The young athlete, who will represent Canada at the Rio 2016 Olympics, talks family, being Canadian and her guilty pleasure.
Everyone wants a piece of Brooke Henderson, the Smiths Falls, Ont., native who will be competing at the 2016 Rio Olympics—the first Olympic golf competition since 1904. The 18-year-old gained acclaim as the top-ranked amateur in the world before turning pro in 2014, and she’s currently among the top 10 in the world. She’s also sponsored by BMW Canada, Sunice (golf and ski clothing), BioSteel Sports Nutrition Inc. and RBC Royal Bank. Not too shabby for someone whose high school diploma is fresh off the press.
Though her schedule is packed—finding time in her day is like trying to put a square peg in a round hole—Brooke’s agent, Mike, nabbed her for a few minutes between competitions to answer our questions. (Thanks, Mike!)
What is your first memory of golf?
Playing golf with my dad and sister. We loved to play and I could feel an affinity for the course. We had a golf car with a flat back and I would get back there when I got tired. It was so much fun!
When did you realize that you wanted to pursue golf professionally?
I won a Canadian Women's Tour event in Beloeil, Quebec, when I was 14. I still hold the record for the youngest golfer in history to win a professional tournament. I had really good scores on a very long and tough golf course, and against a very strong field of world-class players. I knew at that time that I was on the right track.
How have your parents and sister helped with your career?
My parents gave me values that I live by: hard work, perseverance, honesty and integrity to name a few. They often say, "You learn about a person’s integrity on the golf course.” My sister [and caddy], Brittany, continues to keep me on the straight and narrow. She has a business degree so she helps me with my finances. She is also technically sound with golf swings. She is my best friend and a great role model.
Do you ever feel like you've missed out on a typical childhood?
My career has given me additional opportunities and experiences I wouldn't normally have had. You name it and we've done it.
Do you feel the pressure to be a good role model?
I don't find any pressure. I just try to be honest, open and sincere. If it rubs off, that’s great.
What does it mean to you to represent Canada?
I am ecstatic about representing Canada in the summer Olympics. If I get off to a fast start and get a few breaks, I will bring home a medal for all Canadians to enjoy. I know Canadians and others around the world will be cheering for me!
Brooke’s quick questionnaire
1. What’s your good-luck charm?
My sister as my caddy.
2. What song do you play to pump yourself up?
“I Love This Life” by Lo Cash.
3. What food is your guilty pleasure?
Chocolate ice cream.
4. What’s your biggest fear?
5. What’s your favourite quote?
“Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated.” – Arnold Palmer
Finish the sentence:
6. If I weren’t an athlete, I’d be… a schoolteacher.
7. I’m proud to be Canadian because… it’s the best country in the world! I love wearing the maple leaf with pride.
8. Someday I hope to… win a major.
9. One thing you probably don’t know about me is… my first job was cleaning clubs in the bag shop at Smiths Falls Golf & Country Club.
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