The television ratings for Russell Henley's playoff victory Sunday in the PGA Tour's Honda Classic had to be off the chart in Charleston.
PGA Earnings: $3,208,980
World Golf Ranking: 46
Career Highlights: 2013 - Won Sony Open in Hawaii and finished in top 10 of three other events, including The RBC Heritage. 2014 - Won Honda Classic.
Henley is the touring professional for the Daniel Island Club and also a member at the Country Club of Charleston. There were happy groups at both clubs watching Henley two-putt for a birdie to beat Rory McIlroy, Ryan Palmer and Russell Knox on the first hole of sudden death at Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Henley, a former University of Georgia golfer, said Tuesday he heard from many of his Charleston friends before and after Sunday's round.
"They've been very kind to me and I appreciate them," said Henley, a second-year member of the PGA Tour who won for the second time.
The victory changed Henley's travel plans for the next few weeks. By climbing into the top 50 in the World Golf Rankings, he finds himself playing in the World Golf Championships event this week at Doral in Miami instead of the second-tier Puerto Rico Open.
The win also earned him his second straight invitation to play in the Masters next month in his home state of Georgia.
Just over a year ago, shortly after moving to Charleston, Henley won the Sony Open in Hawaii in his first official event as a PGA Tour member. That highlighted a great rookie season that saw him finish 33rd on the money list and play in the Masters, where he missed the cut.
"I think about (the Masters) a lot and hopefully this year will be a little bit better than the last," Henley said.
"I learned a lot (last year). It's a fun week. It's a long week and it will wear you out if you're not careful. It's about time management and not wearing yourself out."
Members at both the Daniel Island Club and Country Club of Charleston said Henley has been involved with the clubs and members. Crowds gathered at both clubs Sunday to cheer him to victory.
"We had a new member's cocktail party at Harry's (a new bar in the Daniel Island clubhouse) and all the televisions were on the golf tournament. It was a very nice scene," said Greg Keating, a vice president with Daniel Island Club.
Hart Brown, the director of golf at the Country Club of Charleston, described a similar scene.
"We had members watching TV who maybe had not watched golf before. It was really cool," Brown said.
Keating and Brown both said Henley has embraced the youth membership. Brown said Henley has played golf with teenage members. And Henley, along with fellow PGA Tour pro D.J. Trahan of Mount Pleasant, recently participated in Family Golf Day at Daniel Island Club.
"I didn't have anybody like that growing up," Henley explained. "I never talked to anyone on the PGA Tour, never was around anyone like that. Not to say I'm a perfect example, but I think I'm a pretty good one for kids as they grow up and want to play sports like golf.
"I do what I can to help. I've been in their shoes. My brother has two kids, age 7 and 4, and it's cool to be a part and help out."
Henley moved to Charleston just over a year ago and quickly fell in love with the city.
"It's my new home. I feel like I have really good people around me in Charleston. I think it's a beautiful, beautiful place and being there makes me happy," he said.
"The city, the views, it's just a nice place to live and go back to. I like the courses, the people, the downtown scene. I don't think I'll be getting away from the marshes anytime soon."
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