Where are they now: Catherine Cartwright

Catherine Tumbleson, formerly Cartwright plants a kiss on Maci during a recent photo shoot with Golfweek at her home in Bonita Springs, Fla. Baby Ella is at right.

Catherine Tumbleson, formerly Cartwright plants a kiss on Maci during a recent photo shoot with Golfweek at her home in Bonita Springs, Fla. Baby Ella is at right.

Editor’s note: This is the final installment of a three-part, where-are-they-now series chronicling the careers of Beth Bauer, May Wood and Catherine Cartwright.

• • •

Catherine Cartwright’s career-defining moment came in 2006 on the range in Rochester, N.Y. She was pounding balls after a poor round when her father said, “It’s like you don’t even care.”

“I turned around and said, ‘You know, I really don’t,’ ” said Cartwright, now known as Catherine Tumbleson. “At that very moment, I knew I needed to find something else to do.”

The only hint that a golfer lives in Tumbleson’s Bonita Springs, Fla., home sits at the front door: A mini staff bag poses as a planter. Otherwise, it’s all about family. Tumbleson, 28, and her husband, Jerrod, whom she met on a blind date, keep busy with 3-year-old Maci and 2-month-old Ella.

Cartwright won the 2000 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links and turned professional out of high school.

“I definitely admired (Catherine’s) worth ethic,” said Katherine Hull, who met Cartwright on the Futures Tour. “I was always surprised she didn’t win.”

The 6-foot-1-inch Cartwright was an exempt player for three years on the LPGA, leaving golf after the 2006 season. She always told herself that “college isn’t going anywhere.”

“It turned out, college was still there,” she said.

Cartwright was the “old pregnant lady” in her classes at Florida Gulf Coast University. She graduated and became an elementary-school teacher, distancing herself from a game that had been her sole focus since age 10. She is on maternity leave and would not change a single day.

“It’s so satisfying and fulfilling to watch a child learn something.”

• • •

The obvious takeaway from examples like these is that nothing is guaranteed. None of these players walked away because her body wouldn’t allow her to compete. (Wood had wrist surgery shortly before she quit, but it wasn’t career-ending.)

They turned heads with their tall, toned figures and long blond locks. They collected trophies, won over fans and sponsors. But the glory quickly faded.

To varying degrees, a toxic mixture of fear, pressure, doubt and loneliness crept into their lives.

Rather than let their careers drag on long after the passion had faded, they began afresh.

When Bauer suffered through one last go at LPGA Q-School, an old friend and caddie, Dave Panno, asked something profoundly hopeful: “How do you know you’re not going to be good at something else, too?”

Such as, being a mom.

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