Well, first of all, congratulations to our Resident Canadian Phenom, Brooke Henderson, for shooting 66 in the final round of the US Women’s Open, and finishing the tournament in a tie for 5th place. This improves upon her 10th place-tie finish in the same event last year, when she was only 16. Obviously, that means she’s only 17 this year, and that’s just yet another remarkable achievement in a long list for this delightful young lady.

Nothing would give Canadian golf fans more satisfaction than to see Brooke qualify for full membership on the LPGA Tour. Right now, she’s not eligible to be granted such status because of her age (that is, she’s under 18). The Tour is sticking by its rules, although Brooke can earn an exemption by winning an LPGA tournament by the end of the season.

She can also be granted automatic LPGA membership for 2016 if she earns enough money that would place her in the top 40 money-earners by the end of the current season. Having now won nearly $460,000, in less than 10 events that count in 2015, that outcome now appears likely. And if and when she earns her rightful spot on the Tour, we’ll all cheer her on to perhaps unprecedented greatness for a Canadian woman golfer.

I may be Brooke’s biggest fan. However, her lustre in my eyes was dimmed to a fair degree a couple of weeks ago.

Brooke was scheduled to play in this week’s Pan Am Games golf competition, starting on Thursday at Angus Glen in Markham. Her acceptance of the invitation to join the team was announced about six weeks ago, and she was set to join Lorie Kane to form a formidable Canadian team, in the first golf competition ever held in the Pan Ams, right here in our backyard.

Two weeks ago, however, Team Henderson announced that Brooke was going to back out of playing for her country to concentrate on her quest for LPGA eligibility. Instead of representing her country, she’s going to try to qualify for this week’s LPGA tournament in Ohio, and as I’m writing this, she’s probably in the middle of the qualifying round. I hope she makes it.

But I definitely don’t think backing out of the Pan Ams was a wise or correct decision. Being asked to play for her country was an honour and a privilege, and I personally don’t think it was a good or honourable decision move for her to turn her back on it for any reason other than an injury. Also, to back out at such a late date left the PanAm organizers with a big hole to fill. The last I heard, they simply were going to go ahead with Kane alone, along with Garrett Rank and Austin Connelly representing the men on the Canadian team. In other words, Brooke has left them in the lurch. Bad form, if you ask me.

In the meantime, I have the distinct pleasure of attending the Open Championship this week in St. Andrews, Scotland. I’m writing this blog from a charming little Bed & Breakfast across the road from Prestwick Golf Club, south of Glasgow, at the moment.

I’m here with a lively group of gentlemen members from Devil’s Pulpit, for a fortnight of playing golf in the area, and watching the Open. After an opening round 87 today, on the Portland course at Royal Troon, I’m feeling good enough about my game that I’m hoping the R&A might call and ask me to fill in, just in case any player doesn’t show up for the Open.

I’ve given them my number, and I’m keeping the line open.

Jim Deeks
Jim Deeks has been writing for Fairways for over a dozen years. He is a former Executive Director of the Canadian Open and Canadians Skins Game, and currently the Executive Producer of CANADA FILES on PBS.

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