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September 15, 2021

Brooke Henderson

Portland, Oregon, USA

The Oregon Golf Club

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: All right, thanks so much for coming today everybody. Here with Brooke Henderson, two-time Cambia Portland Classic winner, 2015 and 2016, and Brooke won this year at the HUGEL Air Premia L.A. Open.

Welcome back to the Pacific Northwest. I know Portland and this area is so special for you. What's the feel when you get off the plane here and know you're back in this area of the world?

BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, I definitely love the Pacific Northwest. It's been very good to me. My first three LPGA Tour wins were all out here. In 2015 winning this event changed my life, was a dream come true.

Looking back on all those great memories in 2015 and then defending in 2016 just brings a huge smile to my place. Unfortunately we're not at Columbia Edgewater this year where all those memories took place, but this is an incredible golf course with spectacular views of Mt. Hood, and I'm really looking forward to the week.

Q. We'll come back to those views. I think you've had three weeks off. When was the last time you got that much time off how relaxing was it?

BROOKE HENDERSON: It was really wonderful. We were actually able to go back home to Canada, which had been a really long time for us. To see our family and also just to go to our cottage and hang out at home was really special. Three weeks, yeah, a lot of time off, so I was able to take some time way from the game, which I think everybody needs every once in a while.

And also was able to work with my coach who is also my dad and prepare for this week. So I'm excited. I feel like we made big gains over those three weeks, and I'm looking forward to this event and the upcoming stretch.

Q. Going back home to Canada is so important to you, and we all understand why. Over the last year and half it wasn't necessarily possible. Was this the first time you had been back since the pandemic?

BROOKE HENDERSON: It had been over a year for Brit on her return, and I was able to go home in January, but I did the two week quarantine so I only had one week free at home. This time I was able to not have to quarantine because I'm vaccinated, and was able to go home and spend some quality time.

Q. What was it like to get the coaching with dad? We can do a lot with Zoom, but to get that time with dad, with coaching dad, and get some finesse on your game.

BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, it was really important. Like you said, you can do a lot virtually, a lot of FaceTime calls and a lot of the emails, et cetera.

That one-on-one, that's really important. And I feel like I've had a little bit of an up and down year. More than I usually do. But it was really nice to kind of regroup, and he really helped me out over the last three weeks.

I feel like, like I said, we made big gains. Excited to put it in play.

Q. So we're going to put it in play here. You mentioned the Oregon Golf Club. New venue. You were able to see it. 18 holes. Looks like you played pretty well in the pro-am today if I look at the leaderboard. You talk about the views. Talk about a great new venue to come to. What's the week going to shape up for you do you think out there on the golf course?

BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, I feel like this golf course is definitely a shot makers' golf course and a lot of strategy is involved. Got to play smart. Feel like every hole you have to have an individual strategy for. Each hole is really different from the next.

So I'm really looking forward to playing, teeing up early tomorrow, 8 a.m. in a great group with May and Nessa, which is always fun.

I feel like the back nine has the most similarities to Columbia Edgewater, so I tend to like that side a little bit more as of right now. And the front side is very hilly, so be a good work out.

Q. You're all getting a good work out this week. Brit does not need to hit the gym this week.


Q. I wanted to ask you about 18, the par-5 18. That's the Aon Risk Reward hole this week. What do you think that hole specifically is going to bring to the competition?

BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, absolutely. If you hit two solid shots in good positions you're putting eagle, otherwise a lot of numbers can also come into play.

It's important on the tee shot to get up the right side to have a clear view. Even though with the lie so far above your feet the next shot is a little bit tricky, definitely eagles and birdies can be made there, and hopefully I'll be taking part in either one of those scores.

Q. And that challenge and the risk-reward that goes with that goes into my next question, which is we rolled out the first new series of stats in the KPMG Performance Insights. You're in the top 10 of strokes gained off the tee. How do you think that highlights a particular strength in your game, and how do you think that might help you on a risk-reward hole like that?

BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, long game has always been a strength of mine, especially off the tee. Feel very comfortable with the driver. So 18, par-5, if I get it up there a long way and hit the fairway can give me a good look to hitting the green in two, and hopefully making a low number there.

Yeah, driver has always been my favorite and hopefully it continues.

Q. One last question about this. Just want to ask you about the challenge itself. We're coming down to the end. Some movement we could see there. Overall what does it mean to have something like the Aon Risk Reward Challenge which puts you and the guys on the PGA Tour on equal footing when it comes to prize and recognition?

BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, the Aon Risk Reward is a really fun challenge. Every week I look forward to seeing which hole it's being played on. And like you said, I think having the equality, men and women, is really important. I feel like Aon has really stepped up and it's made a big difference in our game, and hopefully one year I'll be able to win it.

Q. Hope so too for you. Looking out here at the course, not going to ask you put your prediction hat on. That's not fair. What do you think the next couple days are going to kind of bring when you see a new venue, some new challenges? What does it mean for you to come out and see a new place like this in competition?

BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, you know, the first few days' practice rounds you're really trying to take notice of a lot and work your way around the course and learn it the best you can.

I heard there was going to maybe be some weather moving in. A little bit cooler temperatures and possibly some rain, so that will affect the scores as well.

But I think there is definitely birdie opportunities out here. Can also be a little bit tricky, so you just have to play smart on some holes. But on the holes where -- you know, maybe like 18 if you hit solid shots you can make birdie, and you really need to capitalize on those opportunities.

Q. Obviously new golf course this year. Can you just take us through some of your steps you take to prepare yourself for a new golf course, especially one where you do have such great memories? That sort of cleans the slate for yourself unfortunately, but, yeah, talk us through the process and the sort of mental sides of things getting ready for this golf course?

BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, so we played early on Monday morning on the back nine and just tried to get a solid feel for how the holes were playing.

You're trying to look for where your misses should be, where your ideal spot is, and also just getting a feel for the greens. It's very slopey and they're playing very fast, so, again, trying to pick the proper places to putt for certain pin locations and just trying to take it all in.

It's a lot more work than courses where you go -- if we were playing Columbia Edgewater I know where to hit it and what works on each hole. Here it's a blank slate, and trying to figure it out all. I also depend a lot on my sister. She does a great job walking the course and making sure all the calculations are correct and giving me solid lines off tees.

We work really well together. She's very book oriented. It's all about doing the proper math and studying all the time on the yardage book and greens book, and I'm very much feel. So between the two of us we come up with a solid plan and hopefully it works.

Q. She'll definitely be getting her workout in this week, like you said earlier. Is there a stretch of holes out here that you particularly enjoy or you think you might be able to take advantage of most?

BROOKE HENDERSON: I think the back nine suits my eye a little bit better. A little bit more tree lined, and as I mentioned, a little bit similar to Columbia Edgewater. I really enjoy playing those holes. I think every hole out here provides a different challenge than the next, and that's kind of fun and kind of fascinating at the same time.

I think just hopefully hitting good shots and knowing where to miss it is really important.

Q. Last question from me: What are three words that come to mind when you think of Portland?

BROOKE HENDERSON: Portland? Amazing time three. (Smiling.)

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