BENN BARHAM IS A 34-YEAR-OLD Englishman who has played 140 events on the European Tour since 2005 and has two career victories on the Challenge Tour. Today, Barham is just glad to be practicing again. The tour pro from Kent underwent surgery late last year to have a kidney removed after cancer was detected in the organ.
Barham missed out on Q-school and will compete on the Challenge Tour to try to earn his way back onto the European Tour. He won’t mind after a medical crisis that threatened to end his career.
“There was no guarantee I was going to be able to play competitive golf again,” he said at EuropeanTour.com.
“They cut in and were pulling apart muscles to get to my kidney, so you have to look at every possibility. I was chatting to one of the physios and said ‘I hope to be playing golf again soon’, and she said ‘You should be able to play’. I thought ‘Should? That’s not an option’. It then sunk in that I might not be able to play again. It was quite harrowing at the time.”
Barham said he is recovering his golf form. He has been hitting balls at a covered range and, while not yet 100 percent, is headed in the right direction. He also has played two full rounds, increasing his overall fitness. His goal is to be a better player than he was with both kidneys.
Money has been a problem. Barham has been without an income for four or five months, calling it “tough.” It’s another reason why he needs to get back out there. He hopes to get into some European Tour events early this season. If that doesn’t happen, his first appearance will be at the Barclays Kenya Open on the Challenge Tour in late March.
−The Armchair Golfer