The hottest golfer Pro Golfer in the world
Sits down with Chaunce Hayden to talk about golf, modeling, and driving a little white ball 308 yards.
I’ve always been a long hitter. The people who focus just on my modeling career probably haven’t seen me play or hit the ball.”
“(Laughs) I won’t even go there. I’m going to pass on that question!”
Blonde bombshell Blair O’Neal has been golfing since the age of 11, playing in tournaments all around the world. She played for Arizona State University where she won two NCAA Long Drive contests and recently competed on the Golf Channel’s Big Break: Dominican Republic, where she won MVP and an exemption to the 2011 LPGA Kia Classic in March.
Blair has also been modeling throughout her golfing career and was named one of Sports Illustrated “Top 50 Hottest Athletes of All Time” in 2008 and most recently, one of the “Most Beautiful Women in Golf” in 2013. Blair has also translated her experiences into the on-camera platform through her work as host of The Golf Buzz presented by Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday, What’s in the Bag with Cobra-Puma presented by the Golf Channel, Hot Tips from a Hot Golfer presented by Golf.com, and co-host of Golf’s Sexiest Shots presented by Golf Digest.
I recently had the opportunity to chat with this stunning athlete about her golf game and what, if any, flaws she might have…we’re still looking!
Chaunce Hayden: You’ve been getting so much attention as both a golfer and a model. Which of the two careers are more important to you?
Blair O’Neal: I’m able to separate the two. The bottom line is that if a modeling opportunity comes up and it doesn’t work with my golf schedule, I just won’t do it. Over the years I’ve had to figure out what opportunities I can take advantage of and what opportunities I have to pass on because of my schedule. Ultimately, golf comes first.
So then is modeling a distraction at times?
It definitely can be a distraction. It’s all about managing my time. It’s definitely not easy. It has taken a lot of trial and error, but I think I’ve handled it the best I can. It’s a lot to have on my plate. At the same time, I’m blessed to have so many opportunities. I really can’t complain.
Do you think your golf game would improve if you gave up modeling completely?
I don’t know about that. I’ve been doing modeling for so long. The one thing I do know is that I’m different from all of the other girls on tour. Most of the other girls only golf. If we get time off, they’re out practicing. They don’t have to worry about doing interviews and all the other things that come my way, but I’m used to it now.
You’ve created an amazing brand for yourself. This past year you’ve appeared on the cover of numerous magazines and on television. Are you surprised by all of the attention you’ve gotten?
I’m always surprised by it. I never expect it. All of the opportunities that come my way are things I never would have thought possible. That part of it is so cool. To be on the cover of Golf Magazine and to be in Sports Illustrated 3 years in a row is just incredible. I never dreamt of doing things like that.
What a lot of people probably don’t know is that you literally walked away from golf for several years before picking it up again.
That’s true. I completely gave up the sport.
You then came back just to compete on the Golf Channel’s “Big Break” and nearly won it. You eventually won your second appearance on “Big Break” and the rest is history. Do you ever wonder how good you would be if you never stopped playing?
I do. I took nearly 5 years off from golf, but I think everything happens for a reason. I had the opportunity to model and I wanted to see where that would take me. I got to experience another side of life besides golf. I was able to grow up a little bit and figure out what it was that I wanted to do. I see it as an advantage for me. Most of the girls I play with have only golfed their entire life. They don’t know anything else. So I hope it’s made me be a more well rounded person.
I see women’s golf as being similar to women’s tennis. It seems that all of the attention goes to the best looking rather than the best playing. Do you agree?
That’s just a part of life and a part of sports as well. People like to watch pro golfers play good golf, but they also want to know about them personally. So if there’s a tennis player or a golfer who can add a little spice to the sport and create a little buzz and it draws people to watch their sport, so be it. I think that’s awesome. It helps the game.
To be fair, you could say the same thing about the men. When Tiger Woods is far behind the leader board, you’ll still see the crowd watching him rather than the front-runners.
Yeah, I agree. It goes for both sides. People want to follow the players that have a buzz around them. It is what it is.
At the end of the day, sports are show business.
As attractive as you are, what sometimes goes unnoticed is how good of a golfer you are. Not everyone can drive a golf ball 307 yards.
I’ve always been a long hitter. The people who focus just on my modeling career probably haven’t seen me play or hit the ball. There are always going to be the people who focus on my modeling rather than my golf game, but that’s usually because they’ve never seen me play or been out to a tournament.
You’re currently on the Symetra LPGA tour. How does that differ from the LPGA tour?
The LPGA owns the Symetra tour. They make it so that it’s very similar to the regular LPGA tour. Symetra is one step below. There are just so many good players on tour, they can’t all play on the LPGA. So Symetra is a stepping-stone to the LPGA. Most girls on the Symetra tour can play on the LPGA tour. It’s just timing and peaking at the right time. The Symetra tour is super competitive and there are a lot of really good golfers who compete. This year I’ve not only been playing on the Symetra tour, but the Monday LPGA qualifiers as well.
How important is social media to you?
It’s very important! I think I was the last one to get on Twitter. I was also one of the last ones to get on Instagram. It just seemed like everyone was doing it, so I felt like I needed to see what it was all about. It gives you an extension to your fans and gives them an inside look at your life. It brings more attention to the sport and helps increase your fan base.
You’ve had so many highs in your career. What was the low?
That had to be last year. It was the worst year I ever had. I worked my butt off and just worked really hard to achieve my goals. I put a lot of pressure on myself to do well and it just didn’t pan out. So I had to reevaluate what I was going to do differently and what works for me and what doesn’t work.
Do you feel pressure to prove yourself as a golfer because of all of the attention you get as a model?
(Long pause) I think there is pressure, but I already put pressure on myself just because I want to do so well. At the end of the day I know what I’m capable of and I know that I am a good player. I want to see positive results. I always played golf because I loved to play and compete. That’s why I play. I learned over the years if I try to play for anyone else it just doesn’t work.
Obviously you can drive the ball a mile. What part of your game needs the most work?
I’ve really been working on my wedges. I have to say that was my weakness, but it’s really improved lately. I don’t think it’s my weakness anymore. It’s one thing to hit the ball far, but you have to have a good short game to be successful.
What is the key to driving a golf ball over 300 yards?
Tempo. It’s all about tempo and timing.
Do you have any time for romance in your life?
(Laughs) I won’t even go there. I’m going to pass on that question!
Is there a secret in your life that you’ve never told anyone?
(Long pause) Yes…I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone this. I was contacted by the TV show “Survivor,” but I turned them down because it was in the middle of the golf season and I would have missed too many tournaments had I signed on. It was cool that they would even think of me though!