Ryann O’Toole isn’t one of those “I was born with a golf club in my hand” kind of stories. Growing up in Southern California Ryann didn’t pick up the sport until she was 13-years old. Having always been involved in sports that challenged her physically, Ryann needed more and thrived on the mental challenge that is golf. After taking a $5 lesson at her local course, she was hooked and the rest is history.
Staying close to home, Ryann attended college at UCLA where she excelled on the Lady Bruins Golf Team. Bursting onto the LPGA Tour fresh out of college in 2009, she made quite a splash in her first two years. In 2011 Ryann earned conditional status on the tour while making some quick and lasting impressions. After only 10 Tour events that season, she was selected to the 2011 Solheim Cup, the women’s equivalent of the men’s Ryder Cup. Ryann caught the eye of the US Team captain, Rosie Jones, who selected her as one of her two captain’s picks.
While she is as dedicated and hard working as any female golfer on the tour, off the course, Ryann is no couch potato. Growing up in a very active family, Ryann credits surfing as her other passion and release. When she’s not on the course, you will most likely find her in the water.
Q & A
When did you first start swinging clubs? Where/why?
I first started when I was 13. I went to a junior clinic with some family friends down at San Clemente Municipal Golf Course. The lesson was a $5 junior clinic on the range with PGA instructor Rocky Rafkin. This was the first time I've ever hit golf balls, and it was this moment I fell in love with the sport. Rocky was immediately impressed with my raw talent and how far I was hitting the ball. He asked if I ever played before. When I responded, "No, but this is easy, the ball is standing still!" he knew than that I had to play and that this short 30 minute range session was not going to be the last bucket of balls I was ever going to hit, if he had anything say! When I got home that day I ran in the house expressing to my parents that I wanted to play golf. My Dad said no, that I love everything and that I was already playing too many sports (softball, basketball, skateboard contests, and surf team). Two days later, Rocky called my house and convinced my parents that I should start golfing. Soon enough I had a set of clubs and was taking lessons once a week with PGA instructors Dave Batty.
When did you turn pro?
I turned pro right out of college in 2009. Played rest of season on LPGA Futures Tour. Played another full season in 2010 on LPGA Futures Tour, took 7th on the money list and earned conditional status for 2011 on LPGA Tour. I finished my rookie year strong and gained exempt status for 2012.
What are the events, wins, memories that stand out most throughout your career so far?
Playing in the US Open for the first time. This stands out because I have never played in front of such a large crowd. I loved it! That is what I dreamed of golf feeling like. Thousands of people watching, cheering, and feeling the excitement of playing amongst the best. The other major memorable event I've had this year would be the Solheim Cup which was held in Ireland. This event topped the Open, with the amount of people watching, cheering and the excitement that came along with representing my country. This will be a memory I'll never forget.
If there’s one thing that people in the industry would recognize you by, what would that be?
As one of the fittest players on tour. They would also say I'm Competitive, hard working and always smiling.
Fun= competing Vision= being number one! Friend= David Bartman
What has driven you to work super hard and rise up beyond mediocrity?
As a kid I always knew I'd be a professional athlete. It is what I dreamed about. I just didn't know what sport, I loved too many. Until I took up golf, than I knew I'd be professional one day. That I'd be the best. It is my goal to help raise the bar in golf, and do what Tiger did to the PGA Tour. What makes me work super hard and rise up beyond mediocrity is my determination, my belief in my own abilities, and the fact that I love to grind. I sleep, eat, and breathe golf!
Are you a rebel? Why or why not?
Well it depends what your definite of rebel is. I'd say yes and no. Yes in the sense I want to be different, I don't want to blend in, and no in the sense I don't party hard, or lose focus on my goals.
What does “Perform Beautifully” mean to you?
Perform beautifully means to play a round of golf or a tournament in which I feel I gave it my all. Let's be realistic here, of course I'd love to say a round was flawless because that's what first comes to mind when I of a performance being beautiful. However, if you know golf at all, nothing is ever going to be perfect. If it was people would be shooting 54. Therefore, a round or tournament that I'd consider performing beautifully would be a win or a low round. A round that showed grace, not a lot of struggle. A round that showed determination, fire, drive, confidence and trust.
If you weren’t killing it in Golf, what would you be doing for a living?
I'd either be a professional surfer, or a trainer, training professional athletes.
Talent…other than golf:
Surfing, skating, snowboarding, wake boarding...Basically anything with a board I can do.
Your Favorite…(Start with your favorite music artist or something):
Musician: love all types of music. Color: electric blue Movie: don't have Food: sushi or a stake Drink: I love hot tea from teavana Favorite surf break: Cottons Favorite golf course: Augusta National Favorite PGA player: Ben Hogan and Tiger Woods favorite LPGA player: Annika Favorite down time: if there are no waves, go to the movies Place I want to live: Hawaii
Reliable, funky and comfy on and off the course
Best song to play or practice to:
Winner- Justin Timberlake and Jamie Foxx, I made it- Kevin Rudolf
C-Walking, Head Banging or fist pumping? Which one?:
For sure Fist pumping! Tiger Woods style
Dream vacation spot:
Would you rather get punched in the gut by Mr. T. or super roundhouse kicked in the face by Chuck Norris?
Gut punched, these abs can handle it! (wink). But I'd rather not piss either off. However, Not sure Chuck Norris is flexible enough to reach my face these days!
People would be super surprised if they knew that you…
Are scared of the bottom of the lake
What particular skills are you working on?
My mental game.
You’ve been mistaken for…
Kate Bosworth, when she played in the movie Blue Crush
I like all types of food. I can put down! Love sushi, steak, Italian and Mexican food. After spending weeks in Asia first thing I wanted when I returned home was Mexican food!
The Vampire or the Warewolf? Or if you’d prefer older, Brad Pitt or George Clooney?
For sure Wolf! His body is ridiculous. Brad Pitt!