April 20, 2022
Los Angeles, California, USA
Wilshire Country Club
THE MODERATOR: All right, welcome inside the virtual media center here at DIO Implant LA Open.
Pleased to be joined by defending champion, Brooke Henderson. Brooke, we just stalked about it, but happy to hear they're you're feeling better after the LOTTE Championship.
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, feeling a lot better, and just grateful to be back here with such special memories. Looking forward to hopefully having a great week over the next four days.
Q. Back in Los Angeles. You had your tenth win here on the LPGA Tour back at Wilshire in 2021. That final day was definitely a rally-from-behind win. Take me through some of the memories you have from that final day.
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, Sunday was super special playing with Jin Young and Jess, two good friends and great players. You know, we really all fought it out, and I got some breaks there on the back nine which really seemed to be momentum changes and kind of turned things in my favor, which was really cool.
But it was a fight right to the end. 18 had to get up and down and Jess hit a great shot in there for birdie. Just lots of amazing memories to look back on, and I'm excited to give it another shot this week.
Q. That final hole, what were the nerves like on that final hole? Do you remember?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, I just came off a bogey on 17 and I knew 18, it's a very difficult tee shot, even though it's just a par-3; you definitely don't want to be over on the left-hand side where I ended up being.
So just to be able to get that up and down in that situation where Jess had hit it really tight and looked like she was going to make birdie so I needed to get up and down to avoid a playoff and get the win.
So just, yeah, a lot of nerves, but happy I was able to get job done.
Q. You've been on this tour for a few years, but how special was it to hit double digits in wins?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, double digits is really cool. I definitely look forward to getting the 11th win here soon, but to get to double digits with the amount of talent that's out here from players all around the world, it's a really cool feeling.
You know, looking back on my career I never thought I would be here like so quickly, but I'm excited to just keep pushing forward and hopefully getting a bunch more.
Q. For you and this course in general, obviously we're back on poana greens, which can be a little difficult when we come back out here. What do you like best about Wilshire Country Club?
BROOKE HENDERSON: This course is a challenge. You can never take a break. You have to think your whole way around and you have to play smart. Even when you have a good plan you have to execute the shots.
It's definitely going to challenge all parts of everybody's game physically and mentally. I think that's what makes this week fun, is just you know it's going to be a fight from everybody.
So I'm just looking forward to hopefully going through the plan that I had last year and hopefully executing the shots when I need to and getting four solid rounds together.
Q. I know you said last week put some things in perspective for you. How would you assess the first part of your season as we head into the LA swing of back-to-back events?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, I said earlier like when you're feeling well it really puts a lot things in perspective, and I'm grateful I'm here this week and looking forward to having the opportunity to play.
I think that really when you can't play you really want to play. That's kind of cool to remember and to think back on when you are playing well and playing lots of weeks.
So far this year, 2022 has been great. It's been -- I had a lot of top finishes and feel like I've been in contention, near some of the final groups, which is the most exciting place to be.
Hopefully I'll get a win here shortly.
Q. One of the most fun parts I feel of this tournament is that tunnel connecting the front and back nines. When you saw the inside that now has your face all over it as sponsored by Skechers, what was that like to see that for the first time?
BROOKE HENDERSON: It's super cool. Skechers, so proud to be part of their family and to have them come out this week and show their support and make that tunnel all about Skechers and about me is pretty cool.
I was shocked when I first saw it. But it's just really cool that they're supporting this event and really involved. Like I said, I'm really proud and happy to be a Skechers ambassador, so it's pretty awesome.
Q. What are some of the things that you've been internally working on as you head into the LA swing. You are someone that likes to play a lot, I know, so what have you been fine tuning as we head into this week?
BROOKE HENDERSON: I feel like overall my game is in a pretty good spot. Just continuing to get the ball striking a little bit more consistent. Obviously with the driver change a few weeks ago that's been something that's -- I've kind of been continuously working on to get it to where my old driver used to be.
As anybody that knows me, short game, it's a continuous work in progress. Especially around these greens, when you miss the green you have to get up and down and they're not always easy, so being able to trust your short game I think is really important, and making those putts that just save par, and when you have a birdie putt, being able to capitalize is key.
Q. What's it like going to be able to spend back-to-back weeks here in Los Angeles? It's the first time we've ever had consecutive events in this area. What do you like most about that and what do you like most about returning to the LA area?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, you know, I love that we have two events in LA now. It's super cool. To see the Hollywood sign from pretty much every hole out here is pretty cool, too.
Having won here and so many great memories, it's a really special place for me and I really look forward to next week as well. I hear the course is great and it will be another challenge.
Hopefully we can all stay mentally strong these though two weeks and play our best.
Q. How important is it to kind of just stay mentally strong? We're getting into the swing of things with the summer swing approaching. How important is it to kind of take advantage of the off weeks and the rest that you need?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, especially when you start playing events back to back the rest becomes extremely important, especially early in the week. You can kind of burnout.
So making sure that you get the practice that you need but also the rest.
For me coming off Hawaii rest has been extremely important the last few days, but I look forward to this upcoming week and giving it my all.
I think as we get into the heat of the summer too with the extra heat, all the pressure of the majors and everything, I think the rest becomes even more important.
Q. For you as you look ahead to your upcoming schedule, are you still of that mindset of playing as many as possible?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah. I do like that. Before the pandemic I used to play a lot. Post-pandemic I didn't play as full of a schedule as I would've liked. Looking at 2022 it's an extremely full schedule with lots of events and bigger purses and it's all very exciting, so I'll hopefully play in as many as my body and mindset will let me.
THE MODERATOR: I will begin to wrap it up here. But from me, you will be paired tomorrow for the first three rounds and Jin Young Ko, who you're also friends with. Jess Korda has unfortunately withdrawn, which means Maddie Szeryk will be in your group. Two Canadians taking on the LA Open together. Just talk about what that means to have her in a group with you.
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, I didn't know Jess withdrew. I'll miss her for sure. Playing with Jin Young, great friend. And Maddie, we grew up on the National Team together, so that'll be really fun actually, pretty interesting.
I haven't played with her in a really long time. Yeah, when I saw the pairing last night or couple nights ago, I was really looking forward to that, and hopefully all of us can hit really good spots and push each other to make a bunch of birdies and hopefully be in contention come the weekend.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you for joining us, and best of luck this week.
BROOKE HENDERSON: Thank you.
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