I’ve been married to my wife Sarah Bowman, who is also my caddie, since November of 2020 and our union is more accepted now than at any point in history. People view us now as married people. We aren’t the “gay couple,” we’re the couple, just like any other. That’s a big jump from just a few years ago and lightyears from where society was when I was a kid.
I’m 42 now and have been on the LPGA Tour for 19 years. When I was a rookie, my friends and family knew that I was gay. But it wasn’t something that I publicized. I didn’t want to alienate any potential sponsors and didn’t want to put any of my existing sponsors in an awkward spot. I wasn’t closeted. I just lived my life quietly, keeping my orientation out of the public eye.
Even that was better than the way society viewed us when I was young. I noticed when I was 15 years old that I was finding women more attractive than men. I tried not to think about it, but it was always there. My last year of junior golf, when I was 17, I realized it more. It’s hard because you’re a kid and having feelings that you don’t understand. But who can you tell? I was raised Catholic where the teachings were clear: homosexuality is a sin. My grandparents and parents went to Mass and followed the precepts of their faith, so I couldn’t talk to them. I already knew what the priests would say. And this isn’t exactly a conversation that you have with teenaged friends.
Then when I went to college. I was really confused because I was dating men and afraid to date a woman. I knew I wanted to; I knew by then that I was strongly attracted to women, but at that time there was an inherent fear. A fear of rejection; a fear of discrimination; a fear of being shut out and closed off from the relationships that mattered most to me at the time. And there was, at times, a palpable fear of physical harm. There were still parts of the United States and Canada where you could be assaulted because of your sexual orientation. So, in addition to all the other things a college freshman goes through, I battled all those questions, feeling, and fears.