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June 21, 2022

Brooke Henderson

Bethesda, Maryland, USA

Congressional Country Club (Blue Course)

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Here with Brooke Henderson. Bright, lovely shirt on this so far kind of gray kind of morning. This is always a special week for you. You're a past champion here. Always played well. What's it like pulling into this event knowing you've got your name on that trophy and this is always a great week for us?

BROOKE HENDERSON: Yes, I'm always very excited to come back to this event. You know, pulling into the past champion parking space that they have for me, so it's just really cool. In the locker room, past champion is on my locker, too. Just a lot of little perks and great reminders of what a special week it was back in 2016.

Every time I come back to this event, I'm just trying to recreate what I did then and hopefully get off to a fast start on Thursday.

THE MODERATOR: When you think back on 2016, you're still young, but you were even younger then. How mind-blowing was that to think of what you accomplished and certainly what you have accomplished since then, but really kicking off your career in such, to use a pun, a major way?

BROOKE HENDERSON: Yes, it changed my whole life. It changed my career, changed my life. It was just an incredible week.

To have my first major championship win in the fashion that I had it, beating World No. 1 at the time, Lydia, who is a great friend, in a playoff and being able to hoist that trophy with my sister, Brit -- that was her first win on the bag and such a great win to have.

It was just that Sunday afternoon everything just went perfectly, and maybe it was meant to be. I would love to get my hands on that trophy again.

THE MODERATOR: You certainly come in here playing well. Got your win a couple of weeks ago at ShopRite. How are you feeling now coming into the week ready for this major?

BROOKE HENDERSON: I think it's great to have some momentum going into a major championship and having the win just two weeks ago and then being back in contention last week at Meijer was a lot of fun for me.

I ran out of gas a little bit on the back nine on Sunday, but I feel like I've rested yesterday and rested this morning, so I feel like I'm getting back to where I need to be to be at my best this weekend.

THE MODERATOR: Have you seen the course? Have you played it yet?

BROOKE HENDERSON: I have not. Brit has been out scouting for me and trying to take tidbits here and there. I'm definitely looking forward to the opportunity this afternoon in the pro-am.

Q. Brooke, you won in Seattle where the fairways were so narrow it was like looking down a rifle barrel. Now you have won at Seaview and Wilshire where it was the wide open spaces. Is there a particular style of golf course that best suits your game?

BROOKE HENDERSON: I think I'm definitely more comfortable in tree-lined courses where you can see the definition of the fairway a little bit more. I think that is something that my game has really matured over the last few years where when it is a little bit more wide open or it's a little different style of golf course where you don't hit driver all the time, I'm still able to compete and win.

I think that's just maybe a little bit maturity out here and also working with Brit, where she's really talented, and my dad, too, of telling me where I should be on certain holes and really the strategic part I feel like I'm getting better at.

Q. Talking to a number of players, that's going to be critical this week because there are going to be a lot of blind approaches and places you have to pick a line and number. How does your relationship with Brit help in that regard?

BROOKE HENDERSON: Yes. Brit walked it yesterday and did a lot of work out there, and just talking to her a little bit last night and this morning about it, same thing. Having to be strategic and hit in the right places off the tee and on the green.

I just talked to the superintendent here, too, and he was saying that it's definitely -- you have to think your way around. So I think it will be really important to have a strong connection with your caddie and in my case, my coach, my dad, who he helps out with the strategic part a lot and just making sure we have a solid plan. And then, hopefully, when it's time to hit those shots, I can do it.

Q. Brooke, you say you haven't played the golf course yet. When you go to a place with such great history, once you get out there, do you kind of feel that history?

BROOKE HENDERSON: Absolutely. Walking out here, you just -- it's so grand, and everything is immaculate, and this feels like a major championship golf course.

Having the men have played here and having so many great champions be crowned here, it's really cool for us, the women, to be out here this week. I definitely am super excited for the opportunity to play here.

Q. You said on Sunday maybe you ran out of gas a little bit after a long week the previous week. What was it like, though, being in that mix with that leaderboard and everybody firing like that?

BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, it was super fun. That leaderboard was pretty phenomenal, so I was happy that I could be a part of it. I guess I was only one shot back going into the back nine on Sunday, but like I said, just kind of ran out of gas a little bit. Great champion in Jen.

Yeah, it was just a lot of fun to be in those final groups. I love that feeling and look forward to getting back there.

Q. In connection to the fact that especially the last PGA Championship having been playing in historical big championship golf courses, does it give you an opportunity to kind of look at previous tournaments and what the guys did and how to play it and gives you kind of more references than other golf courses?

BROOKE HENDERSON: Yes, for sure. It is cool when major championships have been played at the golf course you are playing before, and you can kind of watch the old telecasts and see how they got it done.

I think KPMG and the PGA have just done a phenomenal job of getting us on these amazing golf courses and really raising the bar for women's golf. Very grateful for that. I've said it a bunch, but I'm just super excited to be playing here on this amazing golf course.

Q. Kind of related to that and I know your close relationship -- we always talk about your relationship with the Canadian players and the Canadian team. Do you get notes from them sometimes if they played the golf course that you played -- that they played before? Do you talk to them? Do they send you their yardage books? What do you get from them?

BROOKE HENDERSON: I feel like more in the past it was definitely the case. Every once in a while that definitely happens again. It's nice to be connected to the Canadian National Team. Growing up that was a huge part of my career, and we really fed off each other. It is really nice when you can reconnect and get those special notes you're talking about.

This week, not the case, but definitely in the future I'm sure that will happen again.

Q. Do you remember where you were in 2011 when Rory won here, if you were watching on TV and what not back, what, 11 years ago? Hard to believe.

BROOKE HENDERSON: That was a long time ago. I don't remember exactly, but I'm a huge fan of Rory, so having him win here is definitely a cool thing for me.

In the clubhouse there's pictures and his score card, so it's been a lot of fun to walk by that and kind of remember his victory. I think it was about eight shots or something like that, so it was a big victory, and hopefully I can do something similar.

Q. You are such a consistent driver of the ball. I'm just curious, what would be your advice to weekend golf that are trying to be more consistent with driving?

BROOKE HENDERSON: Oh, good question. I guess practice. (Laughing). That's not really what you want to hear, but probably just get out there and hit some balls on the range.

Q. Ever since 2016, obviously, when you did win, your face has been up at every KPMG Women's PGA Championship. It doesn't what the golf course is. You seem to play well at this particular major. Why do you think that is?

BROOKE HENDERSON: This tournament has always been very great to me. They gave me a sponsor exemption back in 2015, and I went on to finish fifth I think and in the final groups. And then the following year I won, and then I've had a bunch of top tens since then.

I think just the excitement of being back and playing in this amazing championship on incredible golf courses and having, as I mentioned before, the bar raised for women's golf by this championship is really cool for me, and I think I've just fed off a lot of great memories and hopefully I can do the same this week.

Q. Speaking of this week, I know you touched on it briefly about the putting going to left-hand low. I'm just curious, is that just a confidence thing, you're seeing something different? I'm just wondering if you could expand a little bit on the decision to go left-hand low, and where is your confidence at with the putting because, obviously, it's been working out pretty well the last couple of weeks.

BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, I think it's a little bit of mix of all the above. Definitely more confident left-hand low, and it's definitely a lot different than what I was doing before.

I think it was a necessary change that my dad, my coach, Brit, caddie, we all decided on that would be the best fit for me right now, and, as you said, it's been working out really well. Getting the win a couple of weeks ago is huge confidence and huge momentum with the putter.

I think a lot of it was just mental, to be honest, but changing something small physically can really give you a lot of confidence in different ways sometimes, and sometimes that's all you need to get it rolling again.

Hopefully get on the greens here later this afternoon and tomorrow and get the speeds and hopefully make a ton of putts come the weekend.

Q. A little bit along those lines, in this great run of golf the last few weeks, what's felt strongest in your game?

BROOKE HENDERSON: I think everything is just kind of coming together. Like I said, it's really nice to have a bit of momentum coming into a major championship where you feel confident with all aspects. Taking a quick look around this place and hearing what Brit had to say about it, you're definitely going to have to have all parts of your game working.

I think the champion is going to be somebody that, yeah, is just excelling in all areas and creative when they need to be and has perseverance and patience when they need to.

I think it's just going to crown a great champion and hopefully I can continue to ball-strike as well as I have the last few weeks and make those putts when I need to.

THE MODERATOR: Thanks so much. Have a great week. Enjoy the course.


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