Teen with Heart Defect to Play in Annikas Event

By Associated PressMay 28, 2007, 4:00 pm
Ginn Tribute Hosted by AnnikaCHARLESTON, S.C. -- MacKinzie Kline was never one to wait for her chance, no matter how many surgeons or specialists told her to slow down.
 
Kline's drive will be rewarded this week. The 15-year-old rising junior golfer who was born with a congenital heart defect will play in her first LPGA Tour event, the $2.6 million Ginn Tribute near Charleston.
 
'I'm always someone who tries to bend the rules a little bit,' she said recently by phone.
 
Because of her medical condition, Kline can't walk long distances without becoming fatigued. The LPGA issued a landmark ruling allowing Kline to become the first player in the organization's history to ride a cart during her rounds.
 
Kline, the oldest child of Elizabeth and John Kline, was born with heterotaxy syndrome, meaning her heart has one ventricle instead of two. In addition, her liver was transverse and she did not have a spleen.
 
'She was born with a heart defect that 30 years ago, we didn't have good treatment for,' said Dr. John Lamberti, her heart surgeon at Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego.
 
Kline had two heart surgeries before she was 2 and doctors weren't sure about her life expectancy.
 
Her mother remembers when things began to turn. Her 4-year-old daughter had been through another checkup when a doctor said with a grin, 'I'd never thought she'd do this well.'
 
Now, Kline, of Encinitas, Calif., has her latest chance to beat the odds on the Arnold Palmer-designed RiverTowne Country Club Course at the Belvidere Resort.
 
Kline got the chance to play when she received an exemption from tournament host Annika Sorenstam, who is thrilled the teenager is taking part.
 
'What she has accomplished, not only in golf, but for the community is extraordinary,' Sorenstam has said.
 
Kline has become a spokesman for The Children's Heart Foundation and hopes to raise $1 million for the organization.
 
She aspires to join the LPGA one day and compete with young stars she'll see this week like Paula Creamer, Michelle Wie and Morgan Pressel.
 
The LPGA will allow Kline to use a cart as well as an oxygen delivery system -- it looks like a cooler, her mother says -- when she needs it.
 
LPGA commissioner Carolyn Bivens determined that Kline's request would not give her an unfair competitive advantage.
 
It wasn't long that ago when Kline's father bought his 5-year-old daughter some golf clubs simply for the activity.
 
The youngster instantly took to the game. John Kline remembers her hitting balls in the back yard and they'd be called to dinner. Kline would plead for more practice time. 'It was unreal,' he said.
 
As her talent grew, so did the challenges of competitive golf. Walking full tournaments was difficult. 'I try not to get tired, but I know I will,' she says.
 
Last year, Kline felt 'fuzzier' than she had in the past. Her parents said her sleep patterns changed. 'You could tell something was wrong,' her father said. 'Bless her soul, she had a hole in her heart.'
 
Doctors discovered and repaired the hole. In between, the USGA ruled that Kline could use a cart for the U.S. Women's Amateur. She did not get past medal play, but followed an opening 83 with a second-day 75.
 
Kline plans to soak up everything this week.
 
She says she'll treat it like any of her junior events, but her parents know better. 'She's nervous,' her mother says. 'I tell her, 'Mac, you're not going to let anyone down. Have fun.''
 
Kline and her parents keep things normal around the house. They don't dwell on her condition, and she enjoys the same things as many teenagers -- movies, privacy and a sloppy room, her mother says.
 
'Disabled is not something we say in the house,' her mom says.
 
But as hard as he tries, there are days when it's difficult for her dad to accept that his child has a heart condition.
 
'You never know when it's going to hit you in the stomach,' he said.
 
Kline isn't sure about her future. One morning she's certain the LPGA is ahead, the next, 'I think playing college golf would be fun.'
 
'What's her future?' Lamberti said. 'We don't know because she's rewriting the book.'
 
Kline hopes sharing her story will prove to others they don't have to be defined by their defects.
 
'I hope it reaches a lot of people,' she said. 'Kids should know they can still do the things they want.'
 
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    Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

    By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

    One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

    Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

    "I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

    Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

    "I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

    Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

    "Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."

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    Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

    Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

    Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

    “I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

    The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

    “I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

    This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

    The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

    Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

    The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.


    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


    A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

    And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

    The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.


    Masters victory


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    Green jacket tour

    Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

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    Man of the people


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    Ace at 17th at Sawgrass


    Growing family

    Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

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    Departure from TaylorMade


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    Squashed beef with Paddy

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    Victory at Valderrama


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    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm