Get to Know J.J. Henry

Get to Know J.J. Henry


For months I couldn’t wait to get to the Ryder Cup, and then to finally be there and get a taste for it was better than the first time I won on Tour. It was like playing golf in the Rose Bowl. Every hole was like the 18yh green of a major.

I was nervous, anxious and excites the entire time. It really hit me during the opening ceremony when they raised the flag and played the national anthem. I got goose bumps, but I never felt like I was about to throw up.

The whole team had a picnic the first night. We just sat around drinking beer and wine and had a good time. Then all of a sudden we were singing our school fight songs in front of everyone. No one was worried about how they sounded, and we weren’t afraid to embarrass ourselves.

All 12 guys now have a special bond that we wouldn’t necessarily have formed had we not been on this team together. It’s definitely something that we’ll always be able to share.

J.J.’s best 2006 stats
Third in lowest round on Tour (61)
17th in top 10 finishes (5)
18th in consecutive cuts made (5)
21st in greens in regulation (67.7%)
25th on the money list ($2,003,075)

We went over with one goal and that was to bring back the Cup. We didn’t do that and it’s disappointing, but for the most part, I felt like I played pretty good golf. I gained a lot of confidence over there. I think I proved that I’m capable pf playing golf under pressure, and I’m proud even though we didn’t win.

On the last hole Sunday the Europeans had already won but Paul McGinley did something great. He conceded me a putt so we’d finish halved. I think that showed what the spirit of the competition was all about. I just hope that when the Europeans come to the U.S. in 2008 we can show them the same sportsmanship they showed us.

I grew up on Fairfield Beach in Connecticut. I’d be out there on the sandbars whacking balls back and forth to my dad and granddad. I’m very close with my family. Being that my dad was such a great player–I caddied for him–it was always my goal to beat him.

I have a brother who played at the University of Tulsa. He’s not going to try to make the Tour. He tried for a while and it wasn’t for him. He probably plays better now than when he turned pro because he worries about it less.

J.J. Henry Biography
Age 31
Birthplace Fairfield, Conn.
Lives Fort Worth, Texas
College 1998 Graduate of Texas Christian University, Major: marketing
Turned pro 1998
Family Wife Lee and son Connor Joseph, age 2
Career bests Winner of the 2006 Buick Championship in Hartford. Finished 0-0-3 in the 2006 Ryder Cup.

I don’t think my dad realized his golf dreams. He worked in town in insurance and real estate. It’s not that he pushed me or wanted me to do this. He gave me the opportunity and I ran with it. As for him living his golf dreams through me, it’s nothing like that. Whether I shoot 65 or 85 he’s proud of me. All he cares about is that as I go out and act like I’m supposed to act.

My grandfather was on the same high school golf team as Julius Boros at Fairfield High. You always remember where you came from. I do have a lot of people at home rooting for me. On top of that, to win my first Tour event in Hartford [at the Buick Championship in July] was storybook. It’s still surreal and unbelievable. You put so much pressure on yourself to go out and play well at your home event, but to win was just awesome.

I said to my son, “Daddy gonna go bring home a trophy” when my wife and son dropped me off at the airport going up to Hartford. He was in his car seat kicking and he says, “Daddy gonna bring home trophy?” and sure enough I did. I started telling my son that every time now. He was with us at the PGA Championship and I said, “Okay, Connor, take care of Mommy. Daddy’s gonna bring home trophy,” and he repeated it. It’s our little saying.

If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard, “Oh, Henry”? I’d have a ton. I hope I get more because that means something good’s happened. That quote’s stuck with me since I started winning. It’s something I can get used to, for sure.

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