January 16, 2022
Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
Waialae Country Club
Q. What a performance over the weekend. We spoke Thursday; Friday you were saying, look, I'm just looking for a chance to win on the weekend and show I can play on Saturday and Sunday. You did that.
RUSSELL HENLEY: Yeah, I mean, I definitely feel like I hung in there pretty well on the back you nine both days.
Today was a little bit sloppy on the back nine but made the par saves I needed to make to put pressure on Hideki. He just played incredible golf today.
Really I think just one mistake on 9 for him, three-putt par. But, yeah, I wish I could have put some more pressure on him. Tough to beat 3-wood to two feet on 18.
Q. Impressive shot. Before we let you go, I know it's been a long day so I don't want to keep you. How many putts did you hit on the back nine you thought you made? Has to be three or four there.
RUSSELL HENLEY: Yeah, the on 18, you know, Hideki's ball looked like it was moving a little bit to the left when it passed mine in regulation and I thought I hit a pretty good putt and it actually moved right of the hole.
I thought I'd won the tournament. Thought I hit a great putt. Happy with how I hit that putt despite my poor tee shot.
You know, tough to be that in the playoff, but I thought I had him after regulation.
Q. Obviously not how you wanted it to end. What positives do you take away from this week?
RUSSELL HENLEY: Yeah, I gave myself a putt on No. 18 to win the golf tournament. I hit a great putt.
So looking back at the start of every week, if you can say you did that despite whatever happened, it's a really good week on the PGA TOUR. I'll take a lot of confidence from that.
I'm really still scratching my head on how I missed that. It was really close to going in. I was close to getting a win.
So tough to swallow, but Hideki played great all day and happy for him.
Q. Tell me what you love about this place. Obviously a course you play well at. Why do you keep coming back here year after year?
RUSSELL HENLEY: Winning your first start out here is one good reason. Another is you look at the weather all week, it's beautiful. The course is always in great shape. The tournament is run really well. It's just a course that I love to play and I love to be here.
Q. When you made the turn here you made that great eagle on 9. What were your thoughts when you made the turn?
RUSSELL HENLEY: I knew I had to continue to play well and make birdies, which I didn't do.
You know, I knew I had to keep hitting fairways, good iron shots, and I failed to do that.
I hung in there with some good par saves, but got to keep making birdies out here if you want to win.
Q. Just curious if you feel like coming in 65 would've been good enough to win this on Sunday? That was a good round still.
RUSSELL HENLEY: Yeah, I figured 65 would be pretty close. I thought that if I shot 6, maybe 7, it would be a win, which turned out to be true. I thought I did that. Almost made that putt on 18.
Q. After his shot on the playoff, you tried to be perfect, right? I mean...
RUSSELL HENLEY: What's that?
Q. You have to almost be perfect on your shot, right?
RUSSELL HENLEY: Yeah, I knew worst case he's making birdie. I mean, I knew he was close and I figured he would make it. Two poor tee shots on that hole for me end of regulation to have a really nice putt to land it and almost made it.
Q. How long will it take to get over the disappointment and realize that, Hey, second here is pretty good?
RUSSELL HENLEY: Yeah, I mean, I don't know how long it will take to get over it. I definitely take confidence from the tournament, but it really stings to not come away with the win.
That's just part of it.
Q. It was the tale of two nines on this Sunday at the Sony Open. You started with the two-shot lead, go out and extend it to five. Let's look at that first. How would you describe the start?
RUSSELL HENLEY: Yeah, I mean, like I said all week, when I hit the ball in the fairway I can get aggressive going into these greens, and, you know, was hitting fairways and feel like I had some really good numbers; was able to execute well and hit some great iron shots.
Just felt like that was good.
And then the back, one poor swing on 11, and, yeah, just a little bit off but still missed the ball on the correct side of every hole and gave myself a chance.
Q. You told me yesterday you don't necessarily sleep well on the lead. It's tough to win out here. What were the nerves and emotions like on this back nine, especially as Hideki was closing in?
RUSSELL HENLEY: Yeah, I felt pretty good. I definitely was nervous, but I felt pretty good. Felt like I was able to still hit some good shots.
You know, don't feel like I was that far off. Yeah, disappointing to lose, but Hideki hit a great shot in the playoff.
End of regulation I thought I made that putt, and I'll look back on this and take confidence from it because his putt moving past my coin looked like it was going a little left and I thought I hit a really good putt, and moved a little bit right.
So I thought I had him, but he got me.
Q. How do you process just falling short here at Sony?
RUSSELL HENLEY: It stings. I played some great golf. I feel like I was in it the entire time mentally this time. I didn't have too many mental lapses like I have other tournaments where I've been close to the lead in the last couple years.
So feel like I was there. You know, just got to keep chugging.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports