At a time when the golf world feels like it’s full of strife, divisiveness and a polarization like never seen before – in golf – it seemed like a good idea to find a good story. A sort of quasi-timeline cleanse if you will that isn’t a video of kittens or Labrador Retriever puppies playing. The longer that I sat and thought, the topic was right in front of the entire. Brooke Mackenzie Henderson.
The native of Smith’s Falls, Ontario had just won the LPGA Shoprite Classic notching her 11th career victory on the LPGA Tour. The victory further cementing her legacy as Canada’s most winningest golfer regardless of gender or professional tour played. A record that she tied back in April of 2019. Tying the likes of Sandra Post and 2003 Masters Champion Mike Weir. A couple of short months later in June of 2019, Brooke found herself atop the Canadian golf mountain when she claimed her ninth victory at the LPGA’s Meijer Classic.
Brooke’s rise began in 2012 when as a part of and under the watchful eye of Golf Canada’s developmental program (“Team Canada”) she started gaining notoriety. In 2013, Brooke started her ascent after capturing the Canadian Women’s Amateur. In 2014, Brooke would finish as the runner-up in the U.S. Women’s Amateur bowing out to Kristen Gillman from the United States who would claim medallist honours. Brooke would go on to claim several amateur tournaments, while also winning 3 times on the now defunct CN Canadian Women’s Tour and finishing in the Top-10 of the U.S. Women’s Open that year. Getting lost in all of these mounting accolades, Brooke became the top-ranked women’s amateur golfer in the world.
Unlike her (elder by seven years) sibling Brittany who was also a top-ranked junior and college golfer, Brooke made the decision to forego college and join the professional golf ranks. In 2015 as a 17 year-old, Brooke ground her way through Monday Qualifiers. She would earn her Symetra Tour card (now Epson Tour) with a win at the Four Winds Invitational in Indiana. Then after Monday Qualifying for the Cambia Portland Classic, Brooke would go on to dust the field by 12-strokes for the win and she gained her LPGA Tour card immediately, never looking back. In 2016, Henderson captured her first Major Championship defeating the top-ranked Lydia Ko in a playoff at the KPMG Women’s Championship.
It’s amazing. Brooke is one of those golfers on the LPGA Tour that just quietly goes about her business with a stealthy grace. Never getting up either too high or too low there’s a certain calmness to her game. An eloquence if you will. Much of that no doubt, thanks in large part to her sister (and caddie) the previously aforementioned Brittany. During any LPGA Tour event you could be casually watching and there’s no sign of her anywhere on the leaderboard. Then all of the sudden it’s late in the afternoon on Saturday and like a mirage, she appears.
At this moment in time, I feel that I’m watching Canadian golf greatness. There’s no doubt in my mind that she’s going to be the best Canadian golfer of all-time during my living years or beyond. With every victory that Brooke claims on the LPGA Tour, it seems like it’s another obstacle to climb over for any other Canadian golfers currently or in the future. An insurmountable mountain.
But the affable Henderson is so much more than a terrific golfer and the best of this generation regardless of gender specification. Brooke is a philanthropist donating to causes like the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Perth and Smiths Falls Hospitals, the SuperWalk Parkinson’s campaign, and the Wildlife Fund of Canada. When looking at ambassador’s of the game, Brooke is exactly the type of person that you’d seek. Well-spoken, outgoing and never too shy to turn down a fan for a selfie or autograph
In my eyes, she IS a global golf ambassador. This, in a nutshell, is the magnificence of Brooke Henderson and she is the kind of story that golf needs.
Until The Next Tee!!