SYLVANIA, Ohio - The 39-year-old tied atop the leaderboard at the end of the round Saturday for the first time in 12 years wasn’t even sure she wanted to play this year. It wasn’t that Laura Diaz ever lost her love for the game or her confidence that she could still play. She just was only going to try to play the LPGA Tour this season if she was fully confident that she could play while still doing her best at her most important job.
“Knowing that I could manage being a mom and play,” said Diaz, mom of 8-year-old Cooper and 4-year-old Lily. “I think that’s something I’ve struggled with, for, well eight years. When I only had one ki I think I got to a point where I was okay. I knew I was doing okay with it.”
But having her second child changed things. The love and time needed doubled, and she’s played and practiced less the last four years than she ever has before.
“I love being a mom. It’s the greatest thing in the world, so I don’t want to miss things,” she said. “It’s hard for me when I have to choose between the two.”
There’s never a choice with Diaz – her kids always come first. Everything she has to do for golf comes after her family. Whether that means a workout doesn’t get done or practice is postponed, that’s OK.
Like when she was walking down the fairway Saturday, fighting to maintain her lead, her mind was still on her kids. Whenever the cameras panned in on her, she wasn’t sure if her kids were watching but she had to say hello.
“A lot of Golf Channel cameras were out and I was waving. They get in my face and I don’t really know what to do. I say, ‘Hi kiddos! I love you!’ That kind of stuff,” she said.
Laura’s husband, Kevin, is an assistant coach for the women’s golf team at Wake Forest, so he has travel demands, too, with recruiting and tournaments. The two have tried to arrange their schedules where one of the two is home at all times, and her daughter comes with her to tournaments frequently.
“I’m very fortunate I have amazing parents and they help take care of our kids. My mom is with my son this week, and then I have the opportunity to bring my daughter out here and have the LPGA day care help me [while I play],” she said. “I have a great support system to make it all work.”
Golf always mattered to her over the last four years since she became a mom of two. She still got the shakes on the first tee that have plagued her for years and knows they will be there on Sunday.
For a time Saturday, it appeared like here return to the spotlight after a first-round 62 might end like the last three times she held a 36-hole lead in 2009, 2003 and 2002 when she finished in a tie for 42nd, 8th and 3rd.
Her round definitely could have headed in that direction after her and her caddie tried to remove a twig on the fourth hole, moving the golf ball for a one-stroke penalty and result in a double bogey to drop her to 10-under. But she responded with an eagle on the par-4 ninth after nearly holing her drive and steadied herself for an even-par Saturday round to ensure the cameras will again follow her all day on Sunday.
However, Sunday her son Cooper will likely be watching. He had his swimming finals Saturday during mom’s round and a banquet right after, which he received team MVP for his age group.
“I’ve gotten a phone call everyday saying, ‘Go, Mommy!’” said Diaz, beaming.
Another great round and Cooper can watch his mom get her own trophy on Sunday.
Topics: Diaz, Laura