O’Toole and Hall Hope Their Relationship Encourages Others to Be True to Themselves

The life of a professional golfer can be a lonely one. A player might have a small team around them each week if they’re lucky – an agent, a physio, a caddie, a coach – but most spend a lot of their time flying solo, going from airport to airport, hotel to hotel, course to course alone, doggedly chasing their dreams week in and week out on tour, isolated in the pursuit of success.

So when a player finds someone to share the long days with, the early mornings and the late nights with, the 68s and the 75s with, it’s incredibly special and the bond is even deeper because of the mutual experience, because they live the same life. Just ask Ryann O’Toole and Georgia Hall.

The pair had known of each other for quite a long time, but never really interacted as they were didn’t run in the same circles and were never grouped together in a tournament. That is, until last year.

“I knew her, knew her name and knew who she was but we really didn't play together at all for like five years and we would never be near each other,” explained Hall. “Then we got paired together a couple of times last year, and we just got on really well and it's went from there really.

“Now we don't really want to be apart, like even for a day. I think we get on really well. We have things that are opposite but that help each other because of that. We just want the best for each other and it's very happy.”

That happiness is palpable and sitting across the table from them, anyone can physically feel how strongly O’Toole and Hall love each other. It shows in the crinkles of their smiles when they catch each other’s eye, in the giddy giggles in a shared joke, in the way that they talk about one another. And they wholeheartedly support each other in their respective careers on the golf course.

Hall was not in the field at this year’s Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions, but she still made the trek to Lake Nona Golf and Country Club in Orlando, Fla., following O’Toole for every shot of every round and enjoying her time outside the ropes cheering on her girlfriend. When O’Toole missed the cut at the Mizuho Americas Open, she walked alongside Hall throughout the weekend at Liberty National Golf Club and was there at the end of each day with a hug and a word of encouragement, no matter the result.

“I lean on her so much mentally. She's so strong and it's nice to be able to like get off the golf course and go and regurgitate at the mouth of the round and talk about it,” said O’Toole. “For most people it’d be like, ‘Oh, why would you want to talk about work when you get home?’ And I'm like, ‘Because we live it together.’

“If we spend five hours apart during a tournament, then we come back and we can't wait to recap. We can’t wait to be around each other. If I had a choice, I would love to be paired every week, every day together.”

Their families have been more than accepting of their newfound relationship, with both Hall and O’Toole spending extended time in each other’s hometowns around each other’s relatives. Meeting your significant other’s family can often be a source of anxiety, but that was never the case for Ryann and Georgia as both seem to fit right in with the other’s loved ones.

“My parents have been great. They love and adore Georgia,” said O’Toole. “They like that we have the same career and support for each other. They see her support for me. They see her interest in my life and what I'm doing. They just see how sweet she is. There's a reason why we want to spend every second together and they know that. So, they've been great.”

The pair have taken a few trips to England since they’ve been dating, and Hall finds it entertaining how well her grandmother and O’Toole get along. Even Ryann and her father are the best of buds.

“My Nan is one of my favorite people and my Nan loves Ryann. She’d come through the door and talk to Ryann before me,” Hall said, smiling. “My dad and Ryann will text when I’m on the course. When she watches me, she likes to text my dad and they have some jokes together and I think that's really cute. When we've been in England, we've spent quite a bit of time together, we have gone on walks and stuff with them.

“It's really nice for my family to get to know Ryann. Obviously, they knew she played on Tour, but to spend some time together has been really special. I was in a previous relationship with a woman so they weren’t at all surprised by it.”

The LPGA Tour has always been a safe space for the couple, for both their relationship and their individual journeys with their sexualities. O’Toole became a member in 2011 and throughout her 13-year career, she has never once felt like she couldn’t be herself, hasn’t felt like she needs to hide who she is. In fact, the 36-year-old has had the totally opposite experience.

“It's always been very accepting and open. (There has always been) that stereotypical, oh, like, woman athletes, golfers, oh, they must be gay. There’s actually not a lot. There’s a few of us and stuff like that. But regardless of that, the Tour has always been supportive of in that regard. Never felt against (us) or looked down upon, nothing.

“To be honest, Georgia and I are (one of) the only couples out here, player-player, so to see how that has transpired and people's acceptance of that, it's been really good. It's nice that people see what I feel and what she feels and what I spend every day feeling.”

Though Hall has been shown the same amount of love and support that O’Toole has been given on the LPGA Tour, she does get some question marks from followers on her social-media accounts. The couple is not shy about posting about their relationship online, often highlighting the activities they partake in away from the golf course, and while a large majority of people are overwhelmingly positive, Hall still feels like her sexuality “surprises” some of her fans.

“There are so many comments from people we don't know saying like, ‘So happy for you guys.’ They can see on our faces how happy we are and our love,” Hall said. “Maybe (there are) a few people kind of being like, oh, okay, she's with a woman. That’s basically it. It’s not negative either. I completely get it, you know that people are like, oh, okay, we didn't know that.

“At the end of the day, it's not really for anyone to know. Either way, it's completely up to that person whether they want to share it on social media. A lot of people don't show their straight relationships on social media. But for me, it was something that I found was very important, especially for like the youngsters out there and other people.

“It's important to be true and not have a fake life on social media, to be your own person and to show the world the real you. That’s why I am the way I am on it. I think it's really important for people out there to know that being true to yourself, you’ll always be happiest being that way and there's nothing to be ashamed of or sad about.”

When O’Toole reflects on Pride Month and what it means to her, she echoes Hall’s sentiment.

“I think it's more to bring the awareness and the support to the younger people, or anybody else out there that is scared to come out or scared to be themselves or is in a situation where they feel they can't, to see that there’s a lot more people out there than you think,” she said. “One of the biggest things in life that I've ever learned is being true to yourself and following your heart and finding that happiness. We all deserve to be happy. And there's no reason that no one shouldn't be.”

And that’s what the pair hope that the world sees in their relationship, both on and off the golf course.

“It doesn't matter what you look like, or how you act, or what you feel attracted to. That doesn't matter,” Hall said. “You don't have to look a certain way to be attracted to someone.

“I'm really true to myself. And at the end of the day, if you're an athlete, your performance will improve because you're at peace, I think peace is the number one thing to playing good, whatever sport you do.”

O’Toole says that that peace will also affect your life. “It makes you realize what's important in life. You could put all this effort into your career, all this effort into things that, at the end of the day, aren't gonna be there versus was right in front of you,” she said. “Golf has always meant so much and it was always something that I just put so much effort into and so much of my happiness came from it. But it was maybe because I hadn't met Georgia yet.

“Now I see golf, just like my sexuality, they're just pieces of me. They don't define me.”