ORLANDO — In a way, playing golf at the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions felt a little like being on the “Today” lot for NBC meteorologist Dylan Dreyer. At least when it comes to taking selfies and talking to fans on a sunny day.
Dreyer, 41, is one of 56 celebrities competing in the LPGA season opener with husband Brian Fischera, an NBC News producer and photographer on the bag. Fichera is the person who introduced Dreyer to golf when they started dating in 2010 while working together at WHDH in Boston.
“Now, she’s so great,” Fischera said, “I don’t give her strokes anymore. We’re playing straight from now on. She’s athletic.”
Of course, casual golf is a little different than touring alongside LPGA professionals and professional athletes in all sports. After emerging from the cold in New York City, the mom of three boys — Calvin, 6, Oliver, 3, and Rusty 1 — felt exhausted from the start on her first LPGA course.
“When I’m in the studio, you can throw any curveball at me and I can talk through it, that’s my wheelhouse,” said Dreyer, “that’s what I can do, whether it’s a storm, or whatever. That, I can’t Get myself out of it.”
Dreyer only scored one point in Stapleford’s form in the first round, but was flattered by the chances of her golf improving as the week progressed. She is hoping to get two points on Friday.
“I guess I didn’t have enough beer on the course,” she said, laughing. “It would have calmed my nerves, and everything would have seemed more natural.”
Annika Sorenstam, the greatest player of the modern era who has won 72 times on the LPGA and happens to live on the 16th hole at Lake Nona Golf and Country Club, leads the celebrity division with 39 points in the form of Stableford.
Brooke Henderson, the winningest Canadian golfer in history, leads the 29-player LPGA team after a 5-under 67. World No. 2 Nelly Korda is trailing by one.
Dreyer captained the hockey and softball teams in high school and dabbled in golf during the couple’s dating years. The coach she hired in those early years approached her lessons scientifically, and Dreyer enjoyed learning about the physics behind the swing.
“I got it,” she said, “because that’s the way my brain works. And I immediately fell in love with it.”
After three kids, though, it’s often hard to get involved in more than one round of golf a month, especially with Dreyer’s morning shifts on “Today” and Fichera’s evening shifts at NBC News.
“We pass the ships about ten in the morning,” said Fichera.
To prepare for the event, Dreyer played mini golf for her 3-year-old son’s birthday—his request. Her two eldest children love the game and spend a lot of time laying out the play mat.
“There are little chips and chips that our house put out,” she said. “We can get them out there and it costs $5 to play. We play the best ball in the family.”
Two out of the three times Dreyer has competed in the Celebrity event at the American Championships of the Century in Lake Tahoe, she has played the lamb. Last year in Tahoe, she was removed eight months from giving birth to her youngest. Dreyer believes she plays best while pregnant.
“My arm was forced to stay outside,” she said. “And if you see the pictures, it’s funny that my stomach changed before my body did. It’s like the whole medicine ball theory.”
Dryer is one of four women in the celebrity division that includes Super Bowl, World Series champions, and NBA All-Stars. What advice would you give women who may not feel their toys are good enough to accept an invitation to go out and play?
“I think that’s why I’m here so cool,” she said. “I have a very public job, so people know me so they know who I am. I love doing it, and I’m not very good at it. If you enjoy doing something, go out and do it. Who cares what other people think?”
“I did an interview with Justin Thomas once, and I was really nervous, because we were going to play some holes together. I was really nervous, and he said, ‘Listen, you’re not going to impress me.’ I was like, ‘That’s the best thing you could say.’”