From Study Hall to Forever Teammates
Alison Grace Ramos and Taylor Joseph Vogel met in study hall in 2008 while they were student athletes at the University of Southern California. Ms. Ramos, a member of the women’s tennis team, would frequently have a supporter at her matches in Mr. Vogel, who played on the men’s golf team.
“The men’s golf and women’s tennis teams were paired together, so the men would attend the tennis matches and support the team,” said Ms. Ramos, who goes by Ali. “The teams would also meet outside of school and sports, and I got to know T.J. that way.”
Mr. Vogel, who goes by T.J., was in study hall about 10 hours a week to keep up on his studies — Ms. Ramos was there working with a biology tutor. The two also had several occupational therapy classes together, as they nurtured their fledgling athletic careers.
“I knew pretty early on that I liked her,” Mr. Vogel said.
Ms. Ramos, 32, who is of Filipino descent and from Carson, Calif., was a nationally ranked tennis player in high school. She was recruited by, and graduated from, U.S.C. in 2012 with a degree in kinesiology. She also earned a doctorate of physical therapy in 2017 from California State University, Long Beach. She now works as an orthopedic occupational therapist at TAG Physical Therapy in El Segundo, Calif.
Ms. Ramos became interested in the field after spending time in the training room as a student athlete, and was also inspired by her father, Eugene Ramos, who was a registered nurse and died two and a half years ago. “I had every injury you could think of, so I spent a lot of time in the training room,” she said.
Her love for tennis began at an early age. When she was 6 she joined a local program called Hope for Kids. “The program worked with a local church that would fund raise money for children in low-income areas to get involved with sports like golf and tennis,” she said.
She received clothing, tennis shoes, rackets, and free lessons for one year, all paid for by the program. Ms. Ramos still plays competitively on the United States Tennis Association circuit with her college friend and roommate, Madeline Segura.
“She’s the most positive and friendly person you’ll ever meet,” Ms. Segura said.
Mr. Vogel, 31, is from Pembroke Pines, Fla. He plays professional golf on the Korn Ferry Tour, the developmental tour for the PGA Tour. He attended U.S.C. from 2008 to 2010 and then transferred to the University of Florida, playing on the school’s golf team until 2012 before turning pro in 2013.
He won his first Korn Ferry tournament as a professional in 2022, the Savannah Club Car Championship. He made headlines in 2018 when he won eight PGA Tour Monday qualifier tournaments that year — one-day events where there are typically 80 to 100 entrants competing for a handful of spots available in an upcoming PGA Tour event. He bested the record of six previously held by the PGA Tour golfer Patrick Reed. This earned Mr. Vogel the moniker “Mr. Monday” in professional golf circles.
“I put a golf club in his hand at the age of 5,” said Joseph Vogel, Mr. Vogel’s father and the women’s golf coach at Florida International University. “I saw him swing it once and knew he had what it takes.”
Mr. Vogel won the 2013 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship, widely known as the top amateur tournament, earning him an invite to the Masters Tournament that year as an amateur player. He played a practice round during that week with Tiger Woods.
Ms. Segura recalled meeting Mr. Vogel in college and thinking he was a perfect fit for Ms. Ramos. “He’s so mellow, and Ali is an extrovert,” she said. “It’s perfect because he kind of reins her in when she’s excited, and she pushes him out of his comfort zone.”
The two also learned early on that they had something in common. Mr. Vogel’s father was a golf coach with another Hope for Kids program, in Plantation, Fla.
“When I learned that Ali was a beneficiary of Hope for Kids, it felt like it was meant to be,” Mr. Vogel said.
“Without Hope for Kids, I may not have ever had the chance to play tennis,” Ms. Ramos said. “That eventually brought me to U.S.C., where I met T.J.”
The two remained close friends, though not romantically involved. Ms. Segura, who lived with Ms. Ramos for several years during their time at U.S.C., recalled a night when Mr. Vogel was locked out of his apartment, and he asked Ms. Ramos if he could stay the night. “She had him sleep on an air mattress at our apartment,” Ms. Segura said, laughing. “She’s a very direct, clear person, and let him know she did not want any lines crossed. He’s one of the most respectful guys you’ll ever meet, so it’s just funny thinking back on it since they’re now married.”
In 2010, Mr. Vogel transferred to the University of Florida in his junior year. They were in and out of touch until Mr. Vogel left school in 2012 and began to navigate the pro golf world. Ms. Ramos stayed at U.S.C. after graduation to serve as an assistant tennis coach.
They reconnected in early 2013 after Ms. Ramos received a comment on a Facebook photo from Mr. Vogel. That year, their friendship began to shift as they spent more time conversing and Skyping regularly. He then began visiting her when he could. When she picked him up from the airport on one trip, on April 27, 2013, she pointedly asked, “So you’re my boyfriend, right?”
“I was just fine with that,” Mr. Vogel said. “I intended on making it official that weekend, but Ali beat me to the punch.”
Mr. Vogel was introduced to Ms. Ramos’s family and her dog, Hershey, a dachshund, a couple of days later. Hershey would typically bark at everyone who entered the family home, including her closest friends, Ms. Ramos said. “But he didn’t bark at T.J. — they became best buds right away,” she said. “That was an early sign for me, and he really hit it off with my family as well.”
Ms. Ramos’s mother, Grace Ramos, a longtime human resources professional, also picked up on Mr. Vogel’s nature quickly. “He’s very down to earth,” she said. “The way T.J. talks, he has a finesse about him.”
Despite living apart in California and Florida and Mr. Vogel continuing his golf travels (he’s on the road 30 weeks, on average, a year), the two continued to grow closer.
In December 2016, Mr. Vogel relocated to California to be closer to her, first moving in with a friend. Three years later, the couple moved into a duplex in Redondo Beach, near Carson, where Ms. Ramos grew up.
“A lot of people thought I was crazy because no one ever moves away from Florida as a golfer,” Mr. Vogel said. But he said he didn’t want her to sacrifice any more than she already had to be with him. “People don’t realize how hard it is for the person at home, how grueling it can be for both of us,” he said.
When Mr. Vogel is on the road, Ms. Ramos keeps herself busy with her work, playing tennis with friends, and spending time with family. And when he’s home, they make the most of it.
“Our love language is quality time, and so when he’s home, we really do our best to be present with each other,” Ms. Ramos said. The couple also enjoy visiting Hawaii, camping trips in various national parks, and dipping their toes in the sand at nearby Manhattan Beach.
Thanksgiving 2020 was a difficult one for the Ramos family — it’s their favorite holiday and was their first without their patriarch, who died that May.
“My dad would make the turkey and taught me and my sister how to make all the fixings like mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing,” she said. “It was a sad time for me, and for some reason, everybody was in a good mood that year.”
So when Ms. Ramos thought Mr. Vogel was going to propose at the dinner table after an emotional speech, she broke down. “But he didn’t,” she said.
“Then two days later we were on Manhattan Beach and walked down to the pier, and while we were gone, my sister had traced the words, “will you marry me?” in the sand. And T.J. got down on one knee.”
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The couple married Nov. 12, 2022 before 109 guests at the Shade Hotel Redondo Beach, with A. Mauricio Lubong, a Universal Life minister, officiating. Their dogs, Roxy and Buddy, also attended the ceremony. Negative Covid tests were required for attendees regardless of vaccination status.
“Who would’ve thought doing my homework in college would have landed you right here,” Mr. Vogel said in his written vows. “You may have done my homework, but the truth is, I didn’t need help. I just wanted an excuse to be around you.”
Ms. Ramos said in her vows: “I vow to be your forever hiking and beach buddy and to join you at mountain tops and the sea, through the sunshine and the storms,” she continued. “I promise to allow you to watch your sports teams without interruption and resentment. I’ll even cheer for your teams, except when the Miami Heat play the Los Angeles Lakers.”
Mr. Vogel added: “I cannot wait for more adventures, cooking new meals, watching you destroy people on the tennis court and starting a family with you,” he said. “Just so all of my bad dad jokes will finally be appreciated.”
On This Day
When Nov. 12, 2022
Where Shade Hotel Redondo Beach, Redondo Beach, Calif.
Holding Dad Near Ms. Ramos adorned her bouquet with a photo of her father, Eugene Ramos, who died on May 27, 2020. She also used one of his old T-shirts as the ribbon of the bouquet. For the father-daughter dance, she took to the floor with her 88-year-old paternal grandfather, Wilson Ramos, a Vietnam War veteran, and her uncle, Wilson Ramos Jr.
Best Teammates Madeline Segura was Ms. Ramos’s maid of honor, along with her sister, Genelyne Ramos. Ryan Celano, Mr. Vogel’s childhood friend and a professional golfer, was the best man.