Fairfield’s J.J. Henry looking for a spark at Travelers Championship
CROMWELL — For the last two decades, he has been the primary standard-bearer for our state. He calls it “carrying the flag” and for J.J. Henry, it’s not just a statement, it’s a responsibility.
He grew up in Fairfield, first learning the game by hitting golf balls in his parents’ backyard before playing as an amateur in his very first professional event — the 1998 Canon Greater Hartford Open — with his father, Ron, working the bag.
Twenty years later, Henry is a three-time PGA Tour winner, was a member of the 2006 Ryder Cup team, and not too long ago, became just the 13th active Tour member to play in 500 PGA Tournaments.
“That’s crazy … hard to believe,” said Henry, whose 2018 Travelers at TPC River Highlands marked his 517th career start. “First, you have to stay healthy and you have to play pretty darn consistent golf for 18 years. Could I have done this or done that? Maybe, but I’ve been able to stay exempt out here for 18 straight years and that’s a humbling feat in itself, especially when I’m not getting any younger.”
Coming into his 20th Travelers, Henry was looking for a kick-start to a season that has had its shares of ups and downs. There was a T23 at the Farmers Insurance Open in January, followed by four missed cuts over his next six
He is currently on the cusp of the FedEx Cup playoffs, standing 141st on the list. The top 125 make the four-tournament FedEx field, starting at the Northern Trust on Aug. 23.
“I’m excited. I’m going to play a lot in the next couple of months and see if we can keep going,” Henry said. “The bottom line is, I still hit the ball and can play good enough every week, but they don’t reward you for getting it close; you have to put the ball in the hole. That’s been a little frustrating.”