Kuehn worried more about clothing than childbirth

SOUTHERN PINES, North Carolina, AP

Brenda Corrie Kuehn will be wearing men’s golf shirts and carrying 25 extra pounds (11.3 kilos) in the eighth month of her pregnancy. She still expects a normal golf experience this week at the U.S. Women’s Open. So does her doctor, husband and the U.S. Golf Association, as the amateur qualifier tees it up at Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club on Thursday about a month from her July 4 due date. “I will not be making a fashion statement this week, that’s for sure,” Kuehn said of her inability to find proper maternity golf clothes. “You’ll see a lot of men’s type of golf shirts. It will be ugly.” “Most pregnant women use their husband’s shirts. but he’s an XXL (extra extra large),” she added of husband and caddie, Dr. Eric Kuehn. “That is not conducive to looking good.” Like all other golfers in the tournament, Kuehn, 36, will walk the course and get no special treatment. Quite frankly, she doesn’t know what all the fuss is about. “My doctor told me that statistically you have the same odds of going into labor on the golf course as you do sitting at home watching television,” said Kuehn, who will be playing in her ninth Open. “That means it can happen anywhere.” Kuehn, a two-time U.S. Curtis Cup member, did go into labor with her first child, 4-year-old son Corrie, after a round of golf with her husband in Greensboro — more than two hours away from home in Asheville. The couple drove home with Kuehn in labor. If the baby arrives unexpectedly this week, they plan to have the child in Pinehurst. “There is a good hospital there and we know a doctor there,” Eric said. “I already told her we’re not driving home.” Kuehn said she was concentrating on golf, and that the setting for her latest Open was perfect. “I went out and qualified two or three weeks ago and I had no expectations of making it,” she said. “I knew the Open was close to home and had it not been at Pine Needles I would not have tried it.” “She’s not a crusader, she just likes to play golf,” her husband added. “Heck, she’s not playing rugby, she’s playing golf.” For now, Kuehn is done with ultrasounds and is playing well. She’s never made a cut in her Open career. “Clearly, she’s not going to win this thing,” her husband said. “But she doesn’t want to play crummy because then people will say it was because she was pregnant. You know, she shot an 84 and 85 last time without being pregnant.” Dawn Coe-Jones played in the 1995 Open six months pregnant and finished seventh, but Kuehn is believed to be the first golfer to try the feat so close to giving birth. “I was thinking there may be 10 out there who are pregnant and don’t know it yet. The next thing we need is a USGA championship for expectant mothers,” USGA spokeswoman Rhonda Glenn said. Glenn said the USGA doesn’t have any reservations about Kuehn playing as long as she’s OK with it. “I haven’t heard a peep from anyone,” Glenn said. “Brenda has always had a very healthy approach toward life and this is normal for her.” The experience won’t come without a few drawbacks. Kuehn’s length off the tee is shorter, since her swing has become somewhat restricted. “Fortunately you gain the weight slowly,” she said. “It’s not like you wake up the next day and all of the sudden you have this big, old tummy. My swing has changed slowly throughout — probably starting at about four or five months. I just made natural adjustments.” Fatigue in the North Carolina Sandhills could also become a major issue if she makes the Friday cut. “It is going to be very difficult to made it 72 holes,” Glenn said.”The fatigue factor will be huge.” Kuehn admits she has little chance, if any, of winning the top prize in women’s golf, but she doesn’t feel guilty about taking a spot in the field. “The way I see it is, I earned the spot. It was not given to me. I went out and qualified on a course that was very hilly at 7 1/2 months pregnant. I deserve to be here just on that merit,” she said. LPGA top money winner Annika Sorenstam agreed. “If she feels great, I think it’s great that she’s out here,” Sorenstam said. “I’ve heard a lot of people talking that they feel more relaxed when they’re pregnant. People don’t put a lot of pressure on themselves.” Kuehn said she doesn’t care to know the sex of her second child. “I’m kind of old-fashioned when it comes to that,” Kuehn said. “I really like the surprise.”