mcloudy.png
Tuesday December 1st, 2020 1:49PM

A tearful Niemann aiming toward help for month-old relative

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. (AP) — One week after Joaquin Niemann had to miss the Masters because of the coronavirus, his motivation goes well beyond golf to trying to help cousins in Chile with a month-old baby diagnosed with a deadly genetic disorder.

It was enough to bring Niemann to tears on Saturday at the RSM Classic.

“Just thinking about him, I love him and his family, and they're really nice,” Niemann said after taking a full minute to compose himself. “I think it's kind of like a mission for me to help out for them.”

Niemann has had few troubles in life. He turned pro after the 2018 Masters and secured a PGA Tour card in five tournaments. He won as a 20-year-old last year with a six-shot victory at The Greenbrier and played in the Presidents Cup last December at Royal Melbourne.

He learned in the last week that Rafita Calderon, the newborn of close relatives in Chile, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Most infants with the disorder do not survive past early childhood.

The potential cure comes in the form of a new FDA-approved gene therapy drug called Zolgensma. However, the one-time infusion costs $2.1 million, making it one of the most expensive drugs.

“He needs expensive medicine to keep living and 100 days to get the medicine,” Niemann said. “That's the goal. There have been some cases that they don't live older than 2 years. The younger he is, the better it works.”

Niemann set up a page on Instagram in an effort to raise the money. He has pledged all his earnings for his final two events of the year, the RSM Classic and Mayakoba Golf Classic, along with $5,000 or every birdie and $10,000 for every eagle. Niemann has 15 birdies through three rounds at Sea Island, though too many bogeys to be in the mix. He goes into the final round in a tie for 55th.

He said soccer players in Chile are sharing the news on social media, and Niemann is trying to do his part.

“I thought I could do a big help here in the U.S. because being here on the tour, there is a lot of people that is really interested in this kind of stuff,” Niemann said. “And if I'm able to help Rafita to get his medicine, it would be a dream for me come true.”

Rafita's father is the cousin of Niemann's mother. Niemann said he grew up playing golf with Felipe Calderson during his rise that took him to the Latin American Amateur and his first trip to the Masters as a 19-year-old amateur.

Niemann missed his return to Augusta National last week when he tested positive for the coronavirus and self-isolated for 10 days. He is in the Masters next April from reaching the Tour Championship for the first time.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Golf, AP Health, AP Health - Children's Health, AP Sports - PGA
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
No. 15 Coastal Carolina rallies past Appalachian State 34-23
Reese White ran for a 3-yard, go-ahead touchdown and No. 15 Coastal Carolina defeated Appalachian State for the first time in school history to maintain its perfect 8-0 season with a 34-23 victory
6:32PM ( 10 minutes ago )
A tearful Niemann aiming toward help for month-old relative
Joaquin Niemann says golf has never felt more important if it can help save the life of a month-old relative in Chile
6:28PM ( 14 minutes ago )
It'll be Thiem-Medvedev, not Djokovic-Nadal, at ATP Finals
Dominic Thiem will face Daniil Medvedev in the ATP Finals championship match
6:22PM ( 20 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Streb leads at Sea Island as Zach Johnson closes the gap
Robert Streb was happy to get away with pars at the start of his round
5:19PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: US reaches 12 million total coronavirus cases
More than 12 million people in the U.S. have contracted the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic
5:07PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP source: VanVleet staying with Raptors; Hayward to Hornets
A person with direct knowledge of the discussions tells The Associated Press that guard Fred VanVleet has agreed to a four-year, $85 million contract to remain with the Toronto Raptors
5:06PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Sports
Sophia Popov shoots 64 to lead Pelican Women’s Championship
Women’s British Open winner Sophia Popov left top-ranked playing partner Jin Young Ko and everyone else behind Thursday in the Pelican Women’s Championship
6:09PM ( 2 days ago )
Tiger Woods to play with 11-year-old Charlie in Father-Son
Turns out Tiger Woods has one tournament left this year
2:24PM ( 2 days ago )
A tough year for all, a memorable year for Stewart Cink
Stewart Cink is hesitant to talk about good memories this year because so many people have suffered
3:50PM ( 3 days ago )
AP Online Golf
COVID-19 deaths of Serbian clerics highlight virus worries
The coronavirus-related deaths of two Serbian Orthodox Church clerics in Europe are highlighting concerns about what religious institutions and the faithful are doing and not doing to spread of the deadly virus
5:10PM ( 1 hour ago )
Carson says he's 'out of the woods' after battling COVID-19
Housing Secretary Ben Carson is crediting unapproved, experimental treatments with saving his life after saying he became “desperately ill” following his infection with the coronavirus
2:46PM ( 3 hours ago )
The Latest: Midwest governors: Stay home for Thanksgiving
Coronavirus infections are ravaging South Dakota, where more than half of tests have come back positive for weeks
12:17PM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Health
1st drug for rare rapid-aging disease extends kids' lives
The first treatment has been approved for a rare disease that causes rapid aging in children
7:06PM ( 23 hours ago )
Lawyers: Children detained at border facing COVID exposure
Immigration lawyers say Border Patrol agents are detaining about 65 immigrant children at a station in South Texas in poor conditions, with no room for social distancing and some wearing the same masks they had when they crossed the border
5:55PM ( 1 day ago )
The Latest: More than 1 million U.S. kids have had COVID-19
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association said Monday that more than 1 million U.S. infants, children and teens have been diagnosed with COVID-19
3:50PM ( 5 days ago )
AP Health - Children's Health
Fowler among those still not a lock for Masters invitation
Rickie Fowler is used to getting an invitation around the holidays to play in the Masters
6:20PM ( 4 days ago )
Column: Majors summed up by the young, the bold, the best
Even in the midst of a pandemic, golf still managed to have an uninterrupted schedule and three of the four majors
3:14PM ( 4 days ago )
Johnson's tears for a green jacket and major validation
The surprise was not seeing Dustin Johnson win the Masters
4:41PM ( 5 days ago )
AP Sports - PGA
No. 15 Coastal Carolina rallies past Appalachian State 34-23
Reese White ran for a 3-yard, go-ahead touchdown and No. 15 Coastal Carolina defeated Appalachian State for the first time in school history to maintain its perfect 8-0 season with a 34-23 victory
6:32PM ( 11 minutes ago )
It'll be Thiem-Medvedev, not Djokovic-Nadal, at ATP Finals
Dominic Thiem will face Daniil Medvedev in the ATP Finals championship match
6:22PM ( 20 minutes ago )
No. 8 BYU routs overmatched North Alabama to improve to 9-0
Tyler Allgeier ran for a career-high 141 yards and two touchdowns and No. 8 BYU routed overmatched North Alabama 66-14 on Saturday to improve to 9-0
6:21PM ( 21 minutes ago )
The Latest: Texas National Guard team helps El Paso morgues
The Texas National Guard has sent a 36-member team to El Paso to assist morgues in the border region with the number of dead as a result of COVID-19
5:49PM ( 54 minutes ago )
No. 3 Ohio State beats back comeback bid by No. 9 Indiana
Master Teague rushed for a career-high 169 yards and two touchdowns and No. 3 Ohio State held off a comeback by No. 9 Indiana to win 42-35
5:44PM ( 58 minutes ago )