Winning one of golf’s four sought-after majors each year can be a life-changing event for a PGA professional, sometimes taking an unknown to folk-hero status or simply adding one more piece of hardware to an already-great’s mantle. Members of a golfer’s family also feel the effects of that winning — or not winning.
Such was the case for Carl Pettersson‘s two children in August 2012 at the PGA Championship in Kiawah Island, S.C. Pettersson had held the lead after the first round and a share of the lead after 36 holes. But on Sunday, he couldn’t catch Rory McIlroy, who went on to win the championship by eight strokes. Pettersson, who graduated from NC State in 2000, finished tied for third, his best finish at a major during his 12-year career on the PGA Tour.
“We told our kids if Carl ever won a major, we’d get them a dog,” says DeAnna Pettersson, Carl’s wife and herself an NC State alumna. “So at the PGA, they were like, ‘Come on, Dad.'”
It’s not often that you get to hear stories of the golfers away from the course. But DeAnna Pettersson, along with other wives who belong to the PGA Tour Wives Association, have now pulled back the ropes, so to speak, and have offered readers a glimpse of PGA professionals at home with their families in the book Beyond the Fairways and Greens: A Look Inside the Lives of PGA Tour Families.
The book features 132 golfing families, from Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player to some of the youngest players on tour today. And there are some recipes included in the book, as well, to offer a taste of the golfers’ homes. All the proceeds from the book go back to the PGA Tour Wives Association and then go to all the charities they donate to through the year.
Pettersson says what’s interesting to her about the book is that it helps readers understand that PGA golfers and their families are like other families trying to juggle professional and private worlds. “Most people think it’s an extremely glamorous life, going to what oftentimes is a resort property,” she says. “But it’s a work week. We’re doing the exact same thing on the road. The laundry. The kids still have to go to school. It’s a job. And it’s a wonderful job.”
She says the PGA tour makes it easy for family and professional lives to intersect, adding that there’s a kinship among golf families. “We all feel like we’re family.”
The Petterssons first met at East Village in 2000 when they were both at NC State — Carl, a Wolfpack golfer and CHASS major studying communication, and DeAnna, a CHASS major with a focus on textiles. They dated for a couple of years after graduation while Carl played on the European Tour and commuted to London. The couple married in 2003 and settled in Raleigh, and DeAnna soon started traveling with Carl to all the PGA events. These days, she still travels with him to the almost 30 events he plays a year, and they often bring along their daughter, Carlie, who is 9, and son. Chase, who is 6.
DeAnna laughs about being married to someone who plays golf, a sport she had no involvement with until she met Carl. And she says that the she’s grown more superstitious in her 14 years with him. “The longer we’re together, the more I’m involved emotionally and physically,” she says. “I’ve become more superstitious. I’m like ‘I was chewing gum and he bogeyed. Maybe I need to get rid of the gum.’…If he’s eaten eggs with Tabasco and he has six birdies, then we’re eating eggs with Tabasco sauce the rest of the week.”
The ups and downs of the golfing life are not lost on DeAnna Pettersson, and she realizes the magic can leave the golfer’s putter on the next hole or in the next round. That’s why Carl and DeAnna finally caved two months ago and got Carlie and Chase a chocolate lab named Grace.
Maybe a victory in a major tournament will come next.