The months of speculation are over.
Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ontario, the world’s #1 ranked amateur will give up that title in favour of professional pursuits.
The seventeen year-old Team Canada member and decorated golfer will join her older sister Brittany as a playing professional.
After an outstanding year where her accomplishments included a top ten finish at the United States Women’s Open and the official ranking of #1 amateur, Brooke, her family, and advisors have decided that it’s time that she play for pay.
The announcement came Thursday afternoon on the eve of Brooke’s last day as a high school student.
Henderson’s worldwide management and representation will be handled by IMG. Two agents have been assigned to her including the same agent that represents the Minjee Lee, the player who turned professional in early September and made way for Henderson ascend to the World #1 Amateur ranking.
Among Henderson’s supporters will be the Ottawa Senators. The team welcomed the young pro and hockey fan with this video:
Video link: http://ottsens.com/brooketurnspro
There has been no deal announced with the Senators and there may not be. Sources tell Flagstick that the mocked up PING bag with the Senators was just for the video. The Sens logo will be replaced by a Golf Canada logo on her official touring bag.
Henderson has also signed with PING, a company whose equipment she has played for much of her golf career. She will continue to be supported by Golf Canada’s young professional program.
“I am really excited to begin my professional career in 2015 and proud to represent Canada along the way,” said Henderson. “I realize what a big step it is to play professionally and I think IMG and their partners at WME give me a competitive advantage on a global level.”
Henderson’s multi-year agreement PING deal will see her have PING logos on her hat, carry a PING staff bag and play 14 PING clubs. Financial terms and the length of the agreement were not disclosed.
In a press release PING Chairman & CEO John A. Solheim stated, “Brooke has captured the attention of Canadian sports fans, who are very proud of her long list of accomplishments as she’s become the face of women’s golf in Canada.” He continued “She’s been a force in the amateur ranks for years, she’s won pro tournaments in Canada, and she’s made a big splash in the U.S. at major events. We’re pleased she’ll be representing PING as she takes the next step in her golf career.”
Henderson herself was quoted in the same release – “I have a comfort level with PING because they spend the time to understand my game, and their clubs are awesome. PING clubs make me longer, more consistent and give me the confidence I’ll need to succeed as a professional. I’m excited to be part of the PING team.”
Brooke was an integral member of Golf Canada’s National Amateur Team across the past three years. She won the individual title at the 2014 Women’s World Amateur Team Championship and led Canada to a silver medal. As a 16-year-old, she was runner-up at the 2014 U.S. Women’s Amateur and tied for 10th at the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open at Pinehurst No. 2.
She boasts more than 50 victories as an amateur and has also won three professional tournaments including two Canadian Women’s Tour events and the 2014 PGA of Canada Women’s Championship. Henderson’s Canadian Women’s Tour victory in 2012 at the age of 14 years, 9 months and 3 days made her the youngest player (male or female) ever to win a professional golf event.
Guy Kinnings, Global Head of Golf at IMG, commented, “Brooke’s tremendous talent on the golf course is exceeded only by her positive and engaging personality. We are delighted to help Brooke make the transition into professional golf and very much look forward to helping her achieve all of her goals both inside and outside the ropes.”
“Through outstanding competitive results and a commitment to excellence, Brooke has proven herself to be a special talent, demonstrating all of the necessary characteristics to make a successful transition to the professional golfing ranks,” said Jeff Thompson, Golf Canada’s Chief Sport Officer. “She has been a huge part of the Team Canada program which is designed to challenge our top athletes through exposure to the highest levels of training and competition. We are proud to have played a role in her development and will continue to support her in this next exciting stage of her career.”
Audio from today’s teleconference hosted by Golf Canada: