Q and A with Smiths Falls' LPGA star Brooke Henderson

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She’s only 21 years old, but golfer Brooke Henderson has already won $4,802,830 on the LPGA Tour – $1,473,247 of that in 2018 when she was named both the Postmedia and Canadian Press Female Athlete of the Year.

From smalltown Smiths Falls, Henderson has seven career wins on the ladies professional tour, including a sensational victory at last August’s CP Women’s Open in Regina. Along with the success on the golf course in 2018, though, there was personal heartbreak – both her grandfathers died.

Canada's Brooke Henderson smiles after winning the CP Women's Open in Regina on Sunday, August 26, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS Jonathan Hayward ORG XMIT: JOHV515
Canada’s Brooke Henderson smiles after winning the CP Women’s Open in Regina on Sunday, August 26, 2018. Photo by JONATHAN HAYWARD /THE CANADIAN PRESS

Ninth in the Rolex rankings, Henderson’s LPGA 2019 season-opening event is the Tournament of Champions Jan. 17-20 in Lake Buena Vista, FL. She’ll play in Morgan Pressel’s charity event Sunday and Monday, then she’ll play in Brittany Linicome’s charity event Wednesday. With a home in Naples, FL, Henderson is putting plenty of practice time in. Her sister Brittany is her caddy and her parents Dave and Darlene have also played huge roles in her success.


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With so much ahead of her, in what’s already a sensational career, Henderson took time to speak to Postmedia on Wednesday.

Q:Can you reflect on the 2018 golf season, a year that, for you, featured two wins on the LPGA Tour?

A: It was really a good year. Competition is always so tough and it seems to just be getting tougher. My game was really good at some points of the year, the end results showed that. Having my scoring average under 70 (69.99) for the first time was a big goal of mine and I’m happy to have accomplished that. My driving distance was high (268.43 yards) and my greens in regulation (74.51%) was high as well. Those are good things that prove my game is going in the right direction. Getting back into the Top 10 was really exciting. I put myself in contention quite a few times last summer. I didn’t necessarily get the job done every time, but it’s fun to be in those final groups.

Q:Winning the CP Women’s Open had to be extra special for you. What was that moment like when your final shot went in the hole and you had won?

A: To make that putt on 18, it was only three feet but I was shaking pretty bad. To have my family and friends rush onto the green and celebrate with me, it’s something I’ll remember forever. The fans started singing O Canada and cheering my name … winning that trophy and winning that event was so important and meaningful to me. I didn’t know when or if I’d ever win it, but to do it so soon in my career – it was really special.

Q:As good as 2018 was for you professionally, you also had personal heartbreak, both your grandfathers passed away. What fond memories do you have of your mom’s dad Robert Moir and your dad’s dad Clem Henderson?


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A: They were great people who played a huge role in my life. I had a lot of great times with both of them. They believed in me and they always cheered for me. I’ll never forget that.

Q:You’ve already won nearly $5 million on the LPGA Tour, can success be measured in dollars?

A: I feel like if you’re playing well and doing good things, the money sort of comes. My goals this year are to keep my world ranking inside the Top 10 and get my scoring average under 70 again. If I’m able to do that, the money will come.

PORTLAND, OR - AUGUST 30:  Brooke Henderson of Canada hits on the 5th hole during the first round of the LPGA  Cambia Portland Classic at Columbia Edgewater Country Club on August 30, 2018 in Portland, Oregon.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Brooke Henderson hits a shot on the fifth hole of her opening round of the LPGA Cambia Portland Classic. Photo by Jonathan Ferrey /Getty Images

Q:Does the financial security take some of the stress away from the daily grind?

A: There can be a lot of stress. I’m in a position now where it’s not as stressful as it was when I started out. It was really rough that first year. I didn’t have status on any tour and I was just trying to make my way as a 17-year old – that can be sort of stressful. I’m really happy everything has worked out this way. I’m looking forward to the next couple of years on tour.

Q:What’s an area of your game where you believe you can still take big strides ahead?

A: Being a golfer, I don’t think anything will ever be perfect. There’s always stuff I work on. My ball striking has always been a strength. I’ve been working a lot on my short game with my dad, who’s also my coach. We’ve been trying to improve the little things which will make me more consistent.

Q:You bought a home in Naples, tell us about the home away from home?

A: It’s nice to have somewhere to unpack things and hang out while I’m training. It’ll never be quite like home in Canada. But it’s perfect for me. I can train and practise as much as I want to and it’s in a great area as well. So it works out perfectly.


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Q:You were named the Postmedia and Canadian Press Athlete of the Year, what does it mean to you when you get recognized with awards?

A: It’s really awesome, especially being in an Olympic year with so many talented athletes. It just kind of gives me a little motivation to work a little harder.

Q: You dropped the puck at an Ottawa Senators game in December, was that as nerve-wracking as sinking a 20-foot putt?

A: Yeah, absolutely. It was incredible. It was really an honour. I didn’t really bring them good luck that day (the Senators lost 4-0 to the Washington Capitals).

Brooke Henderson adjusts her visor at the first hole during the 2017 CP Women’s Open on Aug. 24, 2017 Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS

Q:Do you follow the Senators from afar?

A: My parents try to keep us updated on how their doing. But on the road, it does get busy, I lose touch with it a bit.

Q: Your sister Brittany, who’s also your caddie, was inducted into the Coastal Carolina University Athletic Hall of Fame last year, how big a part has she played in your success?

A: She’s been huge. Having somebody I can depend on, somebody who’s always there for me, is so important. I’m really proud of her. I was there to celebrate with her. It was a really proud moment for her and also for me to watch her accept it. She’s always been by my side. I don’t think a lot of things I’ve done would happen without somebody I can trust so much. She’s always there for support.

Q:Does Brittany have to be big sister when you’re on the road or is it more of a friendship thing?

A: She still looks after me sometimes when I do dumb things. Older sisters always do that. We’re best friends and we respect each other so much. We work through things together. I’m always going to have a friend here in Britt, somebody to talk to and somebody I can share incredible experiences with. That’s what makes our journey work.


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KILDEER, IL - JULY 01:  Caddie Brittany Henderson (L) walks with her sister Brooke on the second hole during the final round of the KPMG Women's PGA Championship at Kemper Lakes Golf Club on July 1, 2018 in Kildeer, Illinois.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images for KPMG)
Caddie Brittany Henderson (L) walks with her sister Brooke on the second hole during the final round of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Kemper Lakes Golf Club on July 1, 2018 in Kildeer, Illinois. Photo by Scott Halleran /Getty Images for KPMG

Q:What do you expect from yourself in 2019?

A: I’m really excited for this year. I still have a whole lot of work to do before the season starts, but I’m really excited to get it going. The goal of getting my scoring average under 70 is a big one. I’m hoping that puts me in contention on Sundays in quite a few events. I also want to win twice in the season, I know that will be difficult to do.

Q:You played 28 tournaments last year, how tough are the rigours of the tour – mentally and physically?

A: It gets you most mentally. You have to make sure you get proper rest. I started to take Mondays off when I got into the heat of the summer when it was really busy – to rest and try to get energy back in my mind and body. That worked out well for me. It’s tough when you’re going through things on and off the course, but I came through it really well. Hopefully this year, I can take that and be a bit better.

Q:Talk about the importance to you of the three Fs – Faith, Family and Friends?

A: Faith is a huge part of my life. I feel like it’s gotten me through so many things, it’s gotten me to where I am. My family – my mom and my dad sacrificed so much so I could be where I am. It’s really cool to me that I’m able to share my journey with not only my sister every day, but also my parents who were able to travel to about half the events (last year) and are there to help me train. My dad’s my coach and my mom’s always there to support me and do whatever she can to help me improve. Friends, I’m really grateful I have amazing people back home in Canada that have stood by me through my whole journey, plus I’ve made some friends along the way.


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Q: You proudly stand behind the Canadian flag and you’re proud to say you’re from Smiths Falls, the community you’re from – how important are your roots?

A: Being announced from Canada on the first tee is so cool. Every day, I’m representing Canada – that makes me really proud, it’s a huge honour for me. I was just in Smiths Falls for two weeks (for Christmas), it was a lot of fun to be back. I always like going back home and seeing family and friends that I don’t get see much during the year. As well, it snowed so I was really happy about that.

REGINA, CANADA - AUGUST 26:  Brooke Henderson of Canada with the champions trophy and Canadian Mounties following the final round of the CP Womens Open at the Wascana Country Club on August 26, 2018 in Regina, Canada.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Brooke Henderson poses with two RCMP officers and the champion’s trophy after winning the CP Women’s Open at Regina. Photo by Vaughn Ridley /Getty Images


Age: 21

Born: Smiths Falls

Career LPGA earnings: $4,802,830

Career LPGA wins: 7

Wins in 2017: CP Women’s Open, Lotte Championship

Rolex world ranking: 9th

Average driving distance: 268.43 yards (8th on LPGA Tour last year)

Greens in regulation: 74.51% (4th)

Scoring average: 69.99 (4th)



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