Why three-time Tour winner Cameron Champ's biggest victory has been off the course

Cameron Champ wants to pay it forward through his foundation.

Why three-time Tour winner Cameron Champ's biggest victory has been off the course

NAPA, Calif. – My goosebumps had goosebumps as I watched Cameron Champ win the 2019 Safeway Open (now known as the Fortinet Championship) at the Silverado Resort & Spa’s North Course. Champ, who grew up 60 miles away in Sacramento, played with a heavy heart as his Grandpa, Mack Champ, watched from the family home. “Pops,” as Cameron affectionately called him, had entered hospice for Stage IV stomach cancer, and died shortly thereafter.

It was Mack who bought Cam and his sister Madison their first sets of plastic clubs. (Madison is on the autism spectrum, which is why Cameron typically wears a baby-blue shirt on Sunday, the color of autism awareness.) Cameron was 2 ½ at the time he first wrapped his hands around a club, and it wasn’t long before Mack started taking his grandson to Foothill Golf Course in Sacramento. For $200 a year, Cameron could play as much golf as he wanted.

“After school we would go play as many holes as we could,” he recalled. “I still remember the push carts they had to the little snack shack they had.”

Two years ago, I was standing by the 18th green at the Safeway Open next to Champ’s father, Jeff, who held his cell phone in his left hand so Pops could hear the applause rain down from the crowd as Cameron wrapped up his second of now three PGA Tour titles. Jeff gritted his teeth, tightened every muscle in his body and attempted, by sheer will, to force the tears back into their ducts. But it was already too late. His long embrace on the green with his son reminded me of Tiger Woods hugging caddie Steve Williams and losing it on his shoulder at the British Open after Woods’s father had passed away in 2006. Just as on that day, there weren’t many dry eyes among those who witnessed this scene.

Champ is living to make Grandpa Mack proud and that means being a winner in his community. At 24, he launched his own foundation to give back and chose Foothill Golf Course, a par-3 course measuring 1,203 yards, as his initial project to give young people a safe haven to play and learn.

“We’ve been thinking about this since I was a kid,” Cameron told me at the time.

The foundation has a simple goal: to establish and promote youth mentorship and golf programs that foster an environment for academic achievement and healthy living for children from underserved and disadvantaged communities.

“We believe sport speaks to youth in a language they understand and when coupled with access to a safe and nurturing place to ‘play,’ sport can be a tool for positive change,” the Foundation’s boiler plate reads. “We believe in the power of education — that access to learning beyond-the-classroom (K-12) and access to college will unlock the potential in every child and significantly improve the odds of lifelong success. We believe in the power of mentoring – providing access to mentors not only helps the children today but creates learned behaviors that will enable children to make the world a better place. When this all comes together, we will fuel the dreams of the children we touch. Come walk with us!”

It’s a powerful message and one that got a huge lift on Monday when the Fortinet Championship, the inaugural event of the 2021-22 season and a new Tour partner, stepped up on Monday to support Champ with his family’s vision – it’s truly a family affair at the Cameron Champ Foundation – with The Walk with Us Cameron Champ Foundation Pro-Am, benefiting the Foundation in support of programs for underserved and underrepresented children in the Bay Area.

“It’s kind of like a dream,” Champ said. “It’s something that again we’re going to keep pushing as hard as we can in order for that dream to become a reality.”

Champ, who got his first taste of playing at Silverado in a junior all-stars competition and had Pops on the bag when he played The First Tee Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links and Poppy Hills Golf Course, also created the Mack Champ Invitational, a junior golf tournament, in Houston. He knows he’s stood on many shoulders and accepted many helping hands to get to where he is and he wants to pay it forward.

Since acquiring the management contract at Foothill in June 2019, he has set out to make it a place where children can learn not only to play golf but also get a healthy snack, help with their homework and just be kids. COVID-19 delayed some of the improvement measures they outlined, but he said, “everything is going in the proper directions that we want it to.”

“What Cameron and his dad are going to do is create opportunities,” Mack told Golf.com a year before he died. “There are kids in gangs, kids with no hope, and we want to try to get them into golf. Cameron knows if people didn’t give to him, he wouldn’t be where he is.”

That’s why he called yesterday’s fundraiser, “a huge steppingstone for us.”

“We’re trying to make a difference in as many ways as we can,” he added. “Obviously I’m only one person, my family’s only one family, my board is only one board, so we can only do as much as we can, but with the resources and with the people we have that are in support of us, we’re going to do everything we possibly can to help the kids, especially in my hometown.”

It is a victory that trumps all the trophies that have begun to pile up at home and likely all of the ones still to come.

Source : Golf Week More   

What's Your Reaction?

like
0
dislike
0
love
0
funny
0
angry
0
sad
0
wow
0

Next Article

Fortinet Championship tee times, TV info for Thursday's first round

From tee times to TV and streaming information, here's the lowdown on the Fortinet Championship.

Fortinet Championship tee times, TV info for Thursday's first round

The new PGA Tour season is officially here and if it feels like the 2020-21 super season just ended, that’s because it did. Just 11 days after Patrick Cantlay was crowned the Tour Championship winner and the FedEx Cup champion, the PGA Tour is ramping back up with the Fortinet Championship at Silverado Resort and Spa in Napa, California. The event was formerly known as the Safeway Open.

While several big names take a bit of downtime, including those who will play next week’s Ryder Cup, the field is highlighted by world No. 1 Jon Rahm (a European Ryder Cupper), recently-named PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Will Zalatoris, Cameron Champ (who won this event in 2019) and Max Homa.

From tee times to TV and streaming info, here’s what you need to know for the first round of the Fortinet Championship. All times listed are ET.

Tee times

1st tee

Tee time Players
10:00 a.m. Peter Malnati, Bill Haas, Brandon Hagy
10:11 a.m. Michael Kim, Pat Perez, Jamie Lovemark
10:22 a.m. Ben Martin, Jonathan Byrd, J.J. Spaun
10:33 a.m. Michael Thompson, Webb Simpson, Emiliano Grillo
10:44 a.m. Brendon Todd, Lanto Griffin, Danny Willett
10:55 a.m. Andrew Landry, J.B. Holmes, Adam Long
11:06 a.m. Dylan Frittelli, Sung Kang, Martin Trainer
11:17 a.m. Ted Potter Jr., Chris Stroud, Peter Uihlein
11:28 a.m. Adam Hadwin, Scott Stallings, Luke List
11:39 a.m. Aaron Rai, Seth Reeves, Kurt Kitayama
11:50 a.m. Lee Hodges, Dylan Wu, Justin Suh
12:01 a.m. David Skinns, Lucas Herbert, Kevin Yu
12:12 a.m. Dawie van der Walt, Paul Barjon, Kristoffer Ventura
3:10 p.m. John Huh, Tom Hoge, Doc Redman
3:21 p.m. D.J. Trahan, Harold Varner III, Cameron Percy
3:32 p.m. Brendan Steele, Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Maverick McNealy
3:43 p.m. Jim Herman, Sebastian Munoz, C.T. Pan
3:54 p.m. Hideki Matsuyama, Hudson Swafford, Matt Kuchar
4:05 p.m. Marc Leishman, Brandt Snedeker, Will Zalatoris
4:15 p.m. Scott Piercy, Chesson Hadley, Roger Sloan
4:27 p.m. Austin Cook, Adam Schenk, Matthew NeSmith
4:38 p.m. James Hahn, Vaughn Taylor, Denny McCarthy
4:49 p.m. Joseph Bramlett, Mito Pereira, Max McGreevy
5:00 p.m. Stephan Jaeger, Sahith Theegala, Greyson Sigg
5:11 p.m. Ben Kohles, Joshua Creel, Brandon Wu
5:22 p.m. David Lipsky, Hayden Buckley, Turk Pettit

10th tee

Tee time Players
10:00 a.m. Andrew Putnam, David Hearn, Kramer Hickok
10:11 a.m. Russell Knox, Patrick Rodgers, Sepp Straka
10:22 a.m. Kyle Stanley, Sean O’Hair, Talor Gooch
10:33 a.m. Kevin Na, Nate Lashley, Chez Reavie
10:44 a.m. Jon Rahm, Max Homa, Si Woo Kim
10:55 a.m. Cameron Champ, Phil Mickelson, Kevin Tway
11:06 a.m. Cameron Tringale, Hank Lebioda, Doug Ghim
11:17 a.m. Brice Garnett, Wyndham Clark, Harry Higgs
11:28 a.m. Danny Lee, Scott Brown, Nick Watney
11:39 a.m. Chase Seiffert, Nick Hardy, Taylor Moore
11:50 a.m. Scott Gutschewski, Adam Svensson, Cameron Young
12:01 a.m. Curtis Thompson, Justin Lower, Trevor Werbylo
12:12 a.m. Jared Wolfe, Callum Tarren, John Augenstein
3:10 p.m. Troy Merritt, Jason Dufner, Brian Stuard
3:21 p.m. Beau Hossler, Sam Ryder, Tyler McCumber
3:32 p.m. Ryan Moore, Bo Van Pelt, Kelly Kraft
3:43 p.m. Tyler Duncan, William McGirt, Kevin Stadler
3:54 p.m. J.T. Poston, Charles Howell III, Kevin Chappell
4:05 p.m. Nick Taylor, Patton Kizzire, Charley Hoffman
4:15 p.m. Ryan Armour, Jonas Blixt, Aaron Baddeley
4:27 p.m. Seung-Yul Noh, Mark Hubbard, Bronson Burgoon
4:38 p.m. Alex Smalley, Trey Mullinax, Davis Riley
4:49 p.m. Bo Hoag, Jim Knous, Josh McCarthy
5:00 p.m. Vincent Whaley, Austin Smotherman, Andrew Novak
5:11 p.m. Michael Gligic, Taylor Pendrith, Quade Cummins
5:22 p.m. Brett Drewitt, Chad Ramey, Michael Duncan

TV, streaming, radio information

You can watch Golf Channel for free on fuboTV and CBS on the Paramount+ app. All times ET.

Thursday, Sept. 16

TV

Golf Channel: 6-9 p.m.

STREAMING

PGA Tour Live: 10 a.m.-9 p.m.

RADIO

PGA Tour Radio on SiriusXM: 3-9 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 17

TV

Golf Channel: 6-9 p.m.

STREAMING

PGA Tour Live: 10 a.m.-9 p.m.

RADIO

PGA Tour Radio on SiriusXM: 3-9 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 18

TV

Golf Channel: 6-9 p.m.

RADIO

PGA Tour Radio on SiriusXM: 4-9 p.m.

Sunday, Sept. 19

TV

Golf Channel: 6-9 p.m.

RADIO

PGA Tour Radio on SiriusXM: 4-9 p.m.

We recommend interesting sports viewing and streaming opportunities. If you sign up to a service by clicking one of the links, we may earn a referral fee.

Source : Golf Week More   

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.