We had the pre-US Open final qualifying story of newly-crowned Memorial champion Viktor Hovland caddying for a long-time best friend in Monday’s 36-hole qualifier.
Now we’re learning a part-time Uber driver, and full-time Asian Tour player has earned himself a place in next week’s third major of the season at the L.A Country Club where he will tee-up alongside the likes of defending champion Matt Fitzpatrick and past winners including Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy and Bryson DeChambeau.
It’s the beauty of the ancient club-and-ball game that 43-year-old Berry Henson is on his way to Los Angeles to compete at the game’s highest level, and achieving his goal by being among the leading qualifiers with scores of 64 and 71 at the Canoe Brook Country Club in Summit, New Jersey.
Henson was born in Thousand Oaks, California and grew-up in Palm Desert in the east of the state.
He’s also no stranger to pro golf having won on the Asian Tour in 2011 and also an event by seven-shots on the Asian Development Tour that same year. He also was the champion at the 2013 Long Beach Open.
However after seven unsuccessful attempts since a first in 2011 to gain his PGA Tour card, Henson needed just one go to earn his Asian Tour card.
“I won first stage and finished 11th in finals and got my card,” he said to USA Today, adding that he won his fifth and sixth events on the Asian Tour. “And then things just kind of snowballed.”
Henson has been a top-30 player in Asia for the past decade, ranks 438th in the world rankings and said he has made as much as $325,000 in a year, with additional winnings from European events. Indeed, he contested 58 events on the European in the decade 2011 to 2021, earning Euro 294,000 with a best finish of a pair of top-10s in 2018 and 2021.
He’s still an Asian Tour member having contested seven events this year with a best finish of runner-up along the shores of the Persian Gulf in February’s International Series Oman, and despite turning pro 20 years ago the U.S. Open will be his first Major.
So, how did driving for Uber start?
“You know, I go to the golf course, play golf, pick up an Uber ride on the way back and maybe get two, three, four rides a day,” Henson told USA Today Sports his routine. “I’ll be doing a few Uber rides in L.A. probably next week.”
“Also, I was like, ‘You know what, I’m going to raise some money for charity and I got some time off and I just want to do something to keep my mind busy. “I had sold my car and home in Palm Desert where I was living, so I rented cars that also could be used for Uber. Seven years on, I’m still doing it, and I’ve only just booked an Uber car now”.
Henson revealed also he chose to fly to the other side of the US for the final qualifier site in New Jersey because he said the course suited his game better than the one at Hillcrest Country Club in Los Angeles and from New Jersey he flew home to L.A. to jump straight into the seat of his Uber car.
“I’m primarily doing it because I’ve got time,” he said. “I don’t have kids and I want to pay off the expense of the rental car when I’m home because, why not?”
And USA Today in this great story, also reports Henson had someone looking over him on Monday – his mother, who passed away in March aged 72. It hurt Henson he said that he chose to play a tournament in Thailand and fly back to the Sates to be at home with his mother.
“Yeah, it was a really tough decision,” he said. “I talked to my stepdad. He’s like, ‘You know what, your mom’s going to want you to play”.
It didn’t help when he doubled the opening hole but then he chipped in for birdie twice and made three putts of more than 30-feet and all time feeling his mother was watching over him.
“I could feel her out there today,” he said.
“I just knew something special was going to happen, and I was fighting back tears on the back nine. I was telling myself, ‘Nope, you can’t go there yet, you can’t go there yet.’ And there was just some special moments today where I was like, ‘Man, I got to do this for mom. I got to do this for mom.'”
- Thank you to USA Today for a great golfing story.