What they said: J.J. Henry

text size
Increase Text Size
Decrease Text Size
July 13, 2012
PGA TOUR staff

MORE: John Deere Classic transcript archive THE MODERATOR: J.J. Henry, thanks for joining today after a very successful second round, 7-under 64. This is I believe your seventh start here at the John Deere Classic. You've enjoyed some success. I think you counteracted just one missed cut with a top 5 finish in 2009.

Some thoughts on being here. Obviously feeling good heading into the weekend.

J.J. HENRY: First off I always enjoy coming here, the atmosphere here, obviously John Deere being a great sponsor. Again, like you said, I've been on tour, this is my 12th or 13th year, and I guess I've been here seven times.

Just a great, fun golf course to play. Starting the week you know you're going to have to shoot some low scores. Greens are soft and receptive, so you got to have that aggressive mentality. I was able to get off to a good start. I think I was 8-under through the first 11 holes.

And not really making a lot of putts. To be honest with you, I hit a lot of great iron shots, kept the ball in play off the tee. Looking back, I think my longest birdie putt might have been about six, eight feet. Hit a lot of tap-ins.

Kind of a very easy, if you will, 64. That 9th hole, for whatever reason I'm over par on two holes this week. I bogeyed the 9th hole both days for my only bogeys.

So if I figure out this 9th hole, hopefully things will be okay this weekend.

MODERATOR: Looks like a good note for me.

J.J. HENRY: Exactly. I think it's a par-5 for the members. Maybe they should leave it like that.

But, again, it's been kind of an up and down year for me. Should have probably won the Byron Nelson four or five weeks ago. I had a one-shot lead with two to play.

But other than that, made a lot of cuts but really not a whole lot of chances to win. But I feel like I'm turning the corner. I've always played my best golf for whatever reason over the last 12 or 13 years out here over the summer months. Hopefully my best golf is still ahead of me to finish out the year.

THE MODERATOR: Questions.

Q. What happened at the Nelson a cattle prod to you to kick it farther in gear??

J.J. HENRY: Yeah, you know, sometimes you jump the leaderboard when you least expect it. You get hot for a round or nine holes, and that's kind of what happened to me today. On a golf course like this you need that 5-, 6-under par run. That's exactly what happened.

Starting the week you have kind of that 20-under par mentality, or plus really out here. You're going to need some stretch out here over four days where you make that little run. Obviously I was able to do that this morning. The greens are receptive and a lot smoother than they are in the afternoon.

But, you know, I just kind of feel like my game has been close for a long time. Obviously I guess I kind of showed that four or five weeks ago. It's been a little bit of a frustrating year just because, again, make a lot of cuts but finishing between 38th and 58th seems like a lot. So, again, long way to go by any means.

I've been out here long enough to know -- especially on a golf course like this where you can't make pars or you'll get run over. You need to stay aggressive and continue to make some birdies and see what happens and enjoy the weekend.

Q. You say you enjoy coming here.

J.J. HENRY: I do. I like to play a lot early and then take some time off in the fall. I typically don't play a lot -- or knock on wood hopefully you don't have to play a lot later in the year. I've got two young boys now so I like to be home in the fall.

I play a lot, probably even more so than I should at some times. I live in Texas and it's 100-some degrees at home. I figure I would come out here and try to play for 4, 5, 6 million bucks.

Again, that's just the nature of it. I feel like I'm in a position too where I'm probably 100 or 105 on the money in the FedExCup, so I want to have a couple goof weeks to secure my position in the playoffs and kind of try to stay hot towards the end of the year.

Q. (No microphone.)

J.J. HENRY: Yeah. I mean, I'm a big purple. I bleed purple. I live in Fort Worth and went to TCU. Obviously the last five or six years, what they've done for the football program, that's kind of my vacation, if you will, to go around and have some fun.

I'm good friends with the football coach there. I know we're in Big 10 Country, but it's been fun. Especially for TCU this year going into the Big 12. They just redid their stadium. They're open in September. Spent a gazillion dollars, so it'll be fun to watch and hang out with my boys.

My oldest son is seven and is into golf now, so it's fun to keep things in perspective a little bit and spend some time with the family. Yeah, it's been a grind, no doubt. I'm going to play quite a bit, like I said.

Well, hopefully if I play good this weekend I can take a couple more weeks off. Right now I'm planning on playing out.

Q. (No microphone.)

J.J. HENRY: Tell you what, it's been great. I finished school there in '98. I think we went 1-11 and we tore the goal post down the last game of the year when we beat SMU.

So to see the transformation over the last 12, 14 years and what Gary Patterson -- we're very good friends. I talk to him a lot even about golf. Kind of an inspirational guy.

But to see what he's done and to see the commitment from the school and the athletics, really all the athletics, it's been fun to be a part of, especially living so close to home and being a sports nut. It's fun to hang out and relax at home when you got some time off to do that for sure.

Q. (No microphone.)

J.J. HENRY: Oh, yeah. I'm been a die-hard so I've had it forever. I'm not a fair weather fan by anywhere means.

Q. (No microphone.)

J.J. HENRY: No, we'll take 'em any way we can get 'em. Absolutely.

Q. (Question regarding number of events played a year.)

J.J. HENRY: Well, some people play 23, too, so it's all relative, I guess. Yeah, I would love to be able to play 18. Trust me, if I win some tournaments and do that and play in many so bigger events, but it's just the nature of the way it is.

I mean, I've been doing this -- knock on wood -- 12, 13 years and never lost my card. Probably not many guys my age that are 37 been out here 12, 13 straight years. I've had a great career -- shouldn't say a great career -- I've had a successful career by some standards, but I feel like in a lot of ways I've still underachieved.

I probably got five or six seconds and only one win. I had a chance to play in a Ryder Cup and do some neat things. Being just 37 years old if I can stay in shape and work out, hopefully my best golf is still ahead of me.

Q. Is there something about golf and the schedule and the nature of it that makes it impossible to play a marathon schedule??

J.J. HENRY: Yes and no. I don't wear myself out early in the week either. I've been out here so I know the golf courses. I don't overdo it on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. If I'm in the Pro-Am, it's probably the only day of the week I'll even play a practice round.

Living where I live in the central part of the state, there's country in Texas, you go home for two or three days and you come in, so you feel like you're at home even weeks that you're playing. It's not like you're on the road five, six, straight weeks.

That being said, yeah, I mean, in a perfect, ideal world would I like to be able to play 18 events and be around my family and take some time off and feel a little bit refreshed? Absolutely.

But this time of year it's get after it and go get it, especially with the way now that the season is set up. In essence with the FedExCup kind of ending the huge run, you want to make sure you're in position to give yourself a chance to play in some of those events. You get hot at the right time, you ride it all the way to the TOUR Championship and you never know what might happen.

Ideally, absolutely I would love to play a little less than I do. I would say 99% of the guys out here say that. Every week you're at home and you look up and guys are passing you on the Money List or the FedExCup please, it's tough to swallow sometimes, especially with as competitive as guys are out here.

Q. (No microphone.)

J.J. HENRY: I don't know. Interesting to see. To be honest with you, I wasn't a huge fan of it. I think it was great the way it was. We do have families and things. To have to feel obligated to play as many weeks as you are. You're not, but in a lot of the ways you are. Because if you don't play at all in the fall you start in January a little bit behind the eight ball.

So whether you agree or disagree with how everything shook out, I guess you'll see some guys play a little bit in the fall more so than you have.

I kind of like the way it was set up as it was. I guess it is what it is. You got to go with it and make the best of it.

Q. Knowing you need to shoot 20-under par, does the mentality change with Stricker here and his track record??

J.J. HENRY: No, I don't think. Obviously what Steve has done here is incredible. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy either. Especially growing up in the area and having so much local support. Always been a huge fan of Steve the way he's handled himself on and off the course.

Years ago when he was kind of down and his game was struggling, to see him come all the way back and play the way he does, he's a great guy, great for golf, and obviously great for this tournament and the area.

Like you said, I think you got to get to that magic 20-under par and see what happens with a couple holes to play. That's the mindset I've got. Whether it's good enough or not, again, if you get on a run like I had today and you get hot, who knows what might happen.

Q. Do you look over your shoulder and see where Stricker is??

J.J. HENRY: I don't think so. Well, you do. He was playing a couple groups in front of me yesterday. I saw he was even par through about nine holes, and then I look up and he's 6-under.

Again, he had that little run like I was talking about and got himself right back in the tournament. I guess he played a nice solid round today and shot 4-under. So basically that run yesterday of nine holes put him right in the thick of tournament.

That's what every guy towards the top of the leaderboard is going to do if they're going to have a chance to win.

Q. (Question regarding Ryder Cup.)

J.J. HENRY: Yeah, I really thought that was kind of the cornerstone or steppingstone for me. You know, unfortunately we didn't do well as a team, but when I got a chance to play I actually played great in that Ryder Cup. I played three matches and tied all three matches, but played really good solid golf.

I felt like playing under that kind of pressure in this situation and playing with a good amount of success, I really thought it would be a cornerstone or steppingstone to take me to the next level, if you will.

For whatever reason, again, I've been out here and done well in events and always finished in the top 125. I really thought there would be more to come. For whatever reason, it wasn't to be.

Like I said, I'm just 37. Hopefully my best golf is still ahead of me with a lot experience I've had over the last dozen years.

You know, I hit a lot really good iron shots. Greens a really receptive and soft. I kept the ball in play and gave myself a chance to hit a lot of good shots.

Like I said, if I look back through my round, I had a tap-in on 11 or birdie my second hole; I drove 14; tap-in on 15; tap-in on 17; tap-in I'd say inside of four feet, and then literally a foot on 18.

So that's the first five or six holes. And I made about a 12-footer on 1 and then about a four-footer on 2. Next thing you know I'm 8-under par going to the 3rd tee. Yeah, it was more of the ball-striking. I wasn't chipping in and making putts from ail over the place. It was more really good iron shots and controlled my distance as well today.

Had that little run like I was talking about.

Q. (No microphone.)

J.J. HENRY: You know, yesterday I thought I hit a great tee shot. Just kind of creeped right in the bunker and had a crazy lie. Today maybe thinking a little bit about missing it right and kind of turned it over in the left rough and had nothing.

So it's a tough -- you know, kind of a crown fairway, so if you miss it a little bit it tends to run off. It is what it is. Other than that, you know, it's been a good two days so far.

Q. (No microphone.)

J.J. HENRY: Yeah, I just pulled the wrong club. Just pulled the wrong club, yeah.

Q. Is that worse than hitting a bad shot??

J.J. HENRY: No, I think it's better than hitting a bad shot. If I had it over again, I wouldn't hit it in any other place. It was about 20 feet left of the hole and it land landed about five or six yards too far and I basically had no shot from there.

That was definitely a tough thing to swallow, especially living in Fort Worth and what Byron Nelson meant to me and kind of having a lot local support out there. It's not like you're going to a different city and ho-hum, you kind of blew the tournament.

Then if you live there with Byron Nelson's name and legacy on that trophy, that was definitely a little bit tough to swallow. Again, I don't think I hit a bad shot, I just hit a wrong club. Cost me the tournament.

You live and learn and take the best of it and hopefully carry it forward.

Q. (No microphone.)

J.J. HENRY: You know, actually I was kind of the player consultant with D.A. I'm going to call him and say, You need to keep designing courses. Between the first two days here and the Nelson, things are looking up.

D.A. obviously won this tournament a lot. He's big in a lot runoff areas. The players in general have always loved this TPC course. It's a lot of fun to play. Again, not overly difficult, knowing you're going to have to make a lot of birdies.

It's a fun golf course to play. There is some drama, some reachable par-4s coming in, a reachable par-5, 18 is a great little finishing hole. So a lot neat risk/reward holes coming in. Sets up for typically an exciting finish like it has over the last couple years.

Q. (No microphone.)

J.J. HENRY: No, not really. Again, I think I just feel like I've been out here a lot. You know what you got to do around this place. Just a question of doing it. I've been able to do that had so far. Hopefully I can stay aggressive, like I said, and see what happens this weekend.

Print This Story