Brooke Henderson doesn’t turn 18 for a couple more weeks, but she’s already earned the first LPGA Tour win of her career, capturing last week’s Cambia Portland Classic by a whopping eight strokes after having to qualify for the event on Monday.
Think about that for a second: qualified on Monday, smashed the field by Sunday evening when the tournament wrapped. Maybe a few more tournaments should be lining up to give the surging Canadian talent a couple more exemptions. The timing of Henderson’s win couldn’t be better for the organizers of the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open, this week’s LPGA Tour stop in Vancouver, where Henderson is sure to be front-and-center and the talk of the week. If you’re a golf fan, get used to it because this young lady has a very bright future.
She finished T-10 at last year’s U.S. Women’s Open and won an event on the Symetra Tour, the LPGA Tour equivalent of the minors, earlier this year. Only then did the LPGA give her her card to play on that particular tour, even though she finished T-5 at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship the week before. A couple weeks later, she finished T-5 at this year’s U.S. Women’s Open.
Henderson has rocketed to No. 17 in the world rankings, pushed her earnings this year to $660,000 and secured her tour card for next season, but despite all that, she will still have to qualify for events on Mondays having used up all six of her sponsor’s exemptions for the season. Chalk that one up as another of those ridiculous rules that exist in sports. If you’re good enough to win and be in the Top 20, you should probably be allowed to play every week if you so choose.
Of course, the LPGA denied her petition for early entrance into Q School because she was under 18, even though they’d made exceptions for others that didn’t meet the minimum age requirement in the past, including Lydia Ko and Lexi Thompson. Bet they’d like to reconsider that now.
Regardless of how things go this week in Vancouver, Henderson is someone Canadian sports fans should get familiar with and quickly because she’s only going to keep getting better and become an even more prominent name on the Canadian sporting landscape going forward.
Henderson probably should have already been on everyone’s radar given her success so far this season and standing as one of the rising stars on the LPGA Tour, but that hasn’t been the case. Far more attention has been given to the struggles of Genie Bouchard and Milos Raonic and, more recently, Vasek Pospisil, while the 17-year-old Henderson has gone out and put up quality numbers through 10 tournaments this year in relative anonymity.
She’s the first Canadian to win on the LPGA Tour in more than a decade and the first Monday qualifier to get a victory since 2000 and yet it feels like her triumph has been under-reported. Where’s the love TSN? How about a story on the main page Sportsnet?
Luckily for those outlets, they’re going to have plenty of time to make up for the miscue here as Henderson looks like she could be a perennial contender and Top 10 player on the LPGA Tour for quite some time, starting now.
Canada doesn’t have a ton of standout performers in individual sports right now, so hopefully Henderson starts getting a little more attention because the talented golfer looks capable of being “The Next Big Thing” on the links and in general in this country.