ORLANDO, Fla - Less than one week after Brooke Henderson came down with the flu, which ultimately cost her victory at the season-opening Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions, she was back to work. Friday evening, following the second round, the 36-hole leader was struck by a virus, which resulted in a final round 75 that left her in a tie for sixth. Wednesday, the Canadian, who was feeling significantly improved from the weekend but still missing a bit of her spark, met with fans and media at the PGA Merchandise Show.
Henderson, who is sponsored by club manufacturer PING and Sketchers for her apparel and shoes, made stops at both booths during the show.
Wednesday at PING, Henderson revealed that during last week’s season opener she was not only adjusting to starting a new season on Tour, while also battling the flu, she was also adjusting to new equipment. In what was an unusual move for Henderson, she immediately put the new PING Glide Wedges as well as the updated PING i210 irons in her bag just ahead of the first event of the year.
“Normally I don’t like to do it right away, but these ones felt really good,” Henderson told LPGA.com. “I thought I’d try them, it really worked out really well and I started the tournament really strong.”
While Henderson isn’t one of the more technical players on the LPGA Tour, she has one of the most unique swings given her background growing up playing hockey back home in Canada, she does like taking part in designing her equipment and providing feedback to PING.
“A lot of things that have happened over the course of the years have been suggestions that Brit and I have made,” Henderson said about the changes she and her sister have made to PING. “They’ve taken them and try to please us the best they can, so it’s really cool.”
Henderson provides input on her apparel, too.
Wednesday, Henderson was one of the brave attendees at the PGA Merchandise Show wearing a brand new pair of shoes. The show, known for its size and scope, which has grown to nearly 10 miles when walked from end to end, isn’t the friendliest place to break in a new pair of kicks. However, that’s exactly what Henderson did. Wednesday morning at Sketchers, the Canadian tried out four new pairs of shoes and selected her favorite pair, an entirely black design, which she wore the rest of the day.
“These shoes were designed specifically for me, which is really cool,” Henderson said about her new shoes, which combined her favorite aspects of each of Sketchers' designs. “They send me stuff and want my feedback, so I tell them what I think and then they redesign and make things easier for me.”
With her clubs and shoes figured out for the New Year, Henderson is free to focus on her goals for the season ahead. Unlike many players who don’t publicly share their aspirations, Henderson has made a yearly habit of sharing her goals with the world. This year, the major champion will be working towards keeping her scoring average under 70 for the second consecutive year. She also hopes to keep her winning streak alive, having won on Tour each of the last four seasons.
“I think once you say it, it drives you to do it a little bit more,” Henderson said about sharing her ambitions. “I definitely have some goals I keep inside, but for the most part if I’m pushing towards a goal, I like to say it out loud and try to run after it, chase it down.”
The chase continues in two weeks when Henderson heads to Australia for the ISPS Handa Vic Open. If she could nearly win the season opener while feeling ill and still adjusting to brand new equipment, imagine what a healthy Henderson could achieve Down Under.