The first time Jodi Ewart Shadoff met her husband Adam was during her sophomore year at the University of New Mexico. Adam, a local TV reporter, interviewed Jodi after that first round in Albuquerque, and as the young Englishwoman kept playing well, they kept talking.
That conference victory eventually led to a date that led to a lifetime of conversations. But after college, the next time Adam found himself working a tournament with Jodi in the field was last week’s Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions in Orlando. Adam, a sports anchor and reporter at FOX 35 Orlando, came out to media late last year at Lake Nona Golf and Country Club.
Jodi, who won for the first time in her 246th start last year at the Mediheal Championship to qualify for the TOC field, was part of the pre-tournament interview panel. At the end of the session, a colleague in the room asked, “Nothing from you Adam? You’re not going to ask a question?”
Adam looked to his wife and jokingly asked, “Who’s the best sports anchor in Orlando?”
“She said ‘Get out of here,’ ” said Adam, smiling, “and she walked away. It was funny.”
The Shadoffs, who recently celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary, live less than 25 minutes from Lake Nona. Jodi, who plays out of the Ritz in town, isn’t a member at Lake Nona, which was the case for several in the field, but this was as close to a home game that she could hope for. In fact, when Shadoff finally broke through with her first victory last year in California, the TOC was one of the first things that came to mind.
“It’s pretty pure,” said Shadoff of Nona. “It’s probably one of the best courses we get to play all year, in my opinion.”
In the second round, she played alongside Brian Urlacher, a fellow Lobo and NFL Hall of Famer. It was the first time the two former UNM standouts had met.
“It was funny,” said Jodi, “walking down one of the early holes he goes, ‘Did you go to UNM? I’m like, yeah. He’s like, so did I. I’m like, yeah, I know. You were like the legend.’
Adam wasn’t working in the studio the day Jodi won the Mediheal. He thought about flying out for the final round to surprise Jodi.
“I thought, if I show up and she doesn’t win,” he said, “I’m going to feel like a huge jerk. So, in the end, I didn’t go.”
He only started to relax back home in the living room after she hit the green on No. 18 in regulation. The joy of that moment was felt coast-to-coast.
The couple recently took a trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, during Jodi’s brief offseason. The Englishwoman likes to get out in the snow at least once a year.
“I don’t ski because I can barely walk around without getting injured,” she said with a laugh.
Given how good things were going at the end of last season, Jodi didn’t want to “lose the feels” she had after her best year on tour and took off less than two weeks. She was soon back to work with her instructor, former PGA Tour winner Grant Waite, who said they mostly focused on ways to be more efficient.
“We spent quite a bit of time talking about flighting the ball a little bit more,” he said, “putting some curves on curves off, trajectory control, stuff like that. … Again, for her it’s not about reinventing the wheel, just making it turn a little bit better here and there.”
Short game was another area of focus. Jodi, one of the best ball-strikers on tour, finished last season ranked 3rd in greens hit in regulation, 60th in driving distance and 20th in driving accuracy. She was 88th in putts per green in regulation.
Jodi Ewart Shadoff reacts on the 18th green after winning the 2022 LPGA Mediheal Championship at The Saticoy Club in Somis, California. (Photo: Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)
While she prefers to focus on smaller goals, there’s no doubt that the 2023 Solheim Cup in Spain is on her mind.
“I would love to represent Europe for a fourth time,” she said, “and under Suzann (Pettersen), I think that would be a lot of fun.”
Adam covered the TOC several days early in the week but took the weekend off to walk around Lake Nona with his wife. Jodi finished tied for 18th in her TOC debut, and because an LPGA victory guarantees a start in that tournament for two years, she’ll be back.