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February 21, 2013

Russell Henley


DOUG MILNE:テつ We'd like to welcome Russell Henley, a 1‑up win over Charl Schwartzel after the first match of the Accenture Match Play Championship.テつ Thanks for joining us.テつ Just a couple opening comments on the match and how you've been holding out with the snow and everything else going on to get where you are.
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ Yeah, yesterday was pretty boring in the afternoon, just kind of walked around the hotel and called everybody on my phone.
Yeah, I knew Charl was going to be tough.テつ I was mentally prepared for that right when I saw I was paired with him.テつ I was pretty much mentally prepared for anybody I was paired against because they were going to be around the top 20.
I just tried to hang up, just give it everything I had and just hang tough and play until the end.

Q.テつ Can you talk a little bit as a very experienced match player coming out of college, can you talk about the ebb and flow of the match coming in from the 12th hole?テつ You went back to even, got 1‑up, back and forth, you had a chance to win it on 17 with a putt.テつ Can you talk about the emotions and you went through the cycling of the tournament?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ Yeah, I tried to not get too up or down.テつ That was one of the biggest things mentally, just hang tough and no matter if I was 1‑down or 1‑up, just hang tough with an even keel.テつ That's been something I've worked on this whole year.
But right out of the gates I two‑putted for par on 12 and got to 1‑up and then he flew the green on I think 13th, so that got me to 2‑up right out of the gates.テつ He hit an amazing bunker shot on No.15, the par‑4, and I was just thinking he was probably going to get on the green, but I kind of figured he would hit it close.テつ I mean, he's obviously got a great short game and wedge game like everybody else out here, but I just tried to expect him to make birdie every hole, so I stayed aggressive.
It was tough.テつ I mean, I really, really wanted to win, and when you have that‑‑ you really want to win that bad, it tends to get in your way sometimes, so I tried to stay in the present and did the best I could.

Q.テつ You're probably not aware of this, but Charl has won twice and finished in the top 5 in his last six starts.テつ A lot of people picked him to win this week, a lot of people are now calling you Mr.Bracket Buster.テつ Your thoughts on that?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ Yeah, I've heard a lot of comments from people saying they expected him to win, and that gave me a little motivation for sure.テつ But he's an outstanding player, obviously.テつ Can't really not be a great player when you win the Masters.
You can tell he's playing well.テつ I mean, his driver, he has the same miss every time, either he hits it dead straight or fades it to the right, he hits his irons really solid.テつ He didn't have the best putting day against me, hit a lot of great putts that hit the lips.テつ But I was just very happy to hang in there.テつ Obviously he's a great player, and I can say that over and over.

Q.テつ Would you rather be called Russell or Bracket Buster?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ Probably Bracket Buster.テつ There's plenty of people with the name Russell, right, or a couple?テつ Not many with the name Bracket Buster.

Q.テつ You didn't have a ton of success relatively speaking in match play during your amateur career.テつ How comfortable are you with the format and how much do you like it?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ I didn't have a ton of success?

Q.テつ Just like the U.S. Am‑‑
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ Yeah, I didn't get into many Ams.テつ I qualified for my first Am, but I played in the U.S. Open first.テつ For some reason I couldn't qualify in Atlanta, missed it four years in a row.
But my match play career I'm pretty confident with.テつ The NCAAs I was 5‑0, I never lost playing for Georgia, and that gives me a lot of confidence thinking back to that.テつ Walker Cup I was 1 and 2, but my win was against Tom Lewis, and I went out first, and we really needed the win, so I felt like that was a big win for me.
When I look back at my match play record, I definitely pull a lot of confidence from it.テつ And I feel like I did play a lot of match play.テつ I played two Palmer Cups, a Walker Cup, a couple match play tournaments and one U.S.Am really where I made it to match play, to the round of 32 losing to Patrick Cantlay in the round of 32, we had a great match.テつ I definitely pull a lot of confidence from it.テつ It may not look as good as it felt.

Q.テつ How disjointed were the last two days, stop, start, get here, look at the snow?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ I wanted to play in the snow yesterday.テつ I don't know why they called it.テつ It's just snow, right?テつ People play in snow all the time.
I mean, it's been a little weird.テつ I feel like I've been here for a while.テつ I missed the cut last week at Riviera, so I got here on Sunday and played nine.テつ Just been kind of‑‑ I feel like I spent a lot of time in my hotel room watching movies, so it's been a little bit slow this week, but just trying to hang in there.

Q.テつ When you first got here this morning, what did you see in terms of range, in terms of course, and did you think it was going to be a while?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ Yeah, I thought it was going to be‑‑ looking out my window of my hotel room, everything was covered.テつ I mean, there was like‑‑ looked like there was three inches on top of every car I saw.テつ There was a guy building a snowman this morning at like 9:00.テつ And they said they were going off at 10:30, and I'm just like‑‑ I figured it was going to be a while, but when we got out there I didn't see anything.テつ They did a great job.

Q.テつ As a Georgia guy, did you attend the 2011 Masters?テつ Did you see Schwartzel's win?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ I watched every bit of it that I could.テつ I was Soboba last year and missed the cut, so I had a lot of time on the weekend to watch.

Q.テつ No, 2011.
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ Oh, yeah, that was Bubba.テつ Yeah, I think I watched some of it.テつ It's hard for me to watch it, honestly.テつ It's been hard for me to watch it ever since I started to‑‑ I was about 18 or 19, I started realizing I should be playing in it, and every year that I wasn't in it, it was just hard for me to watch.テつ But I definitely caught the end of it.

Q.テつ But you weren't there?

Q.テつ Rookies don't do what you've done so far this year.テつ It's a gigantic year.テつ You have the skill set, but beyond that, what makes it possible for you to play like this?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ I think I've got a good team around me.テつ I've got a great family.テつ I've got great people working for me, I've got a great caddie.テつ I'm very happy with my life off the golf course.テつ What I do on the golf course doesn't really define how happy I am or sad I am day‑to‑day.
That helps a lot.テつ And just perspective for me, I'm on the PGA TOUR playing for a living.テつ I mean, it's a dream.テつ I think when you have good perspective, it makes a lot of things possible.

Q.テつ How have you treated yourself since Sony, that big paycheck?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ Treated myself?テつ I've been out to a lot of nice dinners in Charleston with my friends.テつ That's about it.

Q.テつ Aren't they supposed to buy for you?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ One time they did, but I usually sneak off and pay when they're not looking.

Q.テつ What do you know of Jason Day?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ When I think of Jason Day, the first thing that pops into my mind is two things:テつ First time I really saw him on a really high level or noticed him was when he finished second in the Masters to Schwartzel.テつ That was incredible.テつ I remember watching him play a little bit.
I think, let's see, he's close to my age, isn't he?テつ He's pretty young.テつ I mean, I've seen him play a lot.テつ I don't know that much about him, but obviously he's a great player.

Q.テつ When you won on the Web.com TOUR, you holed pretty lengthy putts to get into a playoff.テつ Does it feel different when you're down the stretch for a win or today closing him out?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ It felt pretty similar.テつ There's definitely some pressure.テつ I think a lot of the pressure I put on myself to win.テつ But it definitely felt pretty similar.テつ I was pretty nervous.テつ But the more I put myself in that situation, the better I'm getting at it, controlling my nerves and my body.テつ I'm learning the way it reacts, and I think that's really important.テつ But I love feeling that, being nervous and having the butterflies and stuff like that.テつ I think that helps.
DOUG MILNE:テつ Russell, congratulations.テつ Thanks for your time.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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