Henderson, dad think 17-year-old is ready for LPGA membership

By Randall MellJune 12, 2015, 1:57 am

HARRISON, N.Y. – Brooke Henderson is back on another leaderboard.

If not for a closing bogey Thursday at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, Henderson would be tied for the first-round lead in the second major championship of the year. Instead, the 17-year-old Canadian’s 6-under-par 67 left her a shot behind Jenny Shin.

Dave Henderson, Brooke’s father, toted his daughter’s bag as caddie. He saw her do a lot more than dissect yet another difficult course with the savvy of a seasoned veteran. He saw more evidence she has already proven herself worthy of LPGA membership.

After the round, Papa Henderson didn’t hold back expressing his belief LPGA commissioner Mike Whan ought to find a way to grant Brooke tour membership based on what she’s already accomplished this year.

“What more do you want?” Henderson said he wishes media would tell Whan. “She is good for golf, she is good for revenues, she brings young people into the game.”

Dave believes Brooke is more than ready to play the tour as a member.

“We’ve got good financial backing,” he said. “We have a good management group in IMG. We have a good support system. Everything’s in place.”

If you haven’t followed Brooke Henderson’s story, here’s the deal:

The LPGA has a rule that requires tour members be at least 18 years old, but the rule can be waived by the commissioner. Henderson turns 18 on Sept. 10. The Henderson family petitioned for a waiver of the rule last year that would have allowed Henderson to go LPGA Q-School, but the petition was denied.

KPMG Women’s PGA: Articles, videos and photos

Henderson turned pro anyway in December, and now she’s trying to avoid Q-School by earning LPGA membership playing as a non-member. She is playing this week on a sponsor exemption. She is playing her seventh LPGA event this season, five of them on sponsor exemptions and two via Monday qualifying. She’s playing well. She tied for third at the Swinging Skirts Classic, missing out on a playoff by a shot. She led after the second and third rounds. She also grabbed the second-round lead at the North Texas Shootout and tied for 13th there.

There are two ways Henderson can earn tour membership without going to Q-School.

1. She can win an LPGA event.

Non-members who win an LPGA event can claim tour membership immediately, with that membership extending through the following season. Henderson, however, would have to gain a waiver of the tour’s rule requiring members be 18 years old before she could claim that membership. Whan has consistently said winning is required for him to consider granting a waiver.

2. Henderson can also gain membership through non-member equivalent earnings.

If Henderson ends this season with the equivalent of top 40 money winnings, she could claim membership for 2016. However, only money earned in events with a cut count toward non-member winnings.

Henderson has won $184,745 in her six starts this year. If she were a tour member, that would rank her 33rd on the LPGA money list. A year ago, Hee Young Park finished 40th on the money list with $447,658 in earnings. Henderson will likely have to make at least that much to have a chance to gain membership based on top-40 equivalent earnings.

The thing is, Henderson may get only 10 starts this year, meaning she may have only three starts left.

Tour rules limit Henderson to six sponsor exemptions. She has one left, and she is scheduled to use that at the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August. She is eligible to play the U.S. Women’s Open next month based on her top-10 finish in last year’s U.S. Women’s Open at Pinehurst. It also appears she will get to play the Ricoh Women’s British Open in July on a special invitation that doesn’t count against her six sponsor exemptions.

As of now, Henderson can’t get into any other LPGA events except through Monday qualifiers. That means if she doesn’t win the Women’s PGA this week, she will have to make $260,000 in these remaining starts to have a chance at top-40 equivalency membership.

Brooke has consistently said she will accept whatever the tour requires her to do, but she said Thursday she believes she is ready for tour membership. She feels like she’s practically a member now. She is playing her sixth consecutive LPGA event.

“I love it, and I'm really excited when it's my career and I have full status on the LPGA tour and I get to travel week to week with these girls,” Henderson said. “They have been very encouraging and very supportive of the way I've played over the last few weeks, and I've made a lot of friends, which is always nice. I think hopefully I'll have a long career out here, and it just depends on when I'm able to start that career.”

The sooner the better for Papa Henderson.

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Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
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Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

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Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.

Updated Official World Golf Ranking

There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

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Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”