The Director of the U.S. Open Women's Championship next month at Trump National Bedminister has quite a story to tell. Shannon Rouillard didn't start playing golf until she was 15. She was a gymnast before that, but her father told her she needed to pursue a sport that could lead to a scholarship in college. Golf was the choice.
Shannon was driven to succeed at golf. She was a walk-on star at the University of Oregon and eventually became the head coach at Oregon for eight seasons.
“To be honest, when my dad introduced me to the game, he said ‘Shannon, you need to learn how to hit a golf ball first.’ So I didn’t set foot on a golf course for at least a year. We went to the public driving range every single night and I hit over 200 golf balls every single day, until I was able to get the ball up in the air and hit it fairly consistently”
When many young people quit sports they don't succeed at right away, Rouillard kept working on her golf game despite early struggles.
“[Losing] was a total motivating factor for me. It pushed me and drove me to be better and better and to work harder than everybody else, I knew I wasn’t the most talented golfer out there, but my parents instilled in me that if you work hard, you’ll be successful”
Rouillard had an idea she would be coaching golf at some point. She had plenty of experiences and knowledge to share with young women interested in the game.
“When I was a player, I had at some point during my playing time had aspired to be a college golf coach… I felt like it was in my blood, I wanted to get back to the game and I wanted to help young women fulfill their dreams and I felt like I had the tools to be able to help them get where they wanted to go”
Now as Director of the one of the most prestigious tournaments in golf, Shannon Rouillard is looking forward to the 72nd U.S. Open Women's Championship in New Jersey. She spent time as a pro and can relate to how hard the women on the tour have to work to succeed.
“I think a lot of people out there see this glamorous life out on the road, playing week in and week out, but unlike college golf where you have your teammates to support you, you’re out there by yourself.”
To sum up her duties, Rouillard is in charge of everything "inside the ropes" of the course, something she takes great pride in.
To find out more about Shannon Rouillard's family, click above to hear the entire SportsJam with Doug Doyle show from the USGA offices in New Jersey.