Brooke Henderson isn’t just good at golf. She’s literally good at just about everything.
She’s a celebrity in her own right. Once a year, she competes in the LPGA Hero World Challenge, a tour event where she usually has to take a redeye flight to return to her home in Montreal and practice all day, every day. The whole tournament is televised live, which is nice for her fans, and she gets plenty of media attention.
A year ago, she was already young, getting ready to turn 19 the next day. At age 19, she’s already won six times on the LPGA Tour, breaking into the top 10 in the world rankings a few weeks ago for the first time in her career. She’s also close friends with several golfers and is currently dating a former NHL star named Martin St. Louis.
Well, that all sounds great. But the thing is, Henderson hasn’t had any sustained success over the last year. She won twice in her rookie season (18 and 11), but that was her highest total on the Tour since she tied for seventh place in 2017. She’s finished tied for 19th three times, 11th twice, and 16th once.
And she’s struggled with injuries, particularly to her back. She lost her playing status in the event in the Bahamas when she couldn’t finish, missed some tournaments with a muscle pull, and then aggravated a rib injury while training in late October.
“Every event is so stressful when you haven’t had success in a while,” Henderson said on Wednesday. “It’s not great for my psyche. And I definitely want to do well, but right now, I feel like just taking things day by day and trying to get better.”
On Wednesday, she finished her final practice round for the Hero World Challenge. Her final round is scheduled for Thursday, and while she’s hitting the ball well, Henderson’s approach to the final round is a little different.
“I just need to do the right things,” she said. “The mental thing I have to get better at. Last year, I didn’t have the start I wanted. I was missing cuts and then I won in Mexico. I was first out of the gate, which is something I need to keep in mind. So let’s just get ready, shoot low tomorrow, and see what happens.”
Today, Henderson spent time helping her dad, coach and caddie Darryl, who doesn’t have his own swing coach and generally calls many of the shots. He hasn’t told her to change much. He’s still teaching her how to attack pins (he won’t tell her how to hit shots), and he’s only occasionally telling her to hit the ball a few yards. He’ll only ask her if she’s going too fast or not fast enough.
“He’s teaching me to trust my swing and work with it more,” she said. “Last year, he was getting more advice from me. But this year, I’m taking more.”
So, what makes Henderson so good? She thinks it’s because of her dad.
“I have the golf passion, even from my younger years, he’s always played with me and I’ve been able to train and receive coaching in the right way,” she said. “But I would say I owe a lot to him. He’s the one that brings up balls to hit. He pushes me to be better and that’s something I’ve learned through him. He’s my best coach and my best friend.”
Henderson won’t have her dad to pull for, but as a professional, she’ll have other members of her family cheering her on. As usual, the best advice she’s gotten from them? Just be careful.
“To always take my health into consideration and be physically healthy,” she said. “And just to take it one step at a time. One shot at a time. Just focus on playing each shot.”