Reigning Vic Open champion Michael Hendry has withdrawn from July’s Open Championship at Royal Liverpool as he braces for the “fight for my life”.
A four-stroke winner at Thirteenth Beach Golf Links in February and a four-time winner on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia, Hendry announced on Instagram that he has been diagnosed with Leukaemia and would be taking indefinite leave from the game.
It means he will be unable to play in the Open Championship for a third time, a spot he earned by finishing second at the World City Championship on the Asian Tour just two months ago.
Hendry’s post has already attracted messages of support from his fellow competitors on the Australasian and Japan golf tours.
“You’re a strong man Mike. We’re all behind you,” said Anthony Quayle.
“Royal Troon is a great venue for the 152nd Open,” said Matthew Griffin, along with a fist bump emoji.
Hendry finished fourth on the 2022/2023 PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit, logging top-six finishes at both the New Zealand Open and New Zealand PGA to go with his Vic Open triumph.
The 43-year-old extended that run of good form into Asia to play his way into The Open, only to have to withdraw after receiving the shock news.
“Earning these doesn’t come easy and I was so excited to earn qualification to this year’s Open Championship, but alas I will no longer be able to compete this year,” said Hendry alongside a photograph of his Royal Liverpool player’s badge.
“On returning home from overseas in early April I was shocked to be diagnosed with Leukaemia (blood cancer).
“The last six weeks have seen me in hospital undergoing treatment to try and rid myself of the disease.
“I have a long battle ahead of me. This is the fight of my life, a fight for my life, but one I am determined to win.
“I’m currently enjoying some time at home to rest and recover in preparation for more chemotherapy. I will beat this and I will be back better than ever!
“Hopefully my next post will have some positive news with it. But until then any positive vibes you can spare will go a long, long way.”
PGA of Australia CEO, Gavin Kirkman, said that the entire Australian golf community would stand with Hendry as he faces the toughest fight of his life.
“Michael has been a wonderful player and supporter of the PGA Tour of Australasia for more than a decade,” said Kirkman.
“This news is obviously very difficult but Michael should know that he has the support and thoughts of everyone within Australian golf.
“We will offer whatever support we can to make sure he wins this battle and is back among his many friends on tour as soon as possible.”
A promising cricketer who turned his hand to golf, Hendry joined the professional ranks in 2005.
His first win on Tour was the 2012 NZ PGA Championship, a title he successfully defended in 2013.
His lone win on the Japan Golf Tour to date came at the 2015 Token Homemate Cup and two years later he won his national championship at The Hills Golf Club in Queenstown.