MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Some of the best golfers in the world are in Minnesota this week. And quite a few of them have something other than golf in common– they are working mothers.
The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship tees off Thursday in Chaska. It’s one of five majors.
Right now there are 11 mothers on the LPGA tour. Just like for every mom, the struggle is real. But here on tour, it seems the solution is real, too.
For most, this is a spectator sport. But for the 156 women competing at Hazeltine this week, this is their full-time job.
“Our schedules are a little more erratic than a nine-to-five job,” explained Piller. “We may have an early tee time, a late tee time– last week we had all kinds of rain and rain delays.”
Gerina Mendoza Piller has been a pro since 2011.
Her husband Martin plays on the men’s tour, and last year they took on new roles as parents to a baby boy.
“He’s into everything: walking, running, kinda talking, dancing. He loves golf– shocker!” Piller said.
Piller came back on tour in February, and their son Ajai is now 1.
“It was kind of scary at first. You don’t know if you’re going to be able to come back and if you do, if you are still going to be able to compete at the highest level,” Piller explained.
But she’s back, enjoying Hazeltine– and her son is enjoying a unique childcare experience. The LPGA has a program sponsored by Smucker’s that allows three full-time nannies to travel on the tour.
“You can travel with your kid and you leave them, they go play– it’s just kind of like you are at home and you are taking them to a daycare or preschool,” Piller said.
Just last year, seven of the pros had babies. So the program is getting good use.
“I don’t really even consider them babysitters. I consider them family because they do love our kids like their own,” Piller said.
She says it gives a peace of mind that keeps their golf game strong and their mom game even stronger– a game she knows is quite personal.
“I’d just encourage moms that whatever you are doing, it’s the right thing,” Piller said.