February 2, 2022
Fort Myers, Florida, USA
Crown Colony Golf & Country Club
THE MODERATOR: All right, everyone, here with Brooke Henderson at the Drive On Championship in the virtual interview room.
I just want to start things off. You've had two impressive performances the last two weeks as we get ready for the third event of 2022.
How comfortable are you feeling in your game? Take us through what the last two weeks have been like.
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, it's been really exciting to be in contention and climbing the leaderboards on both weekends. It's pretty cool.
In the off-season I really wanted to put in some work, and I'm really happy with how things have progressed over the last couple months. To see some of the hard work pay off is really cool. I think I'm just a few shots and a couple breaks away from getting the next W, which is really exciting.
It's just been a lot of fun out on tour these last few weeks.
Q. You talk about your off-season work, but you also made some changes as well with the TaylorMade ball there. Just what are some of the changes you've seen and reflected in the past adjustments you made this year already?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, switching to the TP5x has been a huge change for me. It's really exciting. Right away I saw huge improvements, and I have two top 10 finishes and a hole-in-one right after I switched, I feel like I definitely made the right decision.
It's exciting moving forward, and I'm excited to play this week. It's been really windy and I feel like that ball flies really well in the wind, so hopefully that will give me a little bit of confidence.
Q. What have you taken away from your game the last two weeks? I know you've had a little sneak peak of Crown Colony as well. What has is like getting used to this course?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, I was able to play here once during the off-season, which was nice, just to kind of get a first look at the course and how was it going to play.
Then coming in this week it has been very windy, so definitely be a big challenge if it continues over the next three days. Just trying to get the right lines off tees.
For the most part I think you can be aggressive. It just kind of depends on the conditions, on the wind. I think you can be aggressive here and make a lot of birdies, so hopefully be making a lot and climbing the leaderboard.
Q. You live, what, 20 minutes away?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah.
Q. Is this the only event where you stay at home, or do you stay at home CME?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Also CME.
Q. Okay, so both of those are home games for you?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Uh-huh.
Q. How do you like that as opposed to be out of the suitcase on the road?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Honestly, there is definitely pros and cons to both. Sometimes when you're staying at home you think, oh, it's just an off week, it's an off-season, so you're not maybe as focused, especially early in the week.
So you kind of have to pay attention to that and remember you're in a tournament, you need to wake up early, and you need to go through your regular routines. Just because when you're on the road week after week you really get into the routine. You stock your bag the night before and you are in a hotel room that's only so big, so you kind of know where everything is, where at home everything is spread out.
So it does take a little bit of adjustment, But I do appreciate staying in my own bed. At the same time, I enjoy the relaxation that home presents.
Q. And did you know this place existed prior to them saying we were going to have this?
BROOKE HENDERSON: No. It was a new course to me, and so I'm excited to play this week.
Q. A pleasant surprise?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, for sure. There are so many great golf courses in this area, which is one reason why I moved here. Just so many opportunities.
Q. How does to compare to Miramar Lakes?
BROOKE HENDERSON: I think the greens are a different type of grass, so it's a little bit different that way. But, I mean, for the most part you can be aggressive on some shots. The greens where I play at home are pretty slopey and these greens can be on a few holes, too.
So I feel like there is definitely some similarities to it. Definitely the heat and the wind are all very similar to what I play on.
Q. That as going to be my next question. A lot of times it isn't the golf course itself, it's the environment, being able to understand what that ocean breeze is going to do. Do you feel as though you have an advantage in that respect?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, you know, playing in Florida the last few weeks, being here at sea level or below sea level you know your distances. Sometimes when I go out west I really have to adjust my distances. Players that live out west and come to Florida, it would be a big adjustment because the ball doesn't fly as far here.
That, for one thing, is a nice advantage that I have living in Florida and playing these three events is I don't have to fight my yardages, I know them.
And also I've played in these windy conditions pretty much the last two months, so all those things are nice to be familiar with, and hopefully gives my a little bit more confidence on the weekend.
Q. Last thing from me: Tonight is going to be the opening ceremonies of the Olympics; I think that is tomorrow in China. Do you have any Olympians that you know that are over there? Any hockey players or anything on the teams?
BROOKE HENDERSON: I definitely love watching Canada compete, and especially in the winter Olympics with hockey and figure skating and skiing. It's all very exciting. I think I'm just cheering for anybody wearing a maple leaf, but honestly I just love watching the winter Olympics from any country and just seeing the athleticism and how determined and focused they are.
It's very inspiring to me to watch any sport from any country.
Q. Any friends over there?
BROOKE HENDERSON: None personally that I can think of right now. Lots of people that I'll be cheering for.
Q. What's it like when you have a 54-hole event - and you don't have as many of those - how is that mindset different?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, the mindset is very different. I do love a three-day event here and there. It's definitely a little bit of a break. But right off the bat you need a solid day the first round to really put yourself in it.
Four days you can kind of make up ground if you don't play so well the first day. Three-day event it's just that much shorter and that much more important to get off to a fast start and hopefully get close to the top of leaderboard and stay there the rest of the week.
Q. Just wondering if you could speak to your grouping. Obviously right off the hop grouped with Nelly and Inbee Park. Is there anything about their games that stand out to you as things that are really impressive? And of course Nelly had such a wonderful season last year with the gold medal and the four wins as well. But specifically to both of their games, is there anything that stands out to you about them?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, when I saw the pairings I was like, Wow, great group. Definitely really excited to be playing with Nelly and Inbee, both very impressive players. As you mentioned, the season that Nelly had was a lot of fun to watch and she's a great player and she's a lot of fun to play with. We can have some nice chats in the fairways.
You know, Inbee, what an impressive career. I love to just watch her, especially around the greens. Very inspiring, and I look forward to playing with both of them tomorrow.
Q. How about your momentum level right now after two straight top 10s to start the year?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, very exciting to get back-to-back Top 10s. Last year that was something that I was a little disappointed in, the lack of number of Top 10s that I had in comparison to other years.
It's nice to get off to a faster start. Solo second the first week back was really nice, and both weeks I feel I was very close to being even better, which is very exciting.
Just gives me some more motivation to continue to work hard and try to fix a few things that need to be fixed and also just continue to work on the consistency of the rest of the game.
Q. You seem very relaxed; the confidence you exude on the course these last two weeks has really shown. What does that do as you're preparing for the upcoming season? What do those two top 10 finishes do for your confidence as you're looking at your schedule and planning out when you want to play?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Oh, thank you. Yeah, it's just been a fun start. I've also been really trying to take advantage of using my 48-inch driver the last few weeks. I'll be able to use it in Asia, but after that I'll have to make the switch.
Definitely trying to make the most of these weeks. That's definitely been in the back of my mind. I look forward to staying at home this week and hopefully getting off to a fast start tomorrow and seeing if I can get in contention come the weekend.
Then going over to Asia, I haven't been in a couple years, so I'm definitely looking forward to going over there. Two of my favorite events and I've definitely missed them, so excited to go over there and have no cuts and just try to be aggressive.
Q. Following up on the Asia part of it, I was talking to Madelene and she was like, Well, we went last year and we had food hanging on our door and stuff like that. Not that everything is back to normal, but is there some comfort in knowing that perhaps the restrictions won't be as bad in the protocols?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, it's nice that the restrictions aren't as tight as they were last year. I feel like it was necessary last year with the way things were, but it's nice that it feels like it's trending in the right direction and they don't have to be quite as strict over there.
We made the choice not to go last year because we were uncomfortable, my sister and I, but this year I feel like the world is hopefully in a better place and our comfort level has definitely improved a little bit.
Looking forward to getting back over there and competing.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you everyone on the call, and good luck this week, Brooke.
BROOKE HENDERSON: Awesome. Thank you.
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