A lot of assumptions are rightly made about working moms – the juggling of multiple tasks, balancing work and home life, the ability to make intelligent and intuitive decisions on the fly. However, most successful working mothers don’t have jobs that keep them flying around the world and staying on the road for weeks on end. That’s what LPGA Tour players face every day, every month and every year. Throw in the fact that professional golf is one of the world’s most time-consuming professions, with practice, tournament play, pro-ams, media and sponsor commitments sucking the clock like sand through an hourglass, and it’s a marvel that the Tour has so many successful mothers in its ranks.
Two of those moms, Stacy Lewis and Brittany Lincicome, spoke with reporters on Thursday in advance of the upcoming ANA Inspiration, which will be held April 2-5 at the Dinah Shore Tournament Course at Mission Hill Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif. Both are past champions, Lewis having made the ANA Inspiration her first official professional win in 2011, while Lincicome is a two-time ANA champion, capturing the major title in 2009 and 2015.
Lewis’ daughter, Chesnee, is 16 months old and has been traveling with Stacy and her husband Gerrod Chadwell for more than a year. Lincicome and her husband Dewald Gouws welcomed their daughter Emery in early July of last year. Emery was at both of Lincicome’s 2020 starts during the Florida swing in January.
And while both players have experienced challenges balancing Tour life with motherhood, neither seems stressed, scattered or torn. If anything, they want to be role models for how professional women can, indeed, make it work.
“At first it was hard to kind of be where I was,” Lewis said. “You spend those first few months with the baby and it's just you two. You have so much time together that I think it's hard to shut it off right away and not really think about her. But I think as time goes on, you're kind of able to focus a little more on where you are and enjoy that time, that quiet time inside the ropes, the time that you get to work on your game and just really try to play the best you can. But, definitely, it's evolved. One of the challenges for me last year was finding that balance.”
It takes a village... so thankful for a great Nina, Nene, the amazing LPGA daycare team and an incredibly supportive husband that allow me to continue to play the game I love!! Can’t wait for more adventures this year with this not so little one! 💖 @ShortGameG @smuckers pic.twitter.com/fgFn1LawYh— Stacy Lewis (@Stacy_Lewis) February 19, 2020
Lincicome hasn’t experienced that evolution yet. Her family came to both her 2020 starts where everyone wanted to see and hold Emery, including Lincicome’s longtime caddie Missy Pederson. “I never thought Missy would take to a baby, but she loves Emery,” Lincicome said. “She wants to hold her all the time and feed her and do everything for her. It's been a really cool experience being my caddie, getting to know Emery and be so involved.”
But Lincicome knows what’s coming. She just isn’t sure how it will make her feel.
“(Emery) came out at least nine holes of every round (so far this year) so I really got to see her all day most days,” she said. “That wasn't too big of a deal for me, and then with my caddie, we talked about Emery and what she's doing, and we talked about her basically all day. So, I felt like I was with her even though I wasn't. I'm sure the first time she gets an ear infection, or a tooth comes through or something and I'm not going to be there to take care of her because I'm playing golf, that might be hard.”
Lewis knows this all too well. Chesnee stayed home last year during the AIG Women’s British Open and she was in Houston, Tex. with Gerrod this year during Stacy’s recent starts in the ISPS Handa Vic Open the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.
“The only bad thing is that she wants to watch Mickey Mouse all the time now,” Lewis said with a smile. “But the good thing is that she was healthy. She got an ear infection while I was gone, so (Gerrod) had to deal with all that. All things considered he did great.”
One universal theme among the moms on Tour is the blessing and relief they feel because of the LPGA Smucker’s Child Development Center, a rolling childcare and preschool for children of LPGA mothers.
“For me it's been huge,” Lewis said. “Chesnee went to every tournament I played in in the U.S. last year, and the daycare lady actually went to the Solheim Cup, so we were able to take her there, too. It just really allows me to do my job and to know that she's safe. If anything does go wrong, they're going to come get me. But 99 percent of the time they're not going to. They can handle it. It definitely just makes playing golf a lot easier.”
Lincicome hasn’t used the Smucker’s center yet, but as she said, “I am definitely going to. I think it's great for Emery to be around other kids and get that social interaction. Even just talking to another mom, Gerina (Piller), she said when she brought A.J. out and she saw all the other kids eating and walking or crawling and doing things, A.J. wanted to do those things, so it helped him progress developmentally. I think having (Emery) in there will be a huge help.
“I'm definitely excited that we have it and I have that availability, knowing, like Stacy said, that (Emery) is going to be in a safe place and she's going to be with me and well taken care of.”