An epic journey to and from hell: in just thirty days. It happened during the week before Christmas. Hayden Springer, a young American pro golfer, lost his three-year-old daughter on November 13th. But, miraculously, on December 17 he won the card for the PGA Tour, the world's top golf circuit, for the first time.
This will give him the opportunity to raise his second daughter Annie and finance the "Extra To love" foundation for trisomy 18.
Hayden Springer, story
This genetic disease took away the greatest joy in life. Nothing and no one can bring little Sage back, but with what she will earn, the 26-year-old from Tennessee will be able to embark on a journey towards a better future in which trisomy 18 is no longer incompatible with a dignified life.
Also known as Edwards syndrome, trisomy 18 is a genetic disorder characterized by the presence of a third chromosome 18 in cells. Those affected have 47 chromosomes instead of 46, making normal life impossible. The statistics are merciless: most cases do not go beyond the first year of life but the first weeks or even the first hours are often fatal.
But Hayden doesn't give up. This achievement is just the beginning of his journey towards a better future for his family and all those who face this terrible disease. Through his foundation, where he makes resources and knowledge available, he is giving hope to many people and, above all, he demonstrates that even from the greatest tragedy the greatest triumph can arise.
Sage Springer wasn't just a survivor. She was a champion, a true fighter. Although it seemed impossible in the eyes of her parents, she was born in Dallas via cesarean on October 1, 2020, but her difficulties would only be the beginning of her courage.
At just four months old, on January 17, 2021, Sage underwent heart surgery that lasted 15 hours. Eight weeks of hospitalization followed, but she Sage demonstrated immense strength and eventually she left that hospital. She left an indelible mark on all who knew her, demonstrating an extraordinary joie de vivre.
"She was always happy, she loved life" her mother Emma said of her on the sidelines of the competition in Ponte Vedra where her husband's golf life changed. "We believe that Sage inspired many people to find happiness in her.
Every time you looked at her, her smile made you smile." As a golf-loving nurse, mum Emma has a clear idea: "Sage has shown that trisomy 18 is compatible with normal life. You can smile and take it easy. That's why we want everyone to know that Sage he was learning to take his little steps and that brought a vast, immense happiness to all of us." Precisely from here the Extra To Love project was born, which Emma personally takes care of, where the word "extra" stands for the extra chromosome.
Hayden Springer, talent from Nashville and number 486 in the world ranking, has made the big leap in the most complex moment for golf. It was 2019, just before the pandemic exploded. He therefore found himself facing a difficult path, between smaller circuits and races in Latin America.
However, despite the adversity, Hayden has only managed two major successes to date. The first was qualifying for the 2021 US Open at Torrey Pines, although he didn't make the cut. The second, however, was his victory, his second success as a professional, in the Fortinet Cup Championship in Calgary last September.
The award secured him the Korn Ferry Tour card for 2024, an event that, while prestigious, involves a lot of travel and little revenue. But fate decided differently. For the first time since 2012, the leaders of the PGA Tour have reinstated the qualifying school this year, a playoff competition where you can obtain the card for the prestigious circuit: Hayden Springer participated and won it.
The event took place on December 18 in Ponte Vedra, Florida, on the TPC Sawgrass course. Hayden finished the competition at -8, in fourth place tied with the Mexican Raul Pereda, finally earning his ticket to the Korn Ferry Tour.
Following him behind the scenes were his wife and their one-year-old second daughter, Annie. But we couldn't help but notice Sage's presence. He was there, undoubtedly. "I thought of her on the course, when the pressure was at its maximum and I had to keep my calm so as not to make mistakes.
But every time I closed my eyes, I saw her smile. I wasn't thinking about golf, I wasn't thinking about my next shot or the last. I only thought of her and her smile."