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June 15, 2021

Brooke Henderson

Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

Blythefield Country Club

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Welcome to the LPGA Classic media center.

Here with two-time Meijer LPGA Classic champion, Brooke Henderson with a big smile on her face. Thank you for joining us.


Q. Two time champion. You entered Blythefield Country Club and see Brooke Henderson Lane. This is starting to feel like home?

BROOKE HENDERSON: Yes, I definitely love it here, Blythefield Country Club. So many great members and I just feel at home when I come here. The weather, the trees. It reminds me of home up in Canada. And just the friends that we've made here, it's just a wonderful place to be, and hopefully I can make some more great memories this week.

Q. They changed the course up on you. I don't know if they're trying to make a three-peat hard, but some changes around the course, trees cut down, new bunkers, greens. Is it much more challenging than before?

BROOKE HENDERSON: Definitely a few tee shots are definitely more challenging with where they placed the bunkers. 18, 9, and 2 sort of come to mind with the way the bunkers kind of jut in so it bottlenecks the fairway. I used to cut some corners and take sort of aggressive lines on those holes where I can't really do that anymore.

I think just having a solid strategy and leaning on what I've learned the last few years for the rest of the golf course will definitely be beneficial.

THE MODERATOR: No sister on the bag this week. Everette Nini on the bag. I think I said that right. Take us through the change in caddie.

BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, definitely disappointed not to have Brit on my bag this week because we always make a great team and I love having her there. Unfortunately her work permit is a little bit delayed due to COVID, so just waiting for that. Hopefully it's here sooner than later.

In the meantime I have Everette on the bag this week and he has lots of experience out here and a good friend.

THE MODERATOR: What went into the thought process of who you would use this week, and was there anything specific you were looking for even though Brit is irreplaceable?

BROOKE HENDERSON: You know, I'm definitely sad that Brit is not with me on the bag this week. Definitely be a big change. I think main thing this week is to try to keep things simple and have fun on a golf course that I've played really well on before.

Everette is a good friend and he's lots of fun to be around, so I think he will definitely make the change a little bit easier.

Q. You don't have your caddie. They've made the bunkers so you can't cut corners. Do you still have the same expectations?

BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, they're definitely making it harder on me, but I'm excited for the challenge. I love this place, and I think I'm working and trying to get a good strategy together where I can still perform really well here.

I think I just have to be a little bit more patient than in other years, and at the end of the day if you hit solid golf shots and hit a lot of greens, then hopefully good things will happen.

Q. What's the biggest adjustment to having a different caddie?

BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, Brit has been my only caddie since 2016 so just learning different tendencies from other people I think is the biggest thing. Brit pretty much reads my mind out there a lot of time, so just learning to deal with speaking what I'm thinking a little bit more and just being able to adjust to things like that.

Q. You mentioned coming up to play Michigan, especially Grand Rapids, a place you're very fond of. Feels like playing back at home. I work for the newspaper up in Midland, so just coming up to play in Michigan, how much fun is it for and you how excited are you to get things going this week?

BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, I definitely love Michigan, especially when the border is open so a lot of Canadians can come down too to support. But I've made a lot fans here, too, so I'm excited this week there are a limited number of fans coming out to support, and looking forward to this week and then Dow in a few weeks. I'm partnering with In Gee Chun, so it will be a lot of fun there as well.

Q. Just two quick questions from me. First with In Gee is it more after friendship or strategy? What went into that particular partnership?

BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, she's a great friend. I admire her game a lot. So I think it will be fun and very different partnership because we play very different styles of golf.

So I think hopefully we can use it to our advantage and plot our way around that course there, and maybe I'll hit on some of the longer holes and the more holes where you have to hit it a little bit straighter, maybe she'll take over there.

Q. Last question from me: We've seen this tournament grow exponentially grow throughout the years. We're seeing the tournament in Midland grow exponentially. Just the amount of growth and amount of support that you, from a players' perspective have seen from those two tournaments in Michigan, how great is it and how much does it mean to you?

BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, this in particular seems to get bigger and better every year with the fan engagement and then for Simply Good, they've been able to give back so much money and food and help a lot of people.

So it's always really special to be a part of that. As you mentioned, Dow is continuing to grow as well, and I'm excited to see where it goes.

Q. We're heading into the 14th tournament of the year and there have been no multiple-time winners yet this season. 18 of the past 20 years have had someone win twice by this point. Why do you think there hasn't been one so far this year?

BROOKE HENDERSON: That's really interesting to think of it like that. You know, to be honest, there is just so much talent out here, and every week it's very difficult. To get a top finish you have to work really hard to keep your place and you have to get some breaks along the way to win.

I've been really fortunate I won a few weeks, a few months ago in LA and I' looking for my second in the season and hopefully in the near future. So maybe over the next few weeks. I think just the talent depth of the girls out here and how hard everybody is working.

Q. You've won multiple times in a season, multiple years in a row. How difficult is it to win multiple times in one year?

BROOKE HENDERSON: Definitely very difficult. I was happy to be able to do it 2016 through 2019, and then of course last year I only played 10 events and unfortunately didn't win any of them. Coming out this year I was hoping to get that first win pretty quickly, and I would love to get back on the streak of winning multiple times a season.

I think if we just continue to put in the work and be patient and enjoy the process, that's one thing I'm really trying to do this year, is just try to enjoy everything a little bit more. It's a journey and just a wonderful one that I've been blessed to live and play on the LPGA Tour, so hopefully I can just enjoy the highs and persevere through the lows.

Q. How difficult is it to enjoy the process?

BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, sometimes it seems to be quite the challenge when things don't really go your way, like losing your caddie, for one. But at the same time, it's just life. Things are going to happen. Hopefully sooner or later Brit is back on the bag.

As I said, golf is a rollercoaster. You're going to have good days, bad days, good holes, and then blow up on the next one. So just being patient and just being able to ride through that. Being able to travel usually around the world, and right now all around the U.S. and being able to share that journey with the people in my life is really important to remember how wonderful this life really is. Making a lot of money and getting to see the world.

Q. What's your favorite thing about Blythefield?

BROOKE HENDERSON: I think just the feeling of home when I step up here and just all the great memories that I've made since I guess 2016 was my first year here. It's just the similarities of where I grew up and this place are very close, and having family and friends here is really meaningful to me as well.

Q. Any idea when Brit might be back on the bag?

BROOKE HENDERSON: It's just a waiting game right now. Like I said, hopefully sooner than later.

THE MODERATOR: And Meijer has donated to the tournament and partners over $6.3 million to the Meijer Simply Give Program over the years of this tournament, including $1.1 million out of their own pocket last year despite the event being canceled. New this year, as a two-time I'm sure you would've appreciated this in years, new to this year they will be donating a $25,000 check to the food bank charity of the champion's choice. When you hear that, you've been in the winner's circle twice here, is there food bank that comes to mind, and how special is it to have...

BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, you know, it's amazing what Meijer has done for this event and for the community. Raising that amount of money and helping people when they need it most is really amazing. It's special for me to be a small part of that and be able to play this week and hopefully be in the winner's circle and have some more money donated to my choice.

That would be pretty sweet. Just everything they have done and how well they treat us here every single year is awesome. I love this event.

THE MODERATOR: If anybody has any questions online, please comment in the chat function. If not, we're going to let you out of here on this one: The Aon Risk Reward hole, obviously we're about halfway through the year, so the Aon Risk Reward hole will come into play a little more focused. Take us through hole I think it is 14, the par-5. What's the game plan on that hole and how you plan to attack it.

BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, they actually moved the tee box up a lot from years past so it's definitely reachable for pretty much everybody, which makes things really interesting. But it's a tight fairway off the tee. You have to hit a good solid tee shot to get it down there.

And then on the second shot, especially if you're going for it in two, there is two overhanging trees that you have to really watch out for and you have to hit a straight shot otherwise it gets knocked down about 80 yards away.

So I think for me, I'll be trying to hit it in two every day and hopefully make some eagles.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you for your time and thank you everyone for joining today. Best of luck this week.


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