Memorial Tournament Golden Cub overcomes health challenges

DUBLIN, Ohio (WCMH) — Each year, the Memorial Tournament‘s Golden Cubs program gives some of the most deserving kids in central Ohio a VIP experience for a day.

During Wednesday’s Golden Bear Pro-Am, eight kids were given a front-row view as the players and celebrities teed off. They also had a chance to meet the “Golden Bear,” Jack Nicklaus, himself.

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Among those eight kids was Grandview’s Hayden Laycock.

“Playing baseball as a kid and I had to wear this special, like, padded shirt,” Hayden Laycock said.

That’s the earliest memory Hayden has of the many challenges he faced as a child.

“The biggest one is my most recent surgery. That’s the most memorable,” he added.

Now 15 years old, Hayden has been overcoming obstacles since before he was even born.

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“At 20 weeks, I went to my appointment to find out if he was going to be a boy or a girl, and instead they told me that there was something significant wrong with his heart,” Sabrina Laycock said.

Sabrina went to see a specialist the next day. Hayden was diagnosed with congenital heart block and was initially given zero chance of surviving.

Born 10 weeks early, he spent the first 43 days of his life in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

“When Hayden got his pacemaker, he was the third smallest baby in the world to ever get one. And he was the first of those babies to survive,” Sabrina Laycock said.

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But that was just the beginning. When he was one, Hayden had to have surgery to get a new pacemaker. At five, an asthma attack landed him in the hospital for a full week.

He has spent much of his early life in and out of the hospital, but through it all, Hayden always maintained a positive outlook.

“I just know I’m in good hands whenever I’m there, so I’m actually never worried. I leave all that to my parents,” Hayden Laycock said.

“He loves to have adventures, loves to go out to eat, loves to join sports and be with his friends,” Sabrina Laycock said.

Both Hayden and his mother say his favorite sport is golf.

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Having to focus on sports less impacted by his condition, Hayden also grew to love baseball, bowling, and theatre.

Hayden was selected as a 2024 Golden Cub, just one year after being invited to speak at the Memorial Tournament about his journey.

“I would love to meet any of the golfers. My favorites are Rory McIlroy and Colin Morikawa,” Hayden Laycock said hopefully on Monday.

Over the years, Hayden has tried to create some good out of a difficult situation. He is an avid supporter of the BuckeyeThon, and on his own, has raised more than $10,000.

Now, expected to live a long, happy life, his desire to help others has become a natural progression.

“Hayden was born with such an amazing attitude. If you ask him if he would change his heart problem, he has always, his whole life said, ‘No, I wouldn’t change a thing,” Sabrina Laycock said.

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