As the rain hammered down on TPC Scottsdale this week and fans fled to find cover, retired U.S. women’s soccer star Carli Lloyd trudged towards a muddy ravine on No. 5, unperturbed. While other members of her group went on the cart path to avoid the mud, Lloyd and PGA Tour golfer Nick Taylor were the only players who risked ruining their shoes.
Even as the rain threatened to loosen her grip on the club, Lloyd hit a smooth pitch shot that stopped about 10 feet away from the pin. The two-time World Cup winner smiled and passed her wedge to caddie and husband, Brian Hollins.
“Golf is a great way to stay involved in a sport. My husband plays so it’s something we can do together,” Lloyd said before play was suspended at the Annexus Pro-Am of the WM Phoenix Open. “I just want to get to the point where I can comfortably play a round of golf and be good one day.”
Lloyd staying in great shape
While Lloyd has been retired from professional soccer for over two years, her competitive nature and desire to improve have not diminished. In 2023, she was featured on the inaugural season of Fox’s “Special Forces: World’s Toughest Test,” in which 16 recruits were thrust into rigorous training exercises meant to mimic those of the U.S. Special Forces. Lloyd won the challenge, beating out athletes like former NBA star Dwight Howard and former NFL wide receiver Danny Amendola.
While training for golf isn’t exactly the same as training for the special forces, it still comes with its challenges, she said.
“It’s a really hard sport but I’m staying with it,” Lloyd said.
Hollins, a professional golfer, has been teaching his wife the game and said even in a sport that is relatively new to her, he loves that Lloyd still maintains her fierce attitude.
Carli Lloyd of NJ/NY Gotham FC, is seen as she plays against Racing Louisville FC in the second half during the Gotham FC final at the Red Bull Arena in Harrison on 10/31/21.
Competition on the course, coming soon
“We’re always competitive in everything that we do, whether it’s shooting basketballs or playing golf,” Hollins said. “I obviously can’t beat her in soccer.”
While the two aren’t competing in golf yet, Hollins said that’s coming soon.
Lloyd wasn’t able to reach the famous 16th hole as a part of her round Wednesday, but she got to fully experience the raucous environment when she played here last year.
“Your adrenaline kicks in,” Lloyd said. “The tough thing about golf is that it’s just you and the ball versus when I played soccer in a packed stadium. All eyes are on you.”
Lloyd, who didn’t turn down a single autograph or photo request even after the siren signaled the suspension of play, said while her competitive nature is still there, it has changed since retirement.
“I think my competitive juices are a bit different,” she said. “I’m definitely relaxed a bit more and trying to enjoy life.”
Everett Munez is a graduate student at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism. This story originally ran in the Arizona Republic, part of the USA Today Network.