Cameron Champ gets spot in Genesis Open via Charlie Sifford Memorial Exemption

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Cameron Champ gets spot in Genesis Open via Charlie Sifford Memorial Exemption

PGA Tour

Cameron Champ gets spot in Genesis Open via Charlie Sifford Memorial Exemption

Cameron Champ will get another chance to make an impression on the PGA Tour soon.

Tiger Woods has announced that Champ is the recipient of the Charlie Sifford Memorial Exemption for the 2018 Genesis Open. This honor means Champ has a spot in the Genesis Open, which will be played at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif., from Feb. 15-18.

“I am excited to have Cameron in the field for the Genesis Open,” said Woods, the tournament host for the Genesis Open. “On the course, Cameron has all the tools to compete at Riviera, and off the course his commitment to grow the game is inspiring. I know Charlie would be proud to have Cameron play in the Genesis Open in his honor.”

The Charlie Sifford Memorial Exemption, named in honor of the first African-American player to compete on the PGA Tour,  is given annually for the Genesis Open to a golfer representing a minority background.

The exemption has been awarded since 2009, with last year’s recipient being Kevin Hall – who has been deaf since age 2.

Champ is a former standout at Texas A&M who burst onto the scene when he contended at last year’s U.S. Open through 36 holes before finishing the week in a tie for 32nd. The 22-year-old was a part of the U.S. team that dominated the Walker Cup later that year.

He turned pro last fall, and his three PGA Tour starts thus far as a pro have all ended in missed cuts. Champ does have a Web.com Tour card, and he’s so far produced showings of T-21 and T-40 in two starts there in 2018.

The Sifford exemption represents the advancement of diversity in the game of golf. Champ has given back through his involvement with The First Tee of Sacramento, and he’s been involved with the The First Tee since 2003.

Champ also has a fascinating family backstory, one that starts with the sacrifices his grandfather, Mack, has made to help his family.

It was Mack who endured not being allowed service at a whites-only counter in College Station. It was more than 50 years later that his grandson was starring on the Texas A&M golf team in … College Station.

The family ended up in California because Mack was told when he returned from overseas duties in the Air Force that if he walked off the bus in Texas with his white wife Lulu, he’d go to jail.

Cameron, like his father Jeff, is the child of a bi-racial marriage.

Seriously, the Champ family history is an instructive read.

The young Cameron will look to continue to make his family proud as he hopes to survive his first PGA Tour cut as a professional next month.

“I am incredibly grateful and humbled to receive the Charlie Sifford Memorial Exemption for the 2018 Genesis Open,” Champ said in a release. “This means a lot to me, as well as my entire family. Mr. Sifford’s legacy has had a huge influence not only on why I play the game of golf, but also how I seek to use the game as a vehicle for positive change, the celebration of diversity and to make a difference in our communities – all examples that were unquestionably set by Charlie Sifford. It gives me great pride to play in his name at Riviera this year.”

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