GOLF

Blair O’Neal talks about her fertility issues

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There’s been a lot of mum talk about the LPGA lately, and at the season opener Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions, which extends to the Celebrity Division, where Blair O’Neal plans to compete. for the first time as a mother of two.

O’Neal, who is due to have his second son Dec. 3, plans to compete Jan. 19-22 at Lake Nona Golf and Country Club in Orlando. The event brings together LPGA winners and 50 celebrities, with former professional athletes including Major League Baseball stars John Smoltz, Roger Clemens and Justin Verlander, NFL Hall of Famer Marcus Allen and country music stars Toby Keith and Lee Brice.

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Danielle Kang won the 2022 edition by three strokes over Brooke Henderson.

For a time, O’Neal was the only woman to compete in the TOC’s celebrity division until LPGA Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam, another mother of two, started playing few years ago. Sorenstam lost in the playoffs last January to former MLB pitcher Derek Lowe.

O’Neal, 41, played collegiate golf at Arizona State and began a modeling career after college. In 2010, she won the Golf Channel’s Big Break in the Dominican Republic, then played on the Symetra circuit for several seasons before joining the show “School of Golf” in 2015.

In 2020, O’Neal competed in OCD while six months pregnant with son Chrome and finished sixth, playing from the same set of tees as the men.

Blair O’Neal reports that his son Chrome is obsessed with golf. (courtesy photo)

For O’Neal and her husband Jeff Keiser, growing their family has been a challenge. It took O’Neal several years to become pregnant with Chrome, undergoing six IUI (intrauterine insemination) procedures before experiencing success.

This time around, after a series of three IUI procedures, the couple decided to undergo IVF last spring. After the first embryo transfer failed, O’Neal fell ill with West Nile virus last fall.

“I thought I was dying,” she said, “It was awful.”

After O’Neal’s recovery, the couple was on their last frozen embryo.

“We had to agree that if it didn’t work, it was fine,” O’Neal said. “It was just the path we were meant to be on. I feel like once we got to this point and didn’t expect everything to be perfect, it made us a little calmer, made us a little happier all along throughout the process, that everything would be fine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 1 in 5 women with no previous births in the United States struggle with infertility, although this is a subject that is not often talked about.

O’Neal said they didn’t tell anyone in their family about fertility treatments the first time around.

“I understand when people don’t talk about it,” O’Neal said, “because it’s so sensitive and you don’t want to have to explain yourself all the time when it’s not working. It’s like announcing bad news when you are already dealing with it yourself.

When she got pregnant, O’Neal shared the happy news on social media. The ugly comments and body shaming that followed, however, were the worst she had ever experienced on social platforms. O’Neal said she shared less this time around, “just because, who wants that?”

She reports that her son Chrome is obsessed with golf. His simple mantra “see the ball, see the hole” would be most helpful.

This week, O’Neal will be on hand to host Viva! Las Vegas Members Pro-am on September 19-20 at the Bali Hai Golf Club. O’Neal, who already has her “School of Golf” shows taped for the rest of the year, has always seen herself as a working mom.

At TOC in Orlando, organizers announced a three-night private concert series that will include En Vogue, Grammy-winning country-pop star Maren Morris, pop star Ellie Goulding and Paris Hilton.

“I’m going to do everything in my power to be there,” O’Neal said of the LPGA’s biggest party.

It’s a family tradition.

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