I played tennis, basketball and football with the guys in the neighborhood growing up, but the only actual team I played on was baseball. I gave that up around 13. I knew playing boys baseball wasn't going to take me too far, so I focused on golf.
I started golf when I was 9. It was just fun to go out and hit the ball with my dad and two older brothers. We used to play at this little course at night. They had lights, and every hole was less than 100 yards. It was really carefree.
The middle school days
My dad worked with me for a while on my swing, and then I had a coach starting at 12. Even now, my dad is with me every day of the week. He's always been good with not pressuring or forcing me to do anything. If I didn't want to play one day, he didn't make me play. Or if I was playing bad, he would put the clubs away for a couple of days.
Dad always said junior golf cost $60,000 a year, and I did it for roughly five years. Whatever tournaments I played, we drove to on the East Coast to save money. When you're a junior, you're struggling and you can't afford anything, and then when you turn pro, everything's given to you. It's so backwards! I'm not sure whether my dad took out any loans, but I would imagine yes. Junior golf was not cheap.
The high school years
Anytime I was entered into a tournament, there was definitely pressure. I remember the first tournament I played in, I was really nervous. When I got a little older, like 14, I was playing junior tournaments every weekend, and I would take it a little bit more seriously.
I don't ever really think I knew I had pro potential until it happened. During high school, I was trying to figure out what I should do, and I kind of decided that I was going to try to turn pro. When you're in high school and watching Annika Sorenstam or Lorena Ochoa on TV, you're like, man, that'd be cool to do that one day. But you never know -- so many girls try and they never make it. I tried, and I did it. It was a blessing.