Humana Challenge interview: Russell Henley

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January 17, 2013

MORE INTERVIEWS: Humana Challenge transcripts archive

MARK STEVENS:  Like to welcome Russell Henley to the interview room.  Right back here, you were just here yesterday, I think.  Do you want to talk about your round today and then we'll have a few questions?

RUSSELL HENLEY:  Got off to a fast start.  Hit the pin on the first hole for eagle and went to about two feet.  So it was cool to start out with a birdie.  And gave me a little confidence and I just fed on it all day.
It was a perfect day.  The weather is perfect.  Greens were true.  So it's just trying to stay patient and let the birdies come to me.  And I made some good putts.

MARK STEVENS:  Questions?

Q.  I asked you yesterday if you were, after all the celebration and the flight over and everything, if you felt like you were ready to tee it up.  Clearly you were.  Some people would have, maybe not necessarily mailed it in, but if they didn't necessarily come out and get on top of the leaderboard the very next week they wouldn't have been upset because, hey, I just won.  You're get your game hasn't changed at all from what you were doing at Sony?
RUSSELL HENLEY:  I haven't changed much.  I'm still just kind of trying to do the same things.  My swing instructor Charles came in on Tuesday and we worked on the same stuff.  Tried to keep it simple.
I've gotten some good rest the last few nights, so I felt pretty good today physically and I made some par putts when I had to and I'm feeling very confident.  I definitely wasn't going to be upset either way.  I feel like of how my score went, I think that that's the last thing I want to do is waste any energy and be emotional right now.  I think I got to conserve all my emotions and energy as much as I can.  So I can play a full, another full golf tournament.  And stutter a little bit more.
(Laughter.)
So that's what I'm focused on right now.

Q.  You had three 63s last week and another shot today, has it ever crossed your mind, another 63 today, you came that close?
RUSSELL HENLEY:  I thought about it coming down the stretch.  I was thinking about hopefully trying to get it to 10, but I was trying to push that thought out of my mind.  I would be lying if I said that wasn't going through my head a little bit.  I gave myself a lot of good chances and it could have been lower, could have been higher.  Felt great about the putter and just stayed patient and it was a really good day, I'm very happy with it.

Q.  The Nicklaus Course last year played the easiest on TOUR.  Is there something about that golf course, having played it now, that you go, well, you can see why it played that easily?
RUSSELL HENLEY:  I think that it's a little bit more wide open than La Quinta and the Palmer.
I think the greens are great.  They roll very true.  I think that it's got some reachable par-5s out there.  So if you're on the green you're giving yourself a pretty good chance at birdie.  And you got four good par-5s, if you hit a good tee shot, to go after.  And I eagled 4 or I think 4.  So I hit a hybrid in there.  So getting to all the par-5s really helps.

Q.  Can you talk a little bit about your win on the Dye's Valley at TPC Sawgrass in the Winn-Dixie Jacksonville Open compared to your win last week?
RUSSELL HENLEY:  Sure.  In my opinion that's the best course we played, one of the best courses we played throughout the year, in terms of how good a shape it's in, the challenge of the course, I thought that was a very difficult golf course.  Long rough, fast, hard greens.  So it's the kind of course I like to play.
That week I was second to last group on the last day and I think I was two shots off the lead or something like that.  I shot 5-under on the front nine.  I think I shot 30 on the front nine.  So immediately I was back in contention and just tried to hold it together.
And I was going into 18 and I thought I was 2-down and I looked at the leaderboard and when I was walking up to the green and I was 1-down.  And knew I had a putt to tie to at least have a chance.  And I made it and went to a playoff.
So it was a little more of a come from behind victory in Jacksonville and last week I felt like I had the lead pretty much the whole day.  At least I think I did.  And just had to hold everybody off.

Q.  There's another course there the Stadium Course and the PLAYERS Championship.  Can you talk a little bit about competing in that this year and maybe anything, your thoughts about the Ponte Vedra community?
RUSSELL HENLEY:  I'm excited.  Both those golf courses are great.  I played the Southeastern Junior Golf Event, Golf Tour event when I was 15 there.  You play each one of them one time.  And I love both of the courses.  Obviously there's a reason there's a lot of guys down there, the practice facility is great and just the area is really nice.
There's a lot to do, close to Jacksonville Beach and Jacksonville.  And when I was down there last time I had a lot of fun.  Obviously my family was there and that helped a lot, but there's a lot of cool stuff to do.  There was an air show and it was a blast down there.  So I'm definitely looking forward to going back.

MARK STEVENS:  Well, thanks a lot, Russell, and good luck tomorrow.

RUSSELL HENLEY:  Thanks a lot.

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