Cameron Champ’s late grandfather Mack “Pops” Cameron continues to be the golfer’s inspiration as he ascends PGA Tour leaderboards. Mack died on October 21, 2019 at the age of 78 after a battle with stage four stomach cancer.
Cameron credits Mack for giving him his first set of clubs and teaching him how to play golf. After his death, Cameron took to Instagram to pay tribute to the man he affectionately called “Pops”.
“Pops! Thank you for being the man you were,” Cameron noted. “A role model, mentor, and the greatest grandfather I could have ever asked for. You taught me life lessons I couldn’t have learned from anyone else. To be loving, caring, selfless and to have the ability to persevere through any obstacle that’s in front of you. You opened my mind to a lot of things this past month, that life itself is the greatest gift we were all given.”
Cameron posted a Golf Channel feature about Mack and went on to say that he hoped to “carry on your legacy forever.”
“That you always set out to do what’s right and to do what you truly believe in,” Cameron added. “The perspective I now have on life couldn’t have happened without you and I will always be appreciative of that and carry on your legacy forever. Give grandma a big kiss for me! Love you Pops! RIP 10-21-2019.”
Cameron’s Grandpa Mack Experienced Racism in Golf
Both Cameron and his father Jeff Champ are the product of a bi-racial marriages. Mack was an African-American who served in the military as a Vietnam veteran.
After Cameron committed to attending Texas A&M, his grandpa reflected on an experience of racism at a College Station restaurant. During a 2018 Golf Channel interview, Mack detailed a story of not being welcome to enter in the front door to get something to eat, even while wearing his military uniform.
“You weren’t allowed,” Mack noted. “You had to go through back doors.”
Cameron’s Father Jeff Credits His Grandfather for His Son Playing Golf
Jeff knows his son would not being playing golf if it were not for the daily practices with his grandfather. Jeff has a continuous message for Cameron which the PGA star has embraced.
“It’s not about you,” Jeff explained this mantra to Golf Channel. “If it wasn’t for your grandfather, you’re not playing this game.”
Mack grew up caddying and experienced racism on the golf course as it was unthinkable that he could find a place to play for himself. It is something Cameron is trying to address with his foundation’s mission to embrace diversity at the junior golf level.
“Back in those times it was different for African Americans,” Mack said, per Golf Channel. “They didn’t call us African American. In America we were called Negros. There was no place for us to play. You weren’t allowed.”
On Father’s Day, Cameron paid tribute to his grandfather by posting an animated video that Nike produced. As Cameron continues to emerge as one of the best young PGA Tour golfers, Mack is sure to be watching.