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January 19, 2011

J.J. Henry


JOE CHEMYCZ: We welcome J.J. Henry in. Making his 7th start in this event. He's 8-under, 64, best career round in this tournament. Making his first start of the year and I don't know that it could start any better for you. Talk about your opening hole.
J.J. HENRY: I tell you, it was something. You know, really felt refreshed to start this year. I actually hadn't played at all since the playoffs last year. My oldest son started school and I felt like what a perfect time in my career to maybe take a couple months off.
So I really felt refreshed and ready to go. I put some good time in this winter. And I got on the first hole, I had a perfect number with a wedge and you're a little nervous, tight, haven't played a tournament in four months and it's a pretty tight pin and hit this perfect shot that never left the flag and right in the middle of the hole. So I picked it out of the hole, I gave it to my caddie, I said, let's save this ball just in case, for whether we need it somewhere down the line or whether it's, maybe it's, who knows, maybe it's a great start to, a good sign for what lies ahead this year.
I'm excited about 2011. Again, I feel refreshed, ready to go, I plan on playing a lot this West Coast Swing. And this tournament, obviously, I say it's best weather in the world this time of year to work on your game. And I came out Thursday to kind of practice, put some good time in, and I think it's just a carry over, I really feel comfortable, confident, and hit a lot of good shots out there today. It was nice to get off to the start I did.
JOE CHEMYCZ: Maybe talk about the rest of the round and what was so good.
J.J. HENRY: I just been really just been hitting the ball really well. Probably the best of my career actually. I worked hard with Mike Bennett and Andy Plummer over the last probably year to really kind of fine tune what needs to be done and really I think what I need to focus on the next couple months is really my short game and my putting. I really feel like my ball striking is really good right now.
As most of us know, at this tournament a lot of times it comes down to a putting contest, knowing the fact that you got to shoot so many under par. But the state of my game for as little as I played -- as a kid growing up in the northeast though I didn't play a whole lot of golf in the winter time anyway, but I enjoy it.
I went to TCU, so I enjoyed my Horn Frogs football team this fall. It was nice to follow them. And they pulled out a Rose Bowl victory.
So it's, you know, I'm in a great spot in my life, I'm 35 now, I feel like I'm kind of hopefully coming into my own as a player, I've had a chance to win and play in a Ryder Cup and some things, but I want to really try to focus on this next stage of my career and being 35 I feel like, hopefully, my best golf is still ahead of me.

Q. First hole, what did you hit off the tee and what was the perfect number?
J.J. HENRY: I hit a 2 hybrid. It was the second group off, I was just trying to get something out there in the fairway and get the year started off with a kind of a fairway/green, if I happened to make a putt, great, kind of get on to the next hole.
And I had about 132 yards and I hit a wedge that landed just in front of the hole and next thing you know it disappeared. A couple of people around the green, the marshals and stuff, kind of jumped up and maybe woke up a couple people in those houses behind the first green, but it was a neat way to start the round for sure.

Q. 64, the best round you ever shot here, 64 being the best round in a lot of places, but maybe not necessarily at the Hope. Any particular reason that you haven't joined in the 62 crowd here?
J.J. HENRY: For whatever reason being early in the year maybe it was a lack of kind of maybe doing a lot in the winter time, I've always really started probably the year here most years, when I did play.
To be honest with you, if I had to, the type of game I play, I wouldn't say, I mean, necessarily, my game, I mean, of course, any time it is, but I feel like my game is more accustomed to probably if you need to shoot 14 to 16-under to win a tournament. Because I hit the ball, I hit a lot of fairways and greens. For whatever reason I've never really kind of done much when you've had to shoot 30-under par or whatever it is to win a tournament.
But with that being said, I'm off to a good start this week and I probably never been this excited to start the year as I have, both mentally and physically and my ball striking and such. So hopefully that leads to good things the rest of the way.

Q. Is this the carry-over from the Rose Bowl game and can you talk about the bet you had with Jerry Kelly?
J.J. HENRY: Yeah, it was, it was something fun. We, I called him or texted him or whatever, right after we found out we were playing. And he lives in Madison, Wisconsin and I live in Fort Worth and went to TCU. And we thought, instead of kind of betting X amount of money or going out to dinner or whatever, we thought why don't we come up with something fun and I actually, I texted him like two days before the game and I said, all right, here's the deal, if TCU wins you got to wear the TCU mascot one day at Colonial, maybe Tuesday or Wednesday or hit a couple shots and embarrass him.
Now if Wisconsin wins, I had a lot more on the line, because we don't play up in Milwaukee or anywhere, I actually was going to put on Bucky the Badger in Fort Worth.
So I'm glad it worked out the way it did, but just a little fun. A little fun publicity for the two schools. And as you guys know we're all kind of kind of one big traveling fraternity out here and it's fun to kind of give each other a little grief or whatnot when our team or our school or whatever it might be is playing against the next one.
So it was a lot of fun. Actually, I was on the sidelines for the game, I'm good buddies with the coach, too. So it was fun to be down there in the action. It was a good time.
JOE CHEMYCZ: And this isn't just wearing the school collars this is the mascot.
J.J. HENRY: We're going to wear the mascot. No obviously you can't really play golf in that thing, but who knows maybe, we'll do the junior clinic or something on Tuesday and the kids will get a kick out of it and we'll take some fun pictures with Jerry and have a good time with it.
And he was great about it, as soon as the game was over he sent me a text and said, obviously, what a great, what a game, I'll, you know, I'll be happy or honored or to wear it with pride or whatever it was. It was kind of fun. I haven't seen Jerry, so I'll have to kind of give him some grief when I see him.

Q. Question that only happens at the Hope. Are you surprised 64 is leading?
J.J. HENRY: Well it's leading now, I was the second group off, so I'm sure somebody could probably, whether shoot that or beat it, who knows.
The way I look at it, it's hard to really necessarily kind of compare the -- I don't necessarily like to look much at the leaderboard until after four days, just because the golf is spread out all over so many courses and whether one course is easier or harder or one course sets up better than the next for different guys, so I won't read much into the scoreboard until probably after four days.

Q. There are you a couple guys we noticed got off to like double bogey starts on the first hole. Is the mindset around here so different that a bogey here or there is like a wake up call and you say I can't afford those things?
J.J. HENRY: No, I think sometimes you get caught up in thinking you can have to make putts or have to make birdies so a lot of times you almost try to put too much pressure on whether it was a 10 or 15 foot putt for birdie or something.
But I'll be honest with you, there's some holes out here, I know you can shoot a low score, but there's some holes out here where you feel like you're kind of steering the ball around a little bit. You can get caught up.
Yeah, there's a lot of birdie holes, a lot of the par-5s on these golf courses are reachable and such, but there's a lot, also a lot of holes with some water and some kind of, there's some intimidating shots on a lot of these different courses, so you got to take the good with the bad, pick your spots, and obviously take advantage of the holes you can reach and know the fact that you got to keep making birdies, but at the same time if you make a bogey or something happens you got to kind of bite your tongue and move on.
JOE CHEMYCZ: Strength of your game today?
J.J. HENRY: My ball striking. I didn't make a lot of crazy wacky long putts. Obviously I holed it on 1. Let's see, then I really I made about a 15-footer on 7. Maybe a 10-footer on 8. 10-footer on 9. I made a couple good 10, 12 footers, but then I almost made a hole-in-one on 17, I hit it like two inches.

Q. Where is the pin there today?
J.J. HENRY: Kind of front left. Literally basically it lipped out. I almost holed that one.
JOE CHEMYCZ: What was the yardage and club?
J.J. HENRY: Yardage was like 181 yards to the front and I hit a 7-iron that landed just in the front and kind of trickled two inches from the hole.
Before that I -- I'm trying to think now. But I didn't chip in, obviously I holed that one shot, but I hit the ball pretty close today and that's the reason why I scored so low. I don't think I missed a fairway, really, maybe one fairway today. So I hit the ball pretty good off the tee and that's what you have to do out here. If you keep the ball in play you're going to have some opportunities for birdies and that's what I was able to do today.
JOE CHEMYCZ: Thank you.
J.J. HENRY: Thanks, guys.

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