It’s one thing to play golf with Donald Trump, but it’s another to get to touch those trademark locks. That’s just what happened when Kristy McPherson first met “The Donald” while competing in The Golf Channel’s reality series, “The Big Break VI: Trump National” in 2007.

“When I met Mr. Trump, I had to be the first to touch his hair,” she jokes. “I have to admit it didn’t look real, but after a good run of the fingers, it’s definitely real!”

A self-described “born competitor,” Kristy first picked up a golf club at age 7. She faced her toughest opponent at age 11 when she was diagnosed with Still’s disease, now called systemic-onset juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Sidelined from playing softball, basketball and golf, the Conway, S.C., native spent much of that year in bed with high fevers, horrible rashes and stiff joints.

“Doctors told me that I should find something else to do other than sports,” she says. Instead, she turned to the game she could play with minimum pain.

“Golf wasn’t my favorite sport, but it looked like my only option, so I learned to love the game,” she says.

Since appearing on the “The Big Break,” the three-time All-American collegiate golfer has earned a spot on the Ladies Professional Golf Association Tour (LPGA). The 29-year-old competes nine months a year, yet still finds time to help support the Arthritis Foundation. For the past two years, she has helped raise funds for the Foundation’s golf event in Indiana.

Arthritis Today caught up with Kristy on tour to find out more about playing golf with arthritis and why she thinks her diagnosis was a blessing.

What did you learn from “The Big Break”?

“I learned that every shot counts, whether it’s in golf or life.”

What was it like meeting “The Donald”?

“I enjoyed getting to hang out with Mr. Trump as much as I enjoyed the experience of being on the show. He’s a pretty good player himself and a really classy guy to hang out with.”

Other than Donald Trump, who else has challenged you on the links?

“Annika Sorenstam. She is the best woman to ever play the game. Two years on tour with her is something I’ll always remember.”

What’s the toughest part of the LPGA Tour?

“Traveling each week. But I love being competitive and staying active. I wake up stiff each day, but I stick with my daily medications and keep moving.”