Tonya McCall: How This Mom Returned to Golf on Reality TV
Attention sports fans! This Monday marks the premiere of the 21st season of The Golf Channel’s reality television competition Big Break Florida. Golf pro Tonya McCall is the only competitor also known as “Mommy” to her kids (Molly, 3, and Mason, 20 months). Parents caught up with Tonya about getting back into the sport, filming for reality TV, and what she hopes her kids will learn from her path to pursue her dreams.
P: What ultimately made you decide to switch from being a full-time mom and return to your golfing career?
TM: Going back into golf was just something that I’ve always been very passionate about. Some people say, “When I go work out I’m in such a better mood,” and that’s how golf makes me. I can go out and hit balls for an hour and then I come home and I’m a much happier person. It’s like my therapy, so to speak. It’s just healthy for being a mom and a wife.
P: What will you miss most about being a full-time mom?
TM: With Mason I was able to see his first step, I was able to be there for his first word—well, with both of them. At Mason’s age there are just so many new things every week. Now that Molly’s older, there are not as many new things. She’s like a person now. I was very fortunate I was able to stay home with both of them for such a big part of their young life. I’ll miss that small stuff. It really does make a difference as a mom.
P: On the flip side, with this new chapter in your life what are you most excited about?
TM: Finding who I am again. This always sounds so bad, I don’t want to make it sound bad, but I can be a little bit more me-driven. Looking at the broad perspective of what I can do for my family by doing what I love and doing what I do well. I’m excited about putting my time into my career and my golf because I know the life and everything that it could give to my children. If I can create a better life for them, that’s always the ultimate goal. Also, to show my kids that with hard work no matter the obstacles that you overcome, you can always do what you love if you stick with it.
P: What, if anything, is your message to young athletes, especially female athletes?
TM: Don’t be afraid to take time off to have your children. And to spend those young years with them because it’s not like golf—it won’t always be there. The kids are only young once and I’m so thankful that I was able to be there with them. Don’t be afraid of the unknown.
P: What was it like being the only mom in the Big Break competition?
TM: It was really mature. I didn’t get into this drama stuff. There was one girl that was older than me, but I was the only one with children. I think after you have children, your whole perspective of friends and family changes. I also think in the back of my mind was “What do I want my children to look up to?” I wanted to act the way that I would want my daughter to be raised, I guess. Having Molly in the back of my mind at all times was kind of like “How would she view this?” I wanted her to look at her mom and think “I want to be like Mom.”
P: Being sequestered without cell phones and everything during taping, what was it like to be away from your family during that time?
TM: If it wasn’t for something I loved, it would’ve been a nightmare. I was away for almost three weeks and I wasn’t able to see them. I tried to do everything I could to remind myself of the kids. There is a fun story about my logo: When Molly made her first M, she made a big M and then kept it going into two M’s. With Molly and Mason I thought, “Oh my gosh!” So I always marked my ball with two M’s in pink. When I came back, I sprinted off the plane, ran down the escalators, and Molly and Mason were there. Those hugs made it all worth it.
P: Do you hope to cultivate a love of golf or sports in your kids?
TM: Absolutely. I think golf for me, with the discipline, the self-honesty, and the small things that you learn, it makes you mature very quickly. Not that they need to. I want them to be kids. Whatever they choose to do I’m okay with. We had a couple free classes for Molly for gymnastics and she loved it. Anytime I see her enjoying something, I’m going to try to capture that and put her into whatever it is. Same with Mason. I want them to enjoy life. I do like sports; I think it kept [me and my brother] out of trouble.
P: When your kids are old enough to watch and understand the show, what do you hope they learn from it?
TM: My dad always said, “Take good from what you see in us and throw the rest out.” I just hope when they do watch it, they understand that they can take away good. I hope that they can respect me more as a mom seeing what I was doing away from them, trying to pursue what I love. I hope it inspires them.
Photograph: Courtesy Golf Channel
Big Break Florida premieres Monday, February 24 on the Golf Channel 9pmEST. Check your local listings.
Tonya said that working out while she was pregnant made huge different in getting back in shape after baby. Check out this video for a safe and easy pregnancy workout.Add a Comment