two solid rounds Thursday Friday and see where that puts me going into the weekend.
THE MODERATOR: I know you're one of the players on tour that loves to play each and every week. You are one of those that takes advantage of every playing opportunity. Was it a little weird to adjust to kind of a different playing style this year of having to kind of put the clubs down for a little bit and wait for this break to hopefully not be too long?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, absolutely. It was very strange. It was a really long break, especially for me, and then even when I did get back playing I didn't play every single event. So I was taking more breaks than usual.
It was kind of nice for a change actually, and I think I can use that in the future. I can kind of -- I sort of learned how I can practice and prepare for each event and what works when I have those breaks, so that's exciting to know what works in the future so maybe I don't have to play as many events as I have the last few years.
But, yeah, I'm just happy that I got to play as much as I did this year. Happy I got invited back to this Tour Championship. It's always a huge goal of mine to make sure I'm in the field and hopefully in contention because it's such an exciting week and great opportunity.
THE MODERATOR: You do have quite the record here, and also I know Naples is very close to your heart. What is it like being able to like you just said, to be able to come back here and the fact that we have this Tour Championship this year?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, getting off the plane on Monday night I was so grateful I was back here in southwest Florida. Just feels like home, just the conditions. Just feels really nice to be back. Nice to sleep in my own bed and be so close to this course.
Definitely really grateful for that, and having my sister nearby, too. She feels at home, so it's really fun for us. As I mentioned before, you know, this tournament is just such a great opportunity. There is a lot of money on the line and it's Top 70 players from this year.
So it's just an honor to be invited, and hopefully I can capitalize at opportunity.
THE MODERATOR: Is there any differences about this course in December? What have you been feeling out there as you started practicing?
BROOKE HENDERSON: I actually noticed the course is a lot softer than it has been other years, which I definitely think will make the scoring conditions a lot easier. If the wind doesn't pick up too much I think it'll be even lower scores than normal.
So lots of birdies out there. Hopefully just stick to the process: hit a lot of fairways, hit a lot greens, and give myself a lot of good looks.
THE MODERATOR: With that, before we open up to questions we have someone special on the line. Mary Browder is a St. Jude patient who was here last year, and I know she has a few questions for you.
MARY BROWDER: Hi, I'm Mary Browder. We met last year actually at like Birdie Alley next to 18. I got to talk to your sister more than you actually.
So seems like ya'll would be pretty fun on the road. My sister caddied for me last Thursday. It was fun, but I'm not sure how ya'll do it.
So what's the funniest thing that your sister has done to you in a round? And then on the other side of that, what does she do to keep your mind right during the round?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, well I'm really fortunate to have Brit on the bag. She's been a huge asset to my game and my career over the last few years.
It's definitely a balance, but she and I, we've come up with a system and we've worked it out where it works, and I'm just really happy to have her there.
Actually last week it was the first round of the U.S. Women's Open on the third hole and she had messed up the head covers for like the first time ever. I just grabbed the head cover which I thought was my 7-wood, and I got up to the tee and I looked down and I had my 3-wood in my hand. I was like, Oh, boy?
I was like, Brit, what is this? She said, Oh, my gosh. She ran back to the bag and got me the right club. She never makes mistakes like that, but what a time to do it, at the U.S. Women's Open. So I was a little bit mad at her. All in fun. We got that problem fixed.
And I feel like she just knows me so well that she really knows what to say and when not to say anything if I'm running a little bit hot. So I feel like it's just a great partnership. I couldn't have asked for a better caddie for the last five years.
MARY BROWDER: Awesome. Glad you caught that before you hit the ball.
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, me too.
MARY BROWDER: So I saw that you were the only pro to hit two hole in ones last year; is that right?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, I think so.
MARY BROWDER: That's pretty awesome. How does it feel to donate $40,000 just by hitting two really good tee shots?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, that's an amazing accomplishment. So grateful for CME and making those donations to St. Jude. Just makes the hole-in-one so much more meaningful. Hole in ones are all great and super exciting, but when you know you're helping make a difference, makes it even more special.
MARY BROWDER: Yeah. What does it mean to you to help St. Jude kids like me by excelling at your job?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, that's really cool. Out here this week there are signs around, and after you make a hole-n-one you get a T-shirt, so you feel like really proud and honored just by, yeah, like you said, doing my job and doing what I love to do.
I can really help make a difference in people's lives and children's lives, and it's really meaningful and helps motivate and inspire you to try to be even better. Hopefully I get another hole-in-one this week.
MARY BROWDER: All right. I'm rooting for you. Good luck.
BROOKE HENDERSON: Thank you.
THE MODERATOR: All right, that perfect. Amazing questions, as always. With that, I will pass it off to Greg.
Q. You're right up there for the Vare Trophy. What would that mean to win that?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, it's definitely been a huge goal of mine since I started my career on the LPGA to be in contention for that and to lower my scoring average.
So it's nice that I have been able to play so well this year and have a pretty low scoring average. I think I am actually out of the race because I think you had to play 12 events or 14 events this year. I only played ten, so I'm unfortunately out this year, but hopefully I can put myself in contention again next year.
Q. How many layers of clothes did you have on Monday?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Million. I had so many. One, two, three, four. I had five like shirts and sweaters. I wore pants and rain pants and I was still freezing. (Laughter.)
Q. How has everything with COVID affected how much you've been in southwest Florida? Have you been here more than you planned to be with some of the restrictions and everything?
BROOKE HENDERSON: I went home to Canada early in the spring when it was the full lockdown. Since I've been back out on tour, most weeks off I've been spending here in southwest Florida. Just easier to practice, a lot warmer, a lot better conditions. So I've been able to spend a fair amount of time here the last few months of it's been really nice.
THE MODERATOR: All right. Thank you. Adam?
Q. Much warmer I'm sure this week than last week. Two quick questions: what is your confidence level at heading into this week? Like you said, you're sleeping in your own bed. You play this golf course really well and you mentioned that it is a little bit softer than in years past and you may be able to attack the golf course a little bit more.
How are you feeling confidence-wise going into this week?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, my results didn't really show it last week, but I feel good about where I'm at and how my game is. I think couple things I needed to work on I kind of worked on them through the weekend last week and last couple days here, so I feel like I'm in a really good spot.
It's just such an awesome tournament and a great championship, and I would love to finish the 2020 season on a high. Hopefully just make a lot of birdies, make a lot of putts, and see if I can put myself in contention on Sunday afternoon. That would be the main goal.
But I would be happy with a top 10. Obviously hoping for more.
Q. You had said it yourself, this is the last tournament of the 2020 season and obviously a season in a year unlike any other. As you've gotten to this final tournament, how would you put this whole year into words, if you could sum it up here?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, in a crazy, uncertain year I feel like my golf game has been in a really good spot. I classify my season as a success. I didn't know how much I was going to play or if I was even going to play or be comfortable out here when I was back home in Canada during the summer.
So I'm just happy that Brit and I made the choice to come back out on tour, and grateful for the LPGA for all they've done to allow this to happen and relatively safely.
I feel like to get five Top 10s and be in contention for four weekends basically in a row those four tournaments consecutively, that was really fun for us, and love to do it again this week.
Q. It's very rare that this prestigious event follows the national championship, the U.S. Women's Open, which is exhausting in its own right, and you throw in the weather you had. How would you describe your energy level coming off such an exhausting week?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yes, it definitely can be. I feel like being in the position I was in sort of close to the bottom maybe I conserved a little bit more energy than some of the people chasing the trophy. Maybe in that way it was a little bit of a blessing.
I feel the Monday finish was a little bit rough changing flights and going straight to the airport after the round. That definitely takes a lot out of you, especially with the cold temperatures as we mentioned before.
I feel like yesterday was a good day for us to get rest and get ready for this week. Just finished a Pro-Am here and had a lot of fun, so right now I'm feeling great and I'm just really excited for the next four days.
Q. Finally, you said you'd been working on some aspects of your game. What has been the focus of the majority of your work as the season comes to a close?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, just continue to work with Brit trying to better our green reading and just come up with a little bit better strategy on every green and just talking through some of the factors a little bit more.
So I feel like we've been a great team in that and working really diligently, so hopefully pays off this week.
THE MODERATOR: With that, I will ask one more time if anyone has any questions for Brooke.
As we begin to wrap up here, have you started thinking of 2021 and some of the goals maybe, or are you one of those people that would rather stop and reflect before heading off to the new season?
BROOKE HENDERSON: I will definitely take some time to reflect after this week. I'm definitely excited for 2021. Looks like we're going to have a great schedule ahead of us. Hopefully with all the vaccines coming out and everybody being a little bit more familiar with protocols I think we'll have a fuller season, which is really exciting.
I'm just looking forward to the opportunity to play a lot more than we did this year and hopefully get back on my winning streak.
THE MODERATOR: With that, thank you everyone for hopping on, and thank you, Brooke, for everything.
BROOKE HENDERSON: Thanks.
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