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September 22, 2006

J.J. Henry


SCOTT CROCKETT: J.J., thank you very much for coming down and joining us. Many congratulations on a fine Ryder Cup debut. You just said that you enjoyed it. We spoke to Robert who talked us through his debut. Tell us how it was for you in your first Ryder Cup experience.

J.J. HENRY: Well, I couldn't really wait for today to come to be honest with you. Obviously really since I made the team, this was I felt like I've been practising great, playing great, and to get an opportunity to play right out of the box Friday morning, I was anxious and ready to go, again, really on form. I hit a great shot on the first hole and was off to the races from there. Stewart and I were good friends and I think our games really complement each other well.

Just a great, great match. I think both Stewart and I shot 8 under par, shot 6 under on the back nine. Just one of those days, too, match play, here you think you're going to win a hole and you lose it, like what happened to us on the 7th hole, as well as 16. I hit two great shots just over the hole and thinking an easy little chip and we're going to win the hole and be dormie, 2 up, and Paul makes a great, great putt.

Just a great, great day again. I'm really proud of the way I played, Stewart and I, especially digging a hole for ourselves 3 down at the turn. To turn it around on the back was great, and hopefully give us some momentum for tomorrow and Sunday.

Q. On 18, you're standing in the middle of the fairway. What happened on that approach shot, and how fired up were you with that great up and down out of the sand?

J.J. HENRY: Well, as I said, I'd hate for anybody to have to really lose that match with as good as both sides played. Yeah, each of us maybe hit a loose shot here or there, but for both teams to really put on a show like we did, I'd hate to see a team lose.

I had kind of a pretty good number with a hybrid club, the 2 iron shot, and the wind was off the right and just kind of blocked it out right to be honest with you. Stewart missed to the left and I thought his shot was in the bunker and probably left, and I knew both Robert and Paul were in great shape thinking for sure they would make 4 and I knew I could make a birdie myself.

With the things that happened, I should have birdied 16, and I didn't, and at least to make a great putt on the last hole for a halve makes me feel really good right now.

Q. As good as you played, what are you doing in here, and are you surprised by that?

J.J. HENRY: Well, yes and no (laughter). My confidence, I always felt like I hit the ball really well, but my confidence, whether it's being part of a team like this or getting a chance to hang around guys that obviously I respect and admire what they have done on and off the golf course; to spend time with Tiger and Furyk and Phil will only help somebody like myself.

I was determined to go out this morning and play well and prove to everybody that I belonged on this team and to go out and play good today.

Q. I don't mean what are you doing on this team. Why are you not out playing golf right now?

J.J. HENRY: That's a good question. To be honest with you, though, I think I used up I don't know. I just felt like whether I play one match or five matches, I'm going to go out and give it all I've got. You know, I mean, Stewart and I did play well, maybe I'll be well rested and hopefully go out tomorrow and do some good stuff and maybe get a chance to play both tomorrow.

I figured I probably wasn't going to play all five, being a rookie, but again, I'm just happy to be here. When the gun goes off or when my name is called, I'm really looking forward to helping any way I can.

Q. Tell us a little bit about the bunker shot on 18, how tough it was.

J.J. HENRY: It was really a shot to be honest with you. It was nice to see my partner with eight or ten feet. I knew he had a tough putt, though.

I was just determined. I said, I've hit too many good shots here and we've fought back too hard here to give this away on the last hole, and I was determined to hit a good shot. It was a very difficult shot. Luckily I had some kind of fringe and a little thing to work with, but the ball came out perfect and rolled just past the hole. Had about a 10 footer I guess, a couple balls left, and knocked it right in the middle and it was a good feeling.

Q. When did you know you weren't playing the foursomes?

J.J. HENRY: Really it was kind of crazy and chaotic. Obviously you're pretty emotional and you're kind of into the moment, and then really just walking off back in the locker room, it was so and so is playing, blah, blah, blah, and by that time I was much watching the last match on TV and washing up.

Q. Was there a part of you that thought walking off 18 that you were out this afternoon?

J.J. HENRY: Again, it's not my decision. Like I said, when the gun goes off, hopefully I'll be ready to play. Would I have liked to play? Of course everybody wants to play, absolutely. But at the same time, Captain Lehman has done a tremendous job. We've had a great time, he's a great captain. He really helped me through it out there. To be honest with you, I was excited and felt like I was playing really well coming in, I wasn't as nervous as everybody talks about.

Yeah, of course I was nervous, but I hit a great tee shot on 1, should have made birdie, I birdied the second hole and from there I was off to the races. I felt pretty comfortable all day.

Q. With regard to playing, and you just talked about how much you were itching to get out there and play, how difficult do you think it is for the two guys on the team who are not playing at all today and how do you think they are handling that?

J.J. HENRY: Well, Scott Verplank is one of the players, and obviously he's played many international teams, so I don't think he'll be nervous at all. Or I shouldn't say nervous, but he'll handle it fine. And actually, I played with Scott yesterday and thought he played pretty well. I'm sure when he gets an opportunity that he'll play great.

You know, it might be good for a rookie, obviously there's only eight guys playing each wave, so to speak. Maybe for, I believe is it Vaughn Taylor has not played yet, maybe it will be good for Vaughn to get out in the mix this morning and this afternoon and get a feeling for what it's all about.

Vaughn actually talked to me a little bit about what it was like out there and I'm looking forward to maybe sharing my thoughts or any way I can possibly help him when he hopefully gets a chance to play, whether it's tomorrow or whether it's Sunday, we'll see.

Q. What are your thoughts going to the 10th tee this morning?

J.J. HENRY: Well, you know, I mean, Stewart, he was great out there. I mean, some crazy stuff happened to us out there that first nine. You know, really, on the 7th hole I guess it was, fortunately Paul hits it in the water and Robert Karlsson hits a shot that flies way over the green and hits on top of the camera tower and ends up staying up there somehow and he hits a chip. Long story short, here we think we're going to win the hole and we lose it, so now we're 2 down.

Then on 9, they both hooked their drive left. Robert got a nice bounce off a tree back into the fairway and hit it to a foot. You know, here Stewart and I are in the middle of the fairway, on the green, just kind of couldn't get a putt to go. So when we were walking off the 9th hole, we said, look, no disrespect to those guys, they were playing great and granted they got a couple nice breaks, Paul made an eagle on the 4th hole. We just said, look, let's dig down here, we're playing good golf, and sure enough, we shot 6 under on the back nine to get a halve. It's a great feeling.

I'm up here today proud of the way I played and I look forward to when I get an opportunity to go out and do more good things.

Q. How would you describe the difference in the feel as you stepped to that first tee, or as you just got through the first few holes, as opposed to the biggest other tournaments and things you've ever been involved in?

J.J. HENRY: It's exciting stuff. There's no question, to be honest with you, I can't wait to go play again, I really can't, it's that cool, especially when you feel like you're playing well.

Now when you're not playing well, you could maybe really get affected or feel nervous or intimidated; I don't really know what the right word is. But when you feel like you're playing well, man, there's nothing like it. It's an awesome feeling, it really is. It's cool stuff.

Q. You're not all that well known over here, but what did you think of the reaction from the crowd today?

J.J. HENRY: They were awesome. I mean, every hole, every green we went up to, they were clapping for both sides. It was a great experience, it really was. Yes, they were rooting for their home team so to speak, but for everybody it was a great experience, it really was awesome, it really was.

Q. You talk about not being as nervous the start of the day as everyone told you it would be. How much weight were you feeling on 18 looking at that putt, especially given what had happened on 16?

J.J. HENRY: Well, I just, you know, I just said to myself, look, not to repeat what I said, but I said I've played too good, or we've played too good, Stewart and I, to just kind of give this away on the last hole. I just dug deep down, I just said, just put a good stroke on it, and it went right in the middle of the hole.

Yeah, was I nervous? Absolutely, knowing that the half point would be big, and it is big. So who knows, it could be the difference in the Ryder Cup.

Again, I dug deep down and said, I might miss a putt like this, but it's not going to happen today, and sure enough, I knocked it right in the middle of the hole.

Q. Is it a strange feeling that obviously the crowds are mostly pro Europe but at the same time they have given you a great reception and cheers almost as loud as for the home team?

J.J. HENRY: My last time is Henry, I have a little Irish heritage myself, so maybe they are a little nicer to me. Again, it was just I haven't played a whole lot of golf over here, but every time I have, I've enjoyed it. They are very respectful, they are knowledgeable. It's just a lot of fun to come here and play golf, and if you're playing well, like I feel like I am, it's a pretty neat experience.

Q. We keep asking you the same question from different directions, but after the way you played this morning you had to be chomping at the bit to get back out there. Was it deflating finding out you were not playing this afternoon?

J.J. HENRY: No, again, like I said, of course, you're a competitor. You never want to be on the bench, so to speak. But sometimes it could be a blessing in disguise, to go out, hypothetically go out this afternoon, and don't play well for some reason or we lose the of the match. Now I feel that I'm rested and I'm playing great and I can go out and root the guys on this afternoon and hopefully come back tomorrow morning and do some good stuff.

To be honest with you, being a rookie, I wouldn't have thought that maybe I would play all five matches anyway, so who knows. Again, I'm not the captain, but I know Tom is doing a great, great job, and you know, I'll just go out tomorrow with a good attitude and hopefully continue to play well.

Q. One of your teammates mentioned that nobody should be surprised that you're here; that you're really better than maybe your record has been up to this point, and that the win in Hartford was a big lift. Can this experience take you to this level?

J.J. HENRY: Absolutely, that's a great question. I felt coming here, I had a lot to prove, I really did. As most of you guys know, a lot has been talked about, the points system and having four rookies on the team. Not that I really came I guess maybe a little chip on my shoulder, and the fact that I wanted to go out and proved like I belonged out here. Was I nervous, was I anxious, absolutely.

I felt like today was a big day for me to go out on the first day when I got an opportunity to play and show what I was made of, and hopefully I did a little bit of that this morning.

Q. Was there a comment that Captain Lehman shared with you during the match that spurred you on or got you going?

J.J. HENRY: Yeah, he was great. He knew it was an important match or we had to halve this match or try to get a tie somehow. The whole back nine he was out there rooting us on. He's just a very inspirational I've always looked up to Tom, even as a player even before I got out here, just for he's just a great golfer, he really is, on and off the golf course. I admire him for what he's done so far. We've had a great time this weeks, we've had a close group, a lot of fun and a lot of camaraderie, with the wives, it's been a great experience.

I've always loved playing team sports. I was very athletic growing up and played a lot of stuff. 51 weeks a year it's you against the world, so to speak, and so this week, you have 11 other guys, so it's pretty good stuff.

SCOTT CROCKETT: J.J. congratulations and good luck this week.

End of FastScripts.

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