Biography of Golfer Brooke Henderson

Brooke Henderson is all smiles after winning the LPGA Lotte Championship in 2018.

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Although still in the earliest stages of her career, Brooke Henderson is already one of the most-accomplished Canadian golfers in LPGA Tour history.

She's known particularly for two things. One is the extra-long driver shaft she uses to generate lots of speed and blast big drives.

The other is that her intense competitiveness is paired with a very friendly disposition, something that has led some in the media to dub her "The Smiling Assassin."

"I'd like to think I'm pretty tough on the course," Henderson once told the Chicago Tribune, "but I also like to teach everybody that you can smile and be happy and still be really good at something you do."

Early Years

Henderson was born in Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada on Sept. 10, 1997. She began golfing at age three because she wanted to join her father and older sister, who both played. Brooke's father, Dave Henderson, was a former college hockey player turned avid golfer, and he became her golf coach.

Henderson has said that when she first started playing golf, she thought the point of the game was to get the ball in the hole the fastest. But once she started focusing on taking the fewest strokes, rather than the fastest ones, her game took off.

During childhood, Henderson also played goalie in hockey. But by age 14 she was so good at golf she decided to give up her other sport. By that point, she was already a winner in pro tournaments and had played on the LPGA Tour. Brooke's sister Brittany went on to her own professional golf career before becoming Brooke's full-time caddie.

Amateur Golf Career

Brooke Henderson won more than 50 junior and amateur tournaments. The victories include the 2015 Canadian Women's Amateur. She led Team Canada to a runner-up finish at the 2014 World Amateur Team Championship, and was herself runner-up at the 2014 U.S. Women's Amateur Championship.

But the reason Henderson started gaining notice in the wider golf world in her early teens is because of the success she had playing in professional tournaments while still an amateur. From 2012 through 2014—aged 14 through 16—Henderson played, as an amateur, in eight LPGA Tour tournaments. She made the cut in six of them and finished tied for 10th place in the 2014 U.S. Women's Open.

While still an amateur, Henderson won three pro tournaments on the Canadian Women's Tour. The first was the 2012 Beloeil Golf Club event, which she won at age 14 years, 9 months, 3 days. That made her the youngest-ever winner on that tour and, at the time (a record since broken), the youngest winner, male or female, on any significant pro golf tour.

Later in 2014 Henderson won the individual title at the Women's World Amateur Games and became the first Canadian golfer to reach No. 1 in the women's World Amateur Golf Rankings.

Professional Success

In December 2014, at age 17, Henderson turned professional. The first tournament she played after going pro was on the mini-tour Suncoast Series in Florida, and she won it. Then, early in the 2015 Symetra Tour season, playing on a sponsor exemption, Henderson won the Four Winds Invitational. She was the third-youngest winner in Symetra Tour history, and the victory earned her Symetra Tour membership for the remainder of the year.

But she didn't need it. Playing again on a sponsor exemption, this time on the LPGA Tour, Henderson won the 2015 LPGA Cambia Portland Classic. Her victory was by eight strokes, the largest margin of victory on the LPGA that season.

A win in an LPGA tournament automatically confers tour membership. But at age 17 years, 11 months, 6 days—making her, at the time, the third-youngest winner in LPGA history—Henderson did not yet meet the minimum age requirement of 18.

LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan, however, waived that provision for Henderson, making her an immediate LPGA Tour member. Henderson's first full season of LPGA membership was 2016. She won twice, posted 15 Top 10 finishes, finished third in winnings and third in the Player of the Year points race.

She also won her first major championship title in 2016, the KPMG Women's PGA Championship. At age 18, Henderson was, at the time, the second-youngest winner ever of an LPGA major. She also was the first Canadian golfer to win one of the majors of women's golf since Sandra Post in 1968.

Following that win, Henderson rose to No. 2 in the world rankings, best ever by a Canadian golfer (female or male).

In 2017, Henderson continued displaying the great golf she was known for: long drives, powerful swings, aggressive play and good results. She won two more tournaments and had eight Top 10 finishes.

A win at the 2018 Lotte Championship brought Henderson's total to six LPGA victories, second-most (behind Post's eight) of any Canadian golfer in tour history, at the age of 20. And then, at the 2018 CP Canadian Women's Open, Henderson became the first Canadian golfer since 1973 to win that country's national championship.

Brooke Henderson Fast Facts

  • Full Name: Brooke Mackenzie Henderson
  • Known For: Winning golf tournaments on the LPGA Tour
  • Born: Sept. 10, 1997 in Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada
  • Parents’ Names: David and Darlene Henderson
  • Key Accomplishments: Winner of multiple LPGA Tour tournaments including one major championship, the 2016 KPMG Women's PGA Championship.
  • Offbeat Fact: In the 2016 LPGA season, Henderson broke Lorena Ochoa's all-time record for single-season birdies. But Henderson never actually held the record, because Ariya Jutanugarn also broke Ochoa's record, and with more birdies than Henderson.