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Brooke Henderson starts off 2023 LPGA season impressively

Brooke Henderson starts off 2023 LPGA season impressively.

When I first began this blog more than six years ago, I wrote a story about Brooke Henderson (TaylorMade TP5x) because of our commonality being from Canada.

She was just starting to make a name for herself on the LPGA Tour and I jumped on her bandwagon. Canadians are supposed to be humble people. We don’t brag about our stars, but I’m doing so in regard to Henderson.

She began the 2023 season seventh in the rankings. With her impressive wire-to-wire victory last week in the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions in Florida, she moved up to sixth.

Could she become number one in the world?

There’s no reason not to think that is possible.

NBC Sports provided coverage of the tournament, while the PGA Tour’s American Express tournament was relegated to the Golf Channel because of the NFL games. In a season in which the LPGA will offer a record $101.4 million purses, Henderson put herself in a great position going forward in terms of elevating her profile with a win in the first tournament of the year.

She battled back problems late last season and struggled to finish the season. She said going into the season-opener she felt 100 percent.

She was using new clubs since switching to TaylorMade after last season.

The golf manufacturer couldn’t have asked for a more positive endorsement.

Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam played two rounds with Henderson as part of the celebrities in the field and walked away with quite an impression.

“She’s very steady,” Sorenstam said. “I think that was one of my strengths, a lot of fairways, a lot of greens. Maybe a little bit of a temperament as well. She drives it really well and just very solid She has good distance control. I always felt like she was a really good ambassador for the game and she has everything that it takes to win.”

Apprised of what Sorenstram said, Henderson said if was a huge compliment.

Canada has become a force on the PGA Tour with the likes of Corey Connors (Titleist Pro V1), Adam Hadwin (Callaway Chrome Soft X), Mackenzie Hughes (Titleist Pro V1), Taylor Pendrith (Callaway Chrome Soft X), Adam Svensson (Callaway Chrome Soft X), Nick Taylor (Titleist Pro V1x) and Roger Sloan (Titleist Pro V1x), but none of them have accomplished what Henderson has done on the LPGA Tour.

Henderson has won more golf tournaments (13) than any other Canadian, male or female, including two majors, the last one in 2022 in the Evian Championship. Mike Weir, with his historic win in the 2003 Masters, is the only Canadian male to win a major.

Exactly why Canada has become such an emerging country at the PGA and LPGA level is hard to say. Canada is a country known for its excellence in winter sports because of the climate and the availability of venues in which to excel. Clearly the universities and colleges in the U.S. are mining Canada for its golf talent, though that can be said globally because more countries are starting to develop world-class players.

Henderson has won an assortment of awards in Canada and her profile is expanding. She has an assortment of tier one sponsors. She also has a wholesome story – her father, Dave, is her coach, her sister, Brittany, is her caddie and her mother, Darlene, is also a golfer. Collectively they provide family support that is somewhat unique in sports.

At one point in her life she played goalie in women’s hockey, but golf became her focal point.

It's been obvious for years, but 2023 could really be her year.

 

Perry Lefko
Perry Lefko
Perry Lefko is an award-winning writer who has published nine books, three of them bestsellers. He has been involved in sports writing for more than 35 years and has interviewed many superstar athletes. He lives in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada and enjoys watching golf and playing it.

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