Canada's Brooke Henderson and Corey Conners are a perfect 1-0 when paired together on the golf course. They're ready to improve their decade-old record this week.
Henderson and Conners were teammates on Golf Canada's junior national and both represented Canada at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, but they rarely see each other as professionals on the PGA Tour and LPGA Tour. They haven't been paired together since 2013, when they won the Copa de las Americas along with fellow Canadians Albin Choi and Augusta James.
That all changes when they tee it up together at the Grant Thornton Invitational on Thursday, an event featuring players from the world's top men's and women's golf tours.
"I've always admired her swing and the smile she always has on her face," said Conners on Wednesday in a joint news conference with Henderson. "We go way back. We haven't crossed paths, unfortunately, that much over the last few years."
The Grant Thornton Invitational, a new tournament on the pro golf calendar, sees players from the PGA Tour and the LPGA Tour pair up in a season-ending event. Prize money will be evenly divided between the two genders at the 16-team field at Tiburon Golf Club in Naples, Fla.
Henderson and Conners hope to learn from each other on the course and maintain their unblemished record as a pairing.
"I'm really excited to watch the men play, watch Corey play, see how he goes about it," said Henderson, who added they have already begun strategizing. "I think that it's pretty cool to have a partner and somebody that is as brilliant as Corey is to talk that through."
Neither Conners or Henderson had turned professional when Team Canada won the Copa de las Americas by one stroke at the TPC Blue Monster Course at Doral Golf Resort & Spa Miami 10 years ago. Conners, Henderson, Choi and James finished with a four-day total of 25-over par 1,177 to best Mexico (1,178) by a shot and the United States (1,179) by two.
A lot has changed since then.
Conners, from Listowel, Ont., has won twice on the PGA Tour since turning professional in 2015 and is the second highest ranked Canadian on this year's FedEx Cup standings.
Henderson, from Smiths Falls, Ont., has put together an even more impressive resume, winning 13 times on the LPGA Tour including two majors since turning pro in 2014. She has the most pro wins in the history of Canadian golf.
"Ever since they announced the format of this event, I tried to try to throw my name in and partner up with Brooke," said Conners. "I think it was similar from from her side, so it's really exciting to be here together representing Canada.
"Obviously, I've got a pretty solid partner so I'm looking forward to having some fun this week."
Henderson think she can learn a lot from Conners, one of the best ballstrikers on the PGA Tour.
"I always enjoy watching my playing partners just regularly out on tour, when they're practising, when they're warming up, and also when I'm playing with them," said Henderson. "You just always try to keep an eye out and see what I can learn and what I can pick up on and maybe how I can improve."
Nick Taylor of Abbotsford, B.C., the highest ranked Canadian on the PGA Tour, will also play at the event. He will partner with China's Ruoning Yin.
Henderson and Conners agreed that the Grant Thornton could help grow the sport of golf in North America.
"It's a really cool opportunity for the PGA Tour and LPGA Tour to do something together," said Conners. "Hopefully this leads to some more collaboration and possibly some more events together."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 6, 2023.
John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press