The appearance of the Canadian Pacific logo on Brooke Henderson’s golf shirt during a Tuesday press conference at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, oddly without a press release to let anybody know, is obviously good news for Henderson, but also for the Canadian Women’s Open.
You can watch the press conference here and you will also notice a new MasterCard logo on her collar.
There had been concern, at least in the media after the departure of Hunter Harrison, the CEO of Canadian Pacific and valued supporter of the women’s game, from the company, but he was scheduled to step away at the beginning of July anyway.
Either way, CP’s current deal as title sponsor of the Canadian Women’s Open is due to expire at the end of next year and Harrison’s exit, at least on the surface, appeared ominous ahead of those negotiations.
The appearance of the CP logo on Henderson’s shirt would suggest otherwise as the company now seems to be adding to its commitment, which also includes having veteran Lorie Kane as an ambassador.
The interest level in the Canadian Women’s Open is expected to hit a peak this summer with the tournament being played in Ottawa, near Henderson’s home town of Smiths Falls, Ont.
The national capital has always been a welcoming venue for the LPGA Tour, but interest should reach new heights with Henderson coming home to Ottawa Hunt, where she and sister/caddie Brittany are honourary members.
CP announced on Tuesday that the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario will be the official beneficiary of the 2017 Women’s Open as part of its “Beautiful Hearts” program that also includes the 2017 Grey Cup, which is also being played in Ottawa.
You can read the release on that here.
CP’s support of women’s golf goes beyond having amiable, recognizable players such as Kane, and now Henderson, wearing its logo. It wisely gets involved in the community in which the Women’s Open is being played through such charitable efforts.
Of course, we still have to see if that will extend beyond 2017 when negotiations to extend the title sponsorship will be taking place, but there is no reason at this point to think the exit of Harrison necessarily means the exit of CP as title sponsor.
It is worth noting, but as I said at the time, the departure of Harrison from CP isn’t necessarily a bad thing for the Women’s Open, but it can’t be seen as a good thing either due to his support over the years.
The appearance of the CP logo on Henderson’s shirt can certainly be seen as a good omen, but likewise, not an absolute indicator about what can happen once sponsorship negotiations begin.
Update: The release announcing the CP agreement showed up mid-afternoon Tuesday. You can read that story here.