LAKE BUENA VISTA, Florida – It’s a week of firsts for Blair O’Neal at the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions. First time competing since giving birth to son Chrome last April. First time traveling as a family of three.
“He’s been a rock star,” O’Neal said of nine-month-old Chrome. “I was the one who was a wreck.”
Typically, O’Neal, 39, is the only woman in the celebrity division of the TOC and last year. While competing six months pregnant, she finished sixth playing from the same set of tees as the men. Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz has won the celebrity title the past two years.
“My belly was so big,” she said, laughing. “I look back and I’m like I can’t believe I played that many rounds and played as well as I did, and how big I was and how pregnant I was.”
This year, O’Neal is joined by LPGA Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam, a fellow Diamond Resorts ambassador. The pair talked about motherhood during Tuesday’s pro-am party. Sorenstam, a mother of two, started her family after retiring from the tour in 2008.
O’Neal, a former Symetra Tour player turned model and TV personality, said she has played less golf since giving birth to Chrome than she did while she was pregnant. She’s taking it in stride, noting that a top-10 finish at Tranquilo Golf Club is always a good goal for this week. Her work on Golf Channel’s “School of Golf” sometimes comes in handy too.
“Out here on the golf course today I hit a sand shot and I had a crazy lie, plugged a little bit,” said O’Neal. “I said to my caddie, my husband, ‘Oh, we did a tip on this shot yesterday! This is good.’”
With O’Neal’s husband, Jeff Keiser, on the bag again this week her sister and fiancé are looking after Chrome.
Other playing moms in this week’s field include Brittany Lincicome and Stacy Lewis, who won for the first time as a mom last year at the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open.
“I definitely look up to all the women out on tour who are juggling both,” said the Arizona-based O’Neal. “Being a mom is a full-time job, and it does change your perspective on things. But I also think it can help you too. You want to do good for your baby and be a good role model for your kids. … You’re still the same person you were before you had that child. There’s just a lot more love in your life.”
original article link https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2021/01/20/celebrity-blair-oneal-competing-for-the-first-time-as-a-mom-at-lpga-diamond-resorts/