Nancy Scranton,45, is a 22-year veteran of the LPGA tour with three career wins. In 2001 shemarried Mark Williams, 42, and three years later gave birth to twins, Libby andLuke, thus becoming the oldest first-time mom in LPGA history. Ever since,Nancy, Mark (who doubles as Nancy's caddie) and the twins have crisscrossed thecountry, usually in a van, traveling from tournament to tournament. "Havingkids out on tour is wild and crazy, and the greatest thing," says Scranton,who is 50th on the LPGA money list. "Surprisingly, it has also been a bighelp to my game, because too much thinking in golf is never good and my mind isusually focused on the kids." To catch the family's juggling act, SI spent10 days with Scranton, Williams and their kids during the week of this summer'sJamie Farr Owens Corning Classic in Sylvania, Ohio.
1 THE LONGHAUL
SATURDAY, JULY 8,GLADSTONE, N.J.
We're finallygoing home [Tampa] a week from Monday. Mark and I are beat, and I feel for thekids. They've had too many microwaved hot dogs and 5:30 a.m. wake-up calls.Plus they miss Orsino, the big white teddy bear in our living room. But firstthere's one more event. We're still in New Jersey--a few days ago I lost toKarrie Webb in the opening round of the HSBC Match Play at Hamilton Farm--andnext up is a trip to the Toledo area for the Jamie Farr Classic, my fourthstraight tournament and the 13th in the last 16 weeks. I'm enjoying playingright now, and at my age I have only so many years left. A lot of the girls ontour thought my career was over when I got pregnant, but having Libby and Lukerejuvenated my game. We tour pros get so wrapped up in ourselves and ourswings. Redirecting that focus to the kids has freed up my mind.
The kids don'tmake a peep during one of our longest one-day drives of the year, a six-hourhaul to Youngstown, Ohio. Their favorite DVD, Discover Spot, is better than atranquilizer.
SUNDAY, JULY 9,YOUNGSTOWN TO SYLVANIA.
We drive anotherthree hours to Sylvania (just northwest of Toledo), arriving at the Wingate Innat noon. Our suite has a bedroom, a living room and a kitchenette. Beforehaving kids, I didn't care where I stayed, but now we can't survive in anythingbut a suite with a microwave and a fridge.
Mark naps withthe kids so I can work--not on my game, but on some ironing (clothes fortomorrow's outing in Jackson, Mich.), some e-mails and on travel plans.Tonight, while Mark is giving the kids a bath, I'll be 60 miles away earning my$3,000 fee by having margaritas at a pre-outing party.
MONDAY, JULY 10,JACKSON, MICH./SYLVANIA.
My careerwould've been over without the LPGA Child Development Center. There are fourcaregivers, and a 24-foot truck driven by one of the caddies hauls toys, cribs,diapers, child-sized tables and chairs, and a TV to 25 tournaments a year. Theyset up in the clubhouse or in a church or school near the course. Of the 28moms (40 children) on tour, I use the day-care center the most because I playso much and Mark is my caddie. We can bring the kids to the center two hoursbefore teeing off and leave them there up to two hours after finishing, andit's free.
I get back fromJackson at 7:30, in time to help put the kids in their jammies, fix two bottlesof milk and plop down on a sofa. With the kids on our laps clutching theirblankies, Mark reads Goodnight Moon before we put them in their cribs and turnon Classical Lullabies, which always knocks them out. Then it's party time!Mark has a beer, I have a glass of wine, and we feast on leftovers.
4 REMEMBERING THESCARE
TUESDAY, JULY 11,SYLVANIA.
We drop off thekids at day care, which is in a church this week, at 9:30 a.m., then play apractice round at Highland Meadows Golf Club. Being alone with Mark reminds mehow grateful I am to have him. I was afraid for his life at this year's U.S.Women's Open. During the first round Mark's heart started racing, andparamedics rushed him to a hospital. The problem was diagnosed assupraventricular tachycardia--the same condition that David Toms and Meg Mallonhave--but doctors told him that he didn't need surgery, and the next day he wasback on the bag.
Tonight at dinner(pepperoni pizza at a mall) I couldn't help but think how much we've changed.Mark and I used to enjoy finding great restaurants. Now we're so boring. YetI'm much happier and am playing some of the best golf of my life.
5 MAKEUP GAME
WEDNESDAY, JULY12, SYLVANIA.
Libby stands upin her crib at 4 a.m., so Mark brings her into our bed and everybody goes backto sleep--until the alarm rings at 4:50 (I tee off in the pro-am at 7:15.) At5:30 Shannon Sebolt, a day-care staffer, comes by so Mark and I can leave forthe course. Times like this remind me how the absence of day-care droveplayer-moms like Myra Blackwelder and Judy Rankin off the tour.
It rains on andoff all morning, and the pro-am is finally canceled. I know the rain will forceday care to cancel a field trip to the Toledo Zoo, and the kids will go anotherday without leaving the church. This afternoon Mark naps with the kids while Ido my favorite chore--laundry--at Super Suds. Back at the hotel, Kristi Albers,who joined the tour in 1986, a year after I did, and her four-year-old, Austin,stop to say hello. They have a baseball, bat and glove. "I wish there wassome grass or a field to play on," says Kristi. "We're just going outto the parking lot."
6 WHY EARLY ISBEST
THURSDAY, JULY13, SYLVANIA.
Juli Inkster toldme when I was pregnant, "The early tee times are easy. It's the late onesthat are hard because you're worn out by the time you get to the course."Juli's words ring in my ears at 5:30 this morning when the kids wake upwailing. Luke has a leaky diaper, Libby is teething, and I don't start thefirst round until 12:40 p.m. Luckily, we all fall back asleep until eight.
I have only onehiccup--a double bogey at the 2nd hole--shoot a two-under 69 and am in 20thplace. I used to replay every shot after a round. No more. We run from the 18thgreen to the van and pick up the kids. After dinner at an Italian restaurant wereturn to the hotel and give the twins a bath. I can't find our baby soap andhave to use a bar of hotel soap, which hurts the kids' eyes. Little things likethat make me wonder if hauling the twins around is fair. Maybe we do have abizarre lifestyle, but Mark and I will never be absentee parents.
FRIDAY, JULY 14,SYLVANIA.
When Mark and Iget up at 5:30 (I have an 8:50 start), I feel bad about having to wake thekids, though I cheer up at the church when I see Ashli Bunch and VickiGoetze-Ackerman already there with their toddlers. At least Libby and Luke havesomebody to play with.
I don't make anyputts, shoot 70 and drop to 22nd. I get a big hug from Chuck Uluhogian. Chuckwas a buddy at Centralia (Ill.) High (class of '79) and drives over every yearfrom Canton, Mich., to watch me play at the Jamie Farr. Seeing Chuck, now abanker who has a daughter, reminds me how much I loved growing up in cozyCentralia (pop. 14,000). I was 15 when I started playing golf. I took lessonsfrom Centralia's only pro--Tom Wargo--and eight years later earned my tourcard. Centralia brings back sad memories, too. I pretty much dropped off thetour in the mid-'90s when I moved back there to care for my parents, who weresuffering from lung cancer and emphysema. Dad died on July 4, 1996, and Mompassed away on May 6, 1997.
Tonight, a friendbabysits while Mark and I do something special: We go to a steak house. Eatingout wasn't such a rarity back in May, when Mark's sister, Jane Williams, camefor a monthlong visit--Mark and Jane are from New Zealand--and helped with thetwins. Having Jane around gave me time to practice.
8 PLANES, TRAINSAND AUTOMOBILES
SATURDAY, JULY15, SYLVANIA.
Handling thefamily's travel plans is almost a full-time job. This morning I go online, booka car for our drive tomorrow night to an outing I'm doing on Monday in Akron,then talk to Katie Lutchkus, the day-care staffer, to confirm a complicatedplan for our trip home. After the final round of the Farr tomorrow, we'remeeting Katie at the Toledo airport, where we'll rent a car and drive to Akronwhile Katie drives our car to Detroit and then flies home to Fort Lauderdale.Next month we'll fly to London, Ont., for the Canadian Women's Open. Katie willpick up our car in Detroit and meet us in London.
My 4:40 p.m.start gets pushed back an hour because of rain, so I have time to burn. Havingnothing to do feels weird. I'm on the 13th tee and even par for the day whenthey blow the horn and call the round. Darn! There's an hour of daylight left,and I want to finish so we can sleep in tomorrow. Oh, well. That'll happen inmy next life--maybe.
9 RUNNING HOT
SUNDAY, JULY 16,SYLVANIA/AKRON.
It's 6:15 a.m.,and lying in bed I think how different my life has become. I was married oncebefore, for four years in the late-'80s, but after the divorce it seemed as ifmeeting Mr. Right would never happen. Then I met Mark at the 2000 Evian Mastersin France. A member of the New Zealand PGA, he was a rules official on theAustralian tour moonlighting as a caddie on the women's European tour. We gotengaged at the 2001 Women's British Open and were married that December. Markwas against having kids, but I wanted them. He capitulated under the conditionthat getting pregnant would have to happen naturally. We got lucky.
At 7:15 a.m. wecheck out of the hotel and drop the twins at day care. I par the last six holesof the third round, but on the 17th hole of the final round make a double-bogeyand finish 20th, 14 shots behind the winner, Mi Hyun Kim, earning $10,960. I'mhot coming off the course--I should've done better than four under par--but myanger melts at day care when the kids jump into my arms. We go straight to theToledo airport, meet Katie, rent a car and hit the road for Akron.
MONDAY, JULY 17,AKRON/ CLEVELAND/TAMPA.
I have an 8:40a.m. time for my outing at Firestone and get up quietly at 6:15 so Mark and thekids can sleep. (We use carts at outings, so Mark gets the day off.) My teamgoes nine under, and we each win a $50 American Express gift certificate. I buyMark a shirt in the pro shop. Afterward we drive the 40 miles to Cleveland forour two-hour flight to Tampa. It feels so good to get off the plane and seeSandy Jones, our next-door neighbor and the mother-in-law of LPGA player DawnCoe-Jones, in baggage claim. Sandy, whom we call Grammy, is here to pick usup.
When we walk intoour house at 10 o'clock, I let out a huge sigh of relief. Finally, the kidswill get to sleep in their own beds, run circles around Orsino and play on theputting green in Grammy's backyard. Home, sweet home never felt so good.
[This articlecontains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]
The Mommy Track
Just two of the28 LPGA players with children are among the top 30 on the 2006 money list, andJuli Inkster and Pat Hurst are the only moms with a win this year. Here are thetop 10 moms this season.
|1. Juli Inkster||46||$1,220,265 (6th)||Hayley, 16; Cori, 12|
|2. Pat Hurst||37||$1,113,467 (7th)||Jackson, 7; Reilly, 4|
|3. Laura Diaz||31||$337,739 (34th)||Cooper, 10 months|
|4. Patricia Meunier-Lebouc||33||$277,780 (43rd)||Phildine, 2|
|5. Nancy Scranton||45||$238,891 (50th)||Libby and Luke, 22 months|
|6. Carin Koch||35||$197,639 (60th)||Oliver, 7; Simzon, 3|
|7. Becky Iverson||39||$128,466 (74th)||Emma, 3|
|8. Jackie Gallagher-Smith||38||$93,901 (88th)||O'Connor, 19 months|
|9. Janice Moodie||33||$92,703 (90th)||Craig, seven weeks|
|10. Vicki Goetze-Ackerman||34||$81,884 (94th)||Jacob, 13 months|