5 Things You Need To Know Now

Beth Allen

Beth Allen

Beth Allen: living donor. Such an extraordinary descriptor.

Allen, a relatively unknown American professional who plays in Europe, tries to downplay the gift as “a given.” Allen and her older brother, Dan, didn’t talk much about the kidney she gave him through a transplant on March 1.

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Beth Allen

The process began last summer, and on Feb. 2 Allen received word while playing in the Australian Women’s Open that she’d been approved to donate. Doctors told Allen that nothing was certain until she was wheeled in for surgery, but a day after the procedure, Beth and Dan are doing fine.

Beth updated her Twitter page with the good news: "I'm all done! Feels like I've done 10 million sit ups but I'm ok!"

Beth, 29, treks the world playing a game that’s the very fabric of the entire Allen family. Yet the independence she enjoys is lost on Dan, 38, who has a rigid 7 p.m. daily curfew in San Diego. “I’m like Cinderella,” he says, laughing. That’s when he must begin the daily 10-hour dialysis treatment that sustains his life. Dan has been married to a machine for the past five years.

At age 26, Dan Allen went to see his physician for a bout of hay fever. His doctor came to the golf course where Dan worked to tell him that his kidneys were the size of a 13-year-old’s. In 1999, Dan received his first transplant.

Dr. Bryan Becker, immediate past president of the National Kidney Foundation, said the median life of a transplant recipient is 11-13 years. His mother, Carolyn, tried to donate last year but was rejected for health reasons.

Dan Allen shares his sister’s passion for the game but, with a weakened immune system, is the ultimate fair-weather player. He works at Mission Bay Golf Course, a par-3 facility, and plays as much as his body will allow.

He described his sister’s sacrifice as “beyond words.”

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Will Tiger Woods catch or pass Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors? Well, Hall of Famer Greg Norman, for one, thinks not.

In an interview with Golfweek, Norman said he didn’t think Woods would make such history for several reasons:

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Greg Norman speaks with the crowd and Golfweek Senior Writer Jeff Rude at Golfweek's Golfest at The Villages.

• The current fallen status of Woods’ game. Norman said he wasn’t crazy about the way Woods is swinging the club since his overhaul last summer.

• Age. Norman said the path will be difficult for Woods because he is getting up in age at 35 while the new generation of young players is rising up. Winning the equivalent of a major a year for the next five years would be highly difficult.

• Numbers game. Norman said that winning five more majors will be difficult because it would in itself be a fabulous career for a Hall of Fame player. He mentioned that Phil Mickelson has won only four majors and a guy like Nick Faldo won six during his whole career.

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When Martin Kaymer ascended to World No. 1, it was a symbolic moment for German golf. It had been almost exactly 25 years since another German great, Bernhard Langer, had scaled golf's summit.

No one in the world of golf could have been more delighted than Langer, who has nurtured, encouraged and supported Kaymer since the days five or six years ago when Langer began hearing about young Kaymer's feats.

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Martin Kaymer during the Accenture World Match Play Championship.

“I first became aware of Martin some time around 2005 or early 2006,” recalled Langer, who won 42 times on The European Tour and recently notched up his 14th success on the US Champions Tour since turning 50 in 2007.

“I heard from my brother, Erwin, and my daughter, Jackie, who was at the time helping to run some events on the European Professional Development (EPD) Tour of this young guy shooting ridiculous scores. That in itself isn’t remarkable, but what was unusual was that he was following up 61s with 63s or 63s with 62s and blowing the field away on a regular basis. He seemed to be dominating the EPD Tour.”

The young man in question was, of course, Kaymer, who first made Langer’s acquaintance during the Deutsche Bank Players’ Championship of Europe in Hamburg in July 2006. Kaymer shot 69 and 73 at Gut Kaden to miss the cut on his first professional appearance on The European Tour. However, two weeks later he was to start the exciting journey towards fame and fortune by winning on his debut on the European Challenge Tour in his native Düsseldorf.

Langer recalled: “I remember being introduced to Martin and watching him hit some balls. He looked impressive – definitely more so than most I had seen coming through in Germany – but at that age you never know. Some kids look terrific in their teens but don’t make the grade.

“However, I talked a little to Martin and his parents and brother, who was caddying for him, and we had some lunch and I got the sense that here was someone who was receiving strong family support and had an old head on young shoulders."

The rest, as they say, is history.

“Being Number One won’t go to his head,” insisted Langer. “He has taken setbacks in his stride, like when he lost his mother and when he was injured in that go-karting accident. . . . If he can stay healthy and focused there is no reason why he won’t be around for another 15 years."

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Courtesy photo

Map of Africa

Mikel Martinson began a historic two weeks in Morocco March 6 for the eGolf Professional Tour with a course record 62 in the opening round of the Samanah Classic in Marrakech.

The Lubbock, Texas, native had nine birdies and an eagle around Samanah Country Club. The Samanah Classic is one of two events on the eGolf’s Morocco Swing, the other being the El Jadida Classic.

The eGolf Professional Tour, formerly the Tarheel Tour, is making history by becoming the first United States-based tour to conduct multiple stroke play events on the continent of Africa.

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Antony Scanlon, executive director of the International Golf Federation (IGF), enjoyed a whistle-stop visit to The European Tour headquarters at Wentworth recently where he met The European Tour's key staff.

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Courtesy photo

olympic rings

Scanlon, who was appointed in November last year to facilitate golf’s return to the Olympic movement at the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016, met Tour chief executive, George O’Grady; his predecessor Ken Schofield; chairman Neil Coles and other board directors, including Sir Michael Bonallack.

Among their business discussions was comments about the key roles national association and federations will need to play to successfully integrate as an Olympic sport after a 112-year absence. But their gathering wasn't all hard work. They took a moment to raise a glass of Moët & Chandon.

The reason? To celebrate the achievement of European Tour members Martin Kaymer, Lee Westwood, Luke Donald and Graeme McDowell who, respectively, had just occupied the top four places on the Official World Golf Ranking.

A worthy reason for bubbly, indeed.

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