Twenty years ago, that’s exactly what amateur Brenda Cory Cohn – eight months pregnant – did at the US Open Women’s Championships at Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club alongside partner Jennifer Gregin, who was in her second trimester.
However, the mother-of-three finished off a birdie and defied her obstetrician and gynecologist, who thought she was too close to schedule to be on a golf course in the 80-degree heat.
I told her: Over my dead body. I qualified for this, worked hard to get there, and I’m going to play.”
A week later, her daughter Rachel was born, and her 56-year-old mother will inspire others to get on with life when your tummy and your doctors tell you no.
“It wasn’t pretty,” said the nine-time US Open veteran. “I don’t remember what you did, but there’s a point near the end of your pregnancy where you grow up really fast.”
“I think it happened between the qualifying time for the World Open and the actual event itself, and it’s hard to fire my hips with the extra weight, so my swing changed and I couldn’t hit it very far.
“A lot of people have asked me: ‘How can you play like this? “What I was trying to show was that it was part of life, I had some physical limitations and after the US Open I played in a carriage at home before Rachel was born.
“What I was trying to show was just because you’re pregnant, and unless you have a medical condition, you can do the same things you did before pregnancy and after giving birth. That was my message.”
With such golf genes – Cory-Cohn’s mother was a Venezuelan national hero and so was her father – it’s no wonder Rachel followed in her mother’s footsteps to the famous Wake Forest University in North Carolina where she also excels in golf, barely missing the opportunity. in the Augusta Amateur National Final in Augusta earlier this year.
She has the most ardent supporter in her mother, and her advice to any pregnant golfer is to watch how long you spend training on the greens.
“It affected my distances a lot. Imagine having a 30-pound ball in front of you and trying to release your hips, you’d lose your balance. So my swing became very arms-length and rhythmic.”
“But there’s no reason not to make a short game good – although you can’t sit back and play for long because your back is killing you.”
Three-time lead champ Nancy Lopez has three daughters and won events while pregnant in the ’80s and ’90s.
In 2003, Frenchwoman Patricia Meunier-Leboc played the Solheim Cup four months pregnant, and took some helpful advice from Karin Koch, the Swede who played the 2002 tournament at 12 weeks old.
In 2005, Laura Diaz and Eben Tenning met at the Biennale, the American Diaz is six months pregnant and Dan Tenning is 16 weeks pregnant.
In the world of long-distance driving tournaments, Lisa ‘Longball’ Vlooswyk became the first female competitor to throw her extra weight into the most number of rides in the game.
In turn, it inspired five-time world champion Sandra Karlborg of Sweden, who was running over 300 yards in the 2019 championships when she was 24 weeks pregnant with her daughter Ibba.
“We had a medical tent because it was really hot that day, and the doctor would cool me down with snow between sets,” Karlburg told CNN.
“I felt safe and he said, ‘As long as you feel comfortable, it’s okay.” I promised him if I felt anything uncomfortable, I’d stop competing,” said the 37-year-old, who hit 80 full-tilt balls that day at 401 yards, a five-times world record.
Now Karlborg is expecting her second daughter, who is due in September, and she has used the Covid-19 lockdowns to start a podcast called PowerMamas in Sweden to help empower new mothers.
“I’m getting weaker and weaker again so I’m really looking forward to getting back as a strong player for next year. My goal is to be my strongest – stronger than I’ve ever been and swing faster than I ever have been.”
“A lot of people say that women are stronger after they become a mother.”
Karlburg gets some of her positive outlook from the way her sponsors initially took the news that she was having her first child.
“It’s a big difference nowadays. I was so nervous when I told my sponsors I was pregnant with an EPA, wondering what they would say, but I think this has been a huge change in the past few years, in all sports.
“I’m glad we don’t live 10 to 15 years ago, people used to always say, ‘When you have kids, you’re out of your sport.’ I hope more ladies will think that having kids won’t stop them from being top-level athletes.”
Former Great Britain rower Buzz Moffat founded Well HQ earlier in 2021 with two physicians — one of whom, Dr. Emma Ross, wrote a chapter on women and pregnancies in golf as part of a healthy math textbook.
“Pregnancy and postpartum recovery in sports is really a really new thing. Brenda is real for once,” Moffat told CNN.
“Only since Serena Williams came out in 2014 has this become something more important, in terms of more women having children in their careers – rather than just pushing their careers to the point where they want to have children and that being the number one reason they’re retiring from the sport.”
Moffat, a mother of two who trained with the Olympic team for Great Britain between 2004 and 2008, said the change has been massive since her day as an elite athlete after the Beijing Olympics.
“I don’t think there were any mothers in the international sports world at the time. A few people tried to leave, have children and come back again, in four years, but the support systems weren’t there.
“If the number one reason women leave their sports early is to have children, how can we support them throughout? It’s not perfect now, but there are examples of women doing it fantastically.”
Even parity one day, little bird the next
Back at Wake Forest University, Quinn’s teammate Emilia Miliachio talks about American amateur golf after playing the playoff in Augusta, but lost to 17-year-old Japanese star Tsubasa Kagitani.
Like Kuehn, her mother was also an amazing talent. Ulrika Migliaccio represented the University of Arizona and also played alongside fellow Swede and 10-time winner Annika Sørenstam.
So when Ulrika donned Augusta’s iconic white cauldron suit to her daughter’s caddy in April, it made Emilia gush with pride thinking of her mother as a golfer, not least playing the game while pregnant.
“I think the day before I hosted my mom, I played a round of golf and shot evenly,” the 22-year-old told CNN, with a big smile on her face.
She was playing with two men who looked at each other and said, ‘Really? Are we playing this pregnant lady? “Then I completely tore it apart!”
Growing up aspiring to play the sport professionally, Migliacchio has shouldered his shoulders in team events with the likes of Patti Tavatanakit, Colin Morikawa, Jennifer Kupshaw and Victor Hovland and plays the game to a level most people can only dream of.
However, she decided to follow in her mother’s footsteps not to join the professional ranks.
“She didn’t like living out of her suitcase, and decided a professional path wouldn’t be right for her. When I was wondering about my career path, my mom shared her experience and gave me a lot of guidance.”
Like Ulrika Migliaccio that day on the court, Carlborg has a lesson for some male golfers, too.
“Back in 2019, when I was 30 weeks pregnant I was telling guys on one occasion not to complain about their big bellies, they don’t stop you from getting it too far!
“So I hope to inspire a lot of people from pregnancy.”