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April 25, 2008

Mark Hensby


JOHN BUSH: We'd like to welcome Mark Hensby into the interview room here at the EDS Byron Nelson Championship. 3-under par 67, Mark, a little bit of a rough start there but a great back nine, 4-under 31. Just comment on the day.
MARK HENSBY: Yeah, made a few bogeys early but wasn't too distracted by them because they were pretty mediocre bogeys, pretty easy, what you can do around here. But playing pretty good, so just kind of kept on pace and made some birdies on the front nine.
JOHN BUSH: Birdied No. 13 to get back one of those strokes. Just comment on that birdie, take us through, and then we'll get you to go through those four on your back nine, as well.
MARK HENSBY: The wind is tricky on that par-3 right now. I was fortunate the two guys in front of me hit first, so I got to have a bit of an idea what was ball was doing when it landed. So I hit a 9-iron there to about ten feet, eight feet, and made the putt, so that kind of steadied me down a little bit and got me going.

Q. How has your form been this year?
MARK HENSBY: You should know, you're the stat guy, aren't you?

Q. I've seen your scores, but how have you been playing?
MARK HENSBY: Not very good. I played all right the last few weeks. It's been getting a little better, but not much has been happening. It was kind of nice to get two rounds together and hopefully four.

Q. Did you feel like coming in this week that things were starting to come together, anything you can put your finger on?
MARK HENSBY: Yeah, I played all right last week and missed the cut. That's kind of how the game has been. This golf course is tough, and I kind of like it when it's tough and windy because then if you're playing a little -- half decent, you can get it around, and I've got a pretty good short game usually. I've called upon that a few times.
I think the course itself has really changed a lot, and when it's playing tough I feel like it's -- I get more comfortable.

Q. Pretty heavy Australian influence on the leaderboard. Do you think that's a coincidence?
MARK HENSBY: I haven't even looked. Who's leading?

Q. Adam.
MARK HENSBY: Well, he's a Top-10 player in the world, so it wouldn't matter what course he's playing. I don't know who else is up there.

Q. Matthew Goggin.
MARK HENSBY: Yeah, so Matt is a good player. He grew up in Tasmania, so he knows how to play in strong winds.
I think we've got a pretty strong contingent from Australia now. Each week we seem to at least get a couple up there at one point in time. I don't think it has anything to do with --

Q. Texas or wind or anything like that?

Q. How good does it feel to do two sub-70 rounds? I think you only had one on the TOUR all year.
MARK HENSBY: Yeah, on a par-72 (laughing). No, it's good. As I said, this golf course is tough, and you've got to hit it in the right spots or you can make a bogey pretty quick.
As I said, it's nice to actually get up there and hopefully give myself a chance on Sunday to win because that's what you practice for. A lot of times you miss cuts and it's because you're pressing a bit too hard and you're trying to get up there. You know, I think that I'd rather miss the cut trying to win a golf tournament than just trying to make the cut every week. You know, we all are not Tiger Woods or an Adam Scott, but we do our best when we get a chance.

Q. After your great year a couple years ago where I think you finished 15th on the Money List, can you put your finger on why you haven't been able to recapture that form? Is it any one thing?
MARK HENSBY: I'd say because I really didn't know what I was doing that year, to be honest. I played well, but I didn't really have -- you know, you play well, but I never really had an idea of what I was really doing with my golf swing. I was hitting it on the fairway and on the green and making putts. But I never really played steady that year. I played good. If you have a look at that year, I missed a fair few cuts, but when I got up there, I played well.
And that's kind of how my career has gone. I've never won a tournament outside of June and July at any time. I really don't know. I haven't played well, and then obviously when you lose your confidence, it's tough. It's a tough game, as it is when you do have confidence. But when you lose it, it's pretty tough.

Q. What was the lowest -- when were you at your lowest confidence-wise, and where are you now?
MARK HENSBY: Well, I would say the way I started this year wasn't too good. You know, as long as you surround yourself with some positive people who tell you to keep trying and keep working, you hope things turn around. As I said, we're not all naturally gifted. We're obviously all gifted to play golf, but I think you've just got to do as best you can each week, and when you get a chance, hopefully capitalize on it.

Q. You finished last year obviously really strong. Did that give you a lot of optimism going into this year?
MARK HENSBY: What's that?

Q. I think you finished with a runner-up and got your card because of it. Did that give you a lot of optimism going into this year?
MARK HENSBY: Yeah, actually I thought I'd play well this year. I went down to Australia after finishing second with a lot of confidence, and I missed both cuts, and then I missed my first five or six cuts out here, so I was like -- (laughing). Sometimes it's not so much of a confidence game because obviously if it was, I would have went to Australia and played well.
But I haven't played well and I haven't swung the club well and still got a lot of improving to do. Sometimes you try and improve and you get worse, and that's kind of what I've been through. I've tried to make some changes and they haven't worked and I've gone back to trying to do something else.
Finally I've been working with Mike Bender, and he kind of put me on some -- which is Zach Johnson's coach, and I flew down and saw him and he put me on a bit of a straight and narrow and he told me what he thought, and I kind of took away from it what I did.

Q. When was that?
MARK HENSBY: The week before New Orleans, which was the first cut I made in New Orleans the whole year, and then I made the cut the following week. You know, I think it's hard if you don't have a teacher, and I never really had one.

Q. What made you decide to see him as opposed to all the other coaches? Did you hear good reports about him?
MARK HENSBY: Yeah, well, I always liked the way Zach swung the club, and just -- I guess that was more the point, and I'd seen him working with Zach at times, and I kind of liked his theories on some things that I'd read. Yeah, he explained things well. Obviously I'm not doing them right completely, but it's a step forward, so it's been good.

Q. Have you had any lingering issues from the auto thing a couple years ago?
MARK HENSBY: No, I'm fully healthy now. I have a little bit of pain once in a while, but nothing to where it affects my golf I don't think.
JOHN BUSH: Take us through that last birdie on No. 9.
MARK HENSBY: Yeah, I hit a driver down there and only had 118 yards or 123 yards and I hit a little gap wedge to about -- I think it was four feet, and I made the putt.
JOHN BUSH: Play well this weekend. Thanks, Mark.
MARK HENSBY: Thank you.

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