Today is the start of the CP Women's Open, Canada's biggest LPGA golf event. Held this year in Aurora, Ontario, the four-day tournament is a marquee event. Dozens of the sport's Top 100 athletes will be there, including 15 Canadians. But there's only one golfer that most people what to talk about.
And is it any wonder why? Currently she is:
- ranked eighth in the world
- the CP Women's Open defending champion
- already a two-time winner in 2019
- the winningest Canadian golfer ever, male or female, with nine wins
And she's still only 21.
Now a superstar
When Henderson won the 2018 CP Women's Open in Saskatchewan a year ago, she did more than break a 45-year drought for Canadians at their national tournament. She established herself as a homegrown superstar in a country not exactly known for its golfers.
Across the country, owners of golf courses and driving ranges are noticing more and more young people—girls and boys—coming to learn the game. And their hero? Brooke Henderson.
She'll need to feel all of that love this week. Especially considering the impressive field that she'll be facing. It includes two-time CP Women's Open champ Lydia Ko of New Zealand, and the South Korean power trio of Jin Young Ko, Jeongeun Lee, and Sung Hyun Park (ranked 1, 2, 3 in the world).
That's a lot of pressure and expectation to place on a 21-year-old athlete who has only been a professional for five years. Except that Henderson doesn't really seem to show any nerves. If anything, the pressure appears to make her perform better.
Young women breaking new ground
In this way, she reminds us a lot of another new Canadian athlete exploding onto the global scene: tennis player Bianca Andreescu.
Like Henderson, Andreescu just became the first Canadian winner in decades of the national tournament. She is also very young, and tough as nails under pressure. And she is spearheading a movement that is drawing young Canadians to a sport like never before.
Maybe along with the Raptors miraculous win this June, we're finally ready to lay rest to the idea that Canada is a hockey nation. Whatever the truth, it's exciting to think of all of the young sports fans—especially young girls—who are able to look at their country's sporting landscape in a whole new way.
Will you be cheering Brooke on? If so, you won't be alone! And neither will Brooke.
Did you know that her older sister Brittany is her caddy? Watch them talk about their relationship below.