Last summer at the U.S. Open, Cameron Champ wowed the golf world with his freakishly long drives. The 22-year-old Texas A&M standout averaged 337.3 yards off the tee that week at Erin Hills, leading the field in driving distance, and ended up not only making the cut but finishing T-32.
That was when thoughts of turning pro early first entered Champ’s mind.
“Before the U.S. Open, I wasn’t even thinking about it,” Champ told Golf Digest. “But when I made the cut at Erin Hills, that changed the whole game plan.”
This week Champ will make his pro debut.
Champ will forego his final semester of eligibility in College Station, Texas, and tee it up in the PGA Tour’s OHL Classic at Mayakoba on a sponsor exemption.
After that, he’ll focus on final stage of Web.com Tour Q-School. Champ received an exemption into second stage because of his U.S. Open finish, and then last week tied for 11th at Bear Creek Golf Club in Murrieta, Calif. All qualifiers for final stage secure at least conditional status on the Web.com Tour for next season.
Champ’s start in Mexico will be his second PGA Tour start of the fall. He missed the cut at the Safeway Open in his native Northern California. (Champ was born in Sacramento.)
Chris Armstrong of Wasserman will represent Champ, and just like his amateur days, Champ will play Ping clubs and wear Nike apparel. According to Golf Digest, Champ plans to complete his degree in sports management through online classes this spring.
I'm officially a professional, would like to thank everyone along the way especially my parents and grandpa Champ, my coach Sean Foley and girlfriend who have supported me through the good and bad times.They allowed my dream of being a professional golfer possible even when at times it seemed way out of reach due to funds to even play in junior events. But my parents made it happen and sacrificed everything for me to play the game of golf and achieve my dream. I'm happy to have signed with Chris Armstrong with @wasserman who I believe will lead me in the right direction with my career. I'm looking forward to my first week as a pro and would like to thank the OHL Classic at Mayakoba for giving me an opportunity and allowing me to make my debut here in Mexico this week. #debut#blessed🙏 @ohlclassic
Because of the Safeway start and Champ’s appearance in the Walker Cup, Champ made just one appearance for the Aggies this fall. Texas A&M is ranked second in the country, according to Golfweek, and won three of its four events – all of which came without Champ in the lineup.
Still, there’s no denying that Champ is a special talent.
“He’s basically at the point where he’s like the U.S. military,” Champ’s instructor, Sean Foley, told Golfweek at Erin Hills. “He’s just weaponized.”
Foley also likened Champ to decorated Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt because of Champ’s eye-popping ball speed (198 mph, 10 mph more than the fastest on the PGA Tour last season).
Now that Champ has turned pro, he’s ready to run.