At first I craved spaghetti and meatballs. As my pregnancy progressed—I'm now at 25 weeks—it got harder for me to swing a golf club the usual way. I could relate to all the guys out there with beer bellies. My front kept growing, which meant my arms got farther and farther away, which meant my swing plane was always changing. But there I was last week at the Solheim Cup, the biggest tournament of my life. I'd never miss the chance to represent my country in my home state of Ohio on a course built by the greatest golfer ever, Jack Nicklaus. My friend JoAnne Carner might be golf's Big Mama, but I'm Big-Mama-to-Be.
Our team captain, Judy Rankin, didn't want to pressure me to play, but an O.K. from my obstetrician and my strong play at last month's State Farm Rail Classic convinced Judy that I was ready to go. Being pregnant has lowered my endurance—18 holes a day is about my limit—but it can help, too. My new, lower center of gravity helps me stay down and hit through the ball. I've also found that I play better giving 80% effort. I used to get too aggressive, going all-out all the time, but if you watch Annika Sorenstam and Se Ri Pak swing, you'll see that they stay within themselves. With them, and with me lately, every swing is smooth and easy. The difference is that they didn't have to go through mood swings and morning sickness to figure that out.
My doctor told my husband, Bill, and me that our baby will probably be a girl. If so, I will name her Tina Marie after my sister, who was also my best friend. She died with her two sons in a 1982 auto accident. I still miss her, but it cheers me up to think of the future, when my baby's grandmas and grandpas, aunts, uncles and cousins will all tell her, "Tina Marie, we remember when you and your mommy played the Solheim Cup together."