When you’re already regarded as the greatest golfer in Canadian history, it’s difficult to believe that your best is yet to come.
But Brooke Henderson is so good and so young, the notion doesn’t feel at all like an exaggeration – especially after watching her victorious performance in Orlando on the weekend.
Henderson is now number 1 in the LPGA Tour standings after winning the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions on Sunday (Jan 22). In a field crammed with the game’s absolute best – not to mention dozens of famous celebrities – the spotlight shone brightest on Henderson, who led the event wire-to-wire, winning by four strokes over Maja Stark and Charley Hull.
Not a bad way to start your 2023 LPGA season.
But going into the tournament, even her biggest fans had to be wondering about the state of her game. Henderson rehabbed a sore back in the off-season, had her wisdom teeth removed and also changed over to brand new clubs from Taylor Made.
“ Yes, in the off season there were a lot of things going on, a lot of things happening,” Henderson said. “So, to come out really strong, it really means a lot to me. And, you know, I think my team has really worked hard in the off season too. So, it’s just really nice to see all the hard work pay off.”
Henderson’s back pain and inability to take full swings came with a silver lining. It allowed her more time to focus on her short game and adjust to a new putter, which she looked super comfortable with all week.
“I really love the feel of it,” said Henderson. “And my coach, my dad, my sister, they all said the same thing, ‘You know, this putter feels really good.’ And over the off season, I was making a lot of putts, so it was a lot of confidence, which is a really nice feeling for me. And hopefully, we just keep the momentum going.”
Now her fans are still wondering about the state of her game, but in a different way – as in, could Henderson be in for her best season ever?
“You know, every year I try to win at least twice on the tour,” said Henderson. “This is a really good start to get one so early. It takes a little pressure off. And I’m just really excited for the rest of the year… Hopefully, more victories are to come but it’s just small steps right now and hopefully it pays off in the long run.”
With the victory, Henderson cashed a cheque for $225,000, pushing her total career earnings to almost $11 million. The two-time major winner now has 13 professional victories, five more than any tour player in Canadian golf history. She’s already more than halfway to the total points needed for automatic entry into the LPGA Hall of Fame.
And at 25, remarkably, it feels like she’s just getting started.
By Steve Warne