Positive Henderson ready for her national open
VANCOUVER, B.C. -- By her own admission, 2023 has been an up-and-down year for Brooke Henderson.
She won the first tournament of the year, which is an up. But she’s also missed the cut in five tournaments, the most of her career. That’s a down.
There’s also been just one other top-10 finish, which is another down. But it came in a major, the Amundi Evian Championship where she was second. That’s definitely an up.
This week, Henderson brings her ups and downs home to Canada for what she calls her sixth major. It’s her national championship, a tournament she won back in 2018.
“I haven't had as many top results as maybe I would've liked,” admitted Henderson, “but I feel like I'm learning a lot this year and continuing to grow as a person and a player. I think that's the main goal, just continuing to grow and try to get better all the different ways you can.”
The 25-year-old from Smiths Falls, Ont., would never be considered a pessimist. The sun is always shining in her world, which is one thing that makes her so admired by fans. She smiles even through the down times and is happy regardless of what the scorecard reads. This week, her popularity will soar in front of the home-country galleries who will line the fairways of Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club hoping she plays well.
“I think coming into the week, you know it's going to be a big week, and that's like really exciting,” she stated. “Like I said, it's such an incredible opportunity. This week I'm just trying to make the most of that opportunity and be the best I can on and off the course.”
More than any other week on the LPGA Tour schedule, her off-course duties can supersede the on-course ones. Henderson is wanted here, there and everywhere. She will sign more autographs, do more media interviews and shake the hands of more corporate sponsors all while trying to find a few more fairways and sink a handful more putts.
It's not an easy task but she has learned to balance the overloaded itinerary and still win, capturing her national open in 2018 in Regina.
“Just to feel that kind of love and support, it's really special,” she said. “I try to do my best and try to sign a bunch of autographs and take pictures, but also trying to make sure that I give the right amount of time for myself to really prepare and get the right amount of rest so I can go out and perform on Thursday through Sunday.”
The course this week will not necessarily favour Henderson’s naturally aggressive style of play. Shaughnessy’s narrow fairways and massive trees will test her driver and, she admitted, force her to keep it in the bag more often than she likes. She’s going to play what she referred to as “smart aggressive.”
She will also be adding a new weapon to her artillery this week – glasses. Henderson has poor vision and has worn glasses off the course for a long time. But on the course, she’s relied more on the eyesight of her sister and caddie Brittany.
For years, her fans have watched Brooke hit a drive and immediately move to pick up her tee. That wasn’t because she was certain of where the ball will end up, it was because she’s never been able to track it. This week, she hopes that will change as she debuts the eyewear on the course.
Overall, the Canadian star is hoping this week will be one of those where things go right. A good finish here might do a lot to turn the so-so year into something very special. A win would erase any question of a mediocre season.
“It's been a little bit up and down year,” stated Henderson, “so hopefully this will be more of an up week. I feel like the game is trending in the right direction, and got to stick to the process.”