Brooke Henderson’s Big Day

Brooke Henderson, age 9 (Photo: Flagstick Golf Magazine)
Brooke Henderson, age 9 (Photo: Flagstick Golf Magazine)
Brooke Henderson, age 9 (Photo: Flagstick Golf Magazine)

There have already been a lot of highlights in Brooke Henderson‘s golfing life.

She might only be seventeen but the native began racking up trophies almost a decade ago.

The converted goaltender took immediately to the game, following in the footsteps of her role model, older sister Brittany.

Like her sister, golf tournament wins began to mount and it was not long before her prodigious talents took her beyond Eastern Ontario.

It brought her to the National Team, wins at the Ontario Women’s Amateur, the Canadian Junior, the Canadian Women’s Amateur, and many, many more.

Her appearances in four LPGA TOUR events in 2014 included cuts made at two major championships.  At Pinehurst Resort, at the United States Women’s Open Championship, she tied for 10th and stood at the trophy ceremony alongside newly crowned champion Michelle Wie.

Brooke loved being top amateur, but, given her competitive nature, you know she would have rather been in Wie’s position.

It seems now that Brooke will get her chance to REALLY fulfill her potential, to chase the golf ball full time, and for pay.

At a teleconference this afternoon she is expected to make the formal announcement that she will turn professional.

It will be no simple road for the teen.  She does not get a hall pass to the LPGA.  Until she can (if she needs to at that point) attend LPGA Tour qualifying she will rely on sponsors exemptions and the skill of an agent to get her tournament entries.  Given her track record, top amateur ranking, and ability to draw attention with both her talents and easy going nature, she should be just fine in that department.

While there are critics that believe she may be too young and should head for college, Brooke has the spotlight NOW and she needs to take advantage of that.  Endorsement money in the women’s game is not always easy to come by so if she wants to make the most of it, this is the time.

If, as expected, she joins the pro ranks today, it begins a new chapter for Brooke.  It’s one she has always wanted.

Given the depth of her successes in the last few years it seems like a lifetime ago when she won the Golf Canada Pacific Future Links Championship and declared with conviction in an interview that her goal was to be a pro.

Today, it seems, she gets her wish.

We’ll fondly remember her amateur highlights but look even more forward to seeing what she can do as a professional.

There are no guarantees in pro golf but clearly Brooke has the skill set to compete; she has proven that in her forays against the best players in the world.

No less than Ottawa’s top playing professional, Brad Fritsch, said it well when we asked him about Brooke on Tuesday.

 “I just met her for the first time at the Sens (Ottawa Senators hockey club) home opener. It seems like she really has a good head on her shoulders. I think having an older sister that also plays professionally definitely helps too. It’s really neat to see someone who is young and had so much success – making cuts in majors; finishing top ten in a major. It’s really exciting and there’s no reason that she can’t continue an upward climb.”