It’s back to the real world for Brooke Henderson, Lydia Ko and a handful of other Olympians who have left Rio de Janeiro behind and are preparing for the Canadian Open.
Henderson, the 18 year old from Smiths Falls, Ont., finished in a tie for seventh place at the Summer Olympics.
Her face is everywhere at Priddis Greens Golf and Country Club where the Canadian Open, the national women’s golf championship, runs Thursday through Sunday. She’s hoping for a better finish back home in Canada than she achieved at the Olympics, lamenting the two or three shots that cost her a medal.
But coming from Rio to Priddis Greens isn’t a big deal.
“Rio was kind of just a sixth major on the LPGA Tour,” said Henderson on Wednesday. “Of course there was lots of other things going on – possible distractions and it was like the world’s biggest stage for sport.
“It was cool, but the end of the day it was just four rounds of golf, regular stroke play individual that we do every single week, playing against the same players we play against every week so nothing that way was any different. Coming here’s just another week on tour.”
Ko finished with a silver medal for New Zealand at the Olympics and is a three-time winner of the Canadian Open.
“I can remember back to a week ago when I was flying into Rio and I was excited to prepare and everything and it was like there – and it was over,” Ko said.
“It’s definitely a quick turnaround but you know this is one of our best tournaments on our tour schedule so even the girls that were in Rio I think we’re all excited to be here.”
Ko, who is the reigning Canadian Open champion, says there are a few things she and her fellow Olympians are having to adapt to.
“Last week the course was a little bit like sand belt with a little bit of British flair. This is a bit more traditional … it’s firm and fast. Last week we were wearing shorts – this week we’re wearing sweaters,” she said.
“It’s different but I think we’re all getting used to it.”
LPGA commissioner Michael Whan said all the golfers had a break for two weeks before the Olympics so it shouldn’t be a problem getting back into the regular routine – even for the 30 or so Olympians on the LPGA Tour.
“Someone asked me in Rio, ‘How do you go from the Olympics to a regular Tour event?’” Whan said. “We’re going to have 30 countries in the field at the CP Open … so we’re going to put on another version of the Olympics this week.”
The $2.25-million Canadian Open is returning to Priddis southwest of Calgary for the first time since 2009. The lucrative purse – which includes $337,500 for the winner – will help the game’s stars shake off any post-Rio fatigue.Report Typo/Error