Every once in a while when my wife is having a rough day, she'll sigh and say, "I went to college to travel around and watch you play golf?"
I can't blame her for feeling frustrated. No little girl thinks to herself, "Gee, I'd like to grow up and marry a pro golfer and sacrifice my own career so that I can follow him around from tournament to tournament for weeks on end." But that's what my wife Jennifer did. When she married me, she also hitched herself to my dream to be a PGA golfer.
We're both from Knoxville and we've known each other since we were five years old. We started dating in 7th grade. After our wedding in 2007, we left for our honeymoon in Puerto Vallarta. It was perfect -- except I had to bring my clubs with me to practice. The very next day after we returned home, I had to leave for a tournament.
Initially she looked for jobs and planned to work at home -- I wasn't sure I'd be able to raise enough money from investors and sponsors my first year to support the two of us on the road. But then a generous donor met the two of us and decided that he wanted to help us stay together, so he gave us enough money to cover both of our travel expenses.
Life on the road
Now her schedule completely revolves around mine -- and there's absolutely no way I could do what I do every day without her.
Our "home" is technically in Knoxville but during the season we're often away for three months at a time. Every week we're in a different city. Now that I'm on the PGA Tour and so much of my schedule is up in the air, travel planning is a complicated business. Some weeks I need to have up to five different flight itineraries on hold -- depending on how I finish, I could wind up in a different city. Jen does all of this for us.
It took us a while to figure out how to manage this whole thing together. In the beginning, I'd find out about a schedule change and then forget to tell her about it until the last minute. I only had to do that a couple times before I learned that I should never do it again. (It helps that now we use MobileMe, which syncs our emails and calendars together.)
I'm not exaggerating when I say that Jen does all of the behind-the-scenes tasks that really never get any recognition. Sure, I'm the one who's playing golf but without her I probably wouldn't eat regular meals, wear clean clothes, or even show up to the right golf course in the right city at the right time.
Making time for the marriage
She has made a huge sacrifice for me and though there's no way that I can repay her, we have come up with a few small ways to make sure that it's not all about me all the time. When I'm done with a round for the day, if I must vent about my game, I'll only do it for a few minutes. Then, I put away my clubs and we don't talk about golf again for the rest of the day.
One day each week, I don't play any golf, so I'll put away my iPhone and she gets to decide what we do. It can be anything -- sometimes we'll go for a hike, go shopping, or do some tourist activity wherever we are. Other times all she wants to do is go to a coffee shop and we'll just sit there and enjoy each other's company. The deal is, I'll go along with anything.
Today -- Valentine's Day -- I did have to play early this morning, but the rest of the day is hers. (I've just been informed that this means we'll be spending the afternoon at Ikea, followed by a low-key dinner out that must include an awesome dessert. Done.)
Today we're in L.A., tomorrow Palm Springs, and next week it's Mexico. It is a truly crazy life that we live, but we have been blessed to be able to do it together.
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