By Julie Williams, Golfweek
Brooke Henderson, the No. 1 player in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, announced Thursday she’ll forego college to turn professional. Henderson is the latest young female athlete to sign on with IMG.
Henderson, 17, was runner-up to Kristen Gillman at the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship in August and was the low amateur at the U.S. Women’s Open earlier in the summer. She joins Minjee Lee, recent LPGA Q-School co-medalist, and Lydia Ko, LPGA Rookie of the Year, in the IMG stable.
"This is a really exciting day for me. I’m turning pro and starting to live the dream I’ve lived my whole life to do," Henderson said in a teleconference hosted after the announcement.
Henderson has been an integral part of the Canadian National Team. She won the individual title at the Women’s World Amateur Championship earlier this fall. Her success in Canada includes two professional titles on the Canadian Women’s Tour and the 2014 PGA of Canada Women’s Championship.
"I joined the team in 2011 as a 14-year-old, and good things have happened since I joined that team," she said.
Henderson has signed with Ping and will continue to be supported by Golf Canada’s young professional program.
Henderon verbally committed to play college golf for Florida, but few expected to see her in Gator uniform.
"I told the coach (Emily Glaser) a little while ago that it wasn’t going to be the right fit for me at this time," Henderson said. "I’ll always continue to be a fan and support their golf team there.”
Earlier this year, Henderson petitioned the LPGA to participate in Q-School, but her request for an age waiver was denied. She said Thursday she wasn't sure what events her schedule might hold for 2015 – aside from the U.S. Women's Open – or where it might take her. She plans to travel with older sister Brittany, who failed to make the 72-hole cut at LPGA Q-Scool, when she can. The girls might even caddie for each other on off weeks.
"This is a huge decision but I have my family and supporters and we didn’t take it lightly," said Henderson, who has one semester of school left and hasn't ruled out the possibility of getting a college degree down the road.