Canadian athletes have given followers and fans plenty of reasons to celebrate over the last couple of years, but while there’s been a litany of success from people like Jamal Murray (leading the Denver Nuggets in the NBA playoffs) or Bianca Andreescu (the winner of the tennis U.S. Open in 2019), they’re all still chasing the success of Brooke Henderson.
Brooke Henderson, LPGA Tour Professional
Henderson, who turned 23 earlier in September, is the winningest Canadian of all time on the men’s or women’s major tours. Her ninth victory came last summer in Michigan and in the process she topped Sandra Post, George Knudson, and Mike Weir who all had eight victories in their careers.
She’s also got a major championship to her name – the 2016 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship – along with being long ranked in the top-10 in the world.
While this season has been different for everyone – Henderson said earlier in the year that the six-month break she had between starts was her longest between tournaments since she was in Grade 7 – the native of Smiths Falls, Ont. nearly made a triumphant return.
After missing the cut at the Women’s Open in Scotland, her first tournament on the LPGA Tour schedule since she finished T15 in January, she returned to the U.S. and finished T49 in Arkansas. Everything was clicking the following week at the ANA Inspiration – the next major on the schedule – and she made it into a playoff.
Although she eventually fell short of Mirim Lee, it was still her best-career result at the major championship.
“I definitely played really well this week, which is definitely a really nice feeling and definitely gives me confidence moving forward,” said Henderson.
Henderson’s result at the ANA Inspiration, a T2, was her best on the LPGA Tour since her ninth win on Tour last summer.
In the four years since her last major championship victory a litany of young Canadians have continued to climb into the conversation as inspiring. But Henderson is the only one that has a nickname for her young fans (they’re called the Brooke Brigade) and young girls by the hundreds are usually decked out in Henderson’s signature visor at courses across the country.
While Mike Weir has been instrumental in the inspiration of the current generation of Canadian PGA Tour stars that include winners Corey Conners, Nick Taylor, Mackenzie Hughes, and Adam Hadwin – all of whom say after Tiger Woods, Weir is “1-A” in terms of who inspired them to want to start playing golf – it’s Henderson that is inspiring a generation-not-known-yet.
Canadian golf fans should be eager to bare witness to who is coming up in junior golf right now in the country and maybe is 10 or 11 years old and heavily inspired by Henderson and her success.
We are on the cusp of a generational pivot for golf in this country with young women all trying to follow in Henderson’s footsteps. While she hasn’t yet won a Lou Marsh Award – given annually to Canada’s athlete of the year – it’s clear that Henderson isn’t just one of the most inspiring golfers in the country, but one of the biggest athletes this country has in its midst.
Written and intended to the GlobalGolf.ca audience by Adam Stanley