Stacy Lewis is surprised how active she is on maternity leave as she gets ready to welcome her first child into the world.
Yes, the only American to win the Rolex Player of the Year Award over the last 24 years – twice, actually – is following what’s happening in the LPGA, but not too closely.
“I definitely keep track, but I don’t watch that much,” Lewis told GolfChannel.com on Friday. “I’m not really missing it, to be honest. The way my body is now, I can’t imagine trying to play.”
Lewis left the tour after the Marathon Classic last month. She is a little more than seven months pregnant. She is due to deliver a baby girl on Nov. 3.
“I don’t know why, but I’ve been really busy,” Lewis said.
Busy filming a documentary about her life and her battle overcoming scoliosis (Stacy’s Gift), which will air Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on the SEC Network . . .
Busy helping the St. Bernard Project rebuild homes destroyed by Hurricane Harvey with the first-place check that she donated after winning the Cambia Portland Classic last year . . .
Busy painting and decorating a nursery in her and husband Gerrod Chadwell’s Houston home. . .
“I don’t even think about playing,” Lewis said.
Don’t take that to mean she isn’t thinking about embarking on a great adventure with her daughter next year, because that’s in the works.
Lewis, 33, is devoting herself to welcoming her baby into the world, and then showing her the world. She’s tentatively planning to make her return to golf in the LPGA’s new season opener in Orlando at the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions event in January. She wants her daughter there with her.
“I’m kind of motivated to prove to myself that I can do this, and do it with a family,” Lewis said. “I enjoy a challenge, and I guess I see this as a challenge, too.”
Lewis is a 12-time LPGA winner, with two majors to her credit. She won’t lack motivation in her return, wanting to inspire her daughter with examples of what’s possible in life.
Lewis says she isn’t as interested in a return to No. 1 as she is hoisting more trophies.
“I want to be able to win tournaments,” Lewis said. “That’s the biggest thing. I’m so competitive, and I don’t think that will ever change. I intend to play as long as I feel like I can give myself a chance to win. That’s really my main goal.”
Lewis has been talking to Gerina Piller about their comebacks. They’re both part of the tour’s new baby boom, with Piller giving birth to her first child, a boy, in April. Suzann Pettersen is also expected back early next year after giving birth to a boy two weeks ago.
The Smuckers sponsored LPGA day care center could be bustling at the Diamond Resorts next January.
“Assuming everything goes OK, we will use that event as a test run, to kind of see how things go,” Lewis said. “I would like to play, just to get that travel thing down, and get into a routine with the baby and then kind of figure out things as we go.
“I don’t know what to expect. I don’t know how it’s going to be. People have told me how it’s going to be, but, until you go through it, you don’t really know.”
Piller and Lewis have bonded as Solheim Cup partners. With Piller ahead of Lewis in this baby adventure, they’ve been planning.
“It’s kind of fun to go through this together, to get some advice from Gerina, to kind of follow her lead,” Lewis said.
But golf is down the road, not sharply in Lewis’ focus right now. She’s too busy building homes, literally and figuratively.
It’s the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Harvey’s landfall this week. Even with an unborn child in tow, Lewis got up on a ladder Thursday and helped the St. Bernard Project in a 24-hour build. She joined her mother, Carol, and a friend, helping with drywall and other projects.
So much fun today helping @SBPUSA kick off a 24 hour build! Even did some work myself, learned how to install insulation and drywall! Great to work with the volunteers from @ATT too! #Harvey pic.twitter.com/oPJKDIwwVa— Stacy Lewis (@Stacy_Lewis) August 23, 2018
Lewis earmarked the $195,000 first-place check she won in Portland to specific families, through the St. Bernard Project. Last week, Lewis helped welcome home the first family to benefit from her donation. She welcomed the Cardenas family back to their rebuilt house.
“I’ve got another five houses going right now,” Lewis said. “I wanted to make sure the money I donated went to the right places and the right people.”
About 10 families are having their homes rebuilt with Lewis’ donation.
“For me to be able to track it throughout this whole process, from selecting the Cardenas family, to seeing it finally done, was really rewarding,” Lewis said. “The families are so appreciative. That’s the one thing that really struck me.”
Someday, Lewis hopes to share with her daughter the story of what her winning did for Houston. She would love for her daughter to see her win, too. She would love to build those kinds of memories as a family.