It has been a long journey for Cameron Champ to get to the place where he is – currently competing in major PGA tournaments, and his parents, Jeff and Lisa Champ have been there from the start. Jeff and Lisa owned a trophy business in Cameron’s hometown of Sacramento, California, and used the profits to help their son play golf at a competitive level.
Cameron is not the only athlete in the family as his dad Jeff was a standout college baseball catcher at San Diego State and was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles, per Golf.com. From 1988 to 1989, Jeff had a short stint in the minor leagues with the Bluefield Orioles and Peninsula Pilots. Jeff’s best season came in Bluefield in 1988 when he batted .287 with 43 hits, 26 RBI and 10 stolen bases.
According to Golf.com, Jeff opted to come home and marry Lisa rather than continue his baseball career. The couple would later start their business selling trophies, sports uniforms and t-shirts.
Cameron Learned to Play Golf From His Grandpa Mack
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The greatest man alive, the man I look up to for his wisdom and positivity no matter what goes on in my life on and off the course. You’re strength and sacrifice gave me the opportunity to play the game I love and I can never thank you enough. The man who started me at 2 years old in his backyard with plastic clubs in North Highlands CA and now at 23 sharing this moment is something I’ll always remember for the rest of my life. Can’t wait to share more moments like this. “It’s not where you’re from but it’s where you’re going” Papa Champ
Cameron comes from a bi-racial family with a Black father and a white mother. Jeff also came from a bi-racial marriage, and Cameron’s grandfather Mack Champ helped him learn to play golf. Mack was passionate about golf but experienced racism during his days as a caddie.
“Back in those times it was different for African Americans,” Mack explained to Golf Channel in 2018. “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.”
Mack died in 2019 after battling stomach cancer, but Cameron is doing his best to carry on his legacy. Earlier this year, Cameron announced he is launching the Mack Champ Invitational through his foundation aimed at growing diversity at the junior golf level.
“Excited to share that the [Cameron Champ Foundation] will be hosting the inaugural MACK CHAMP INVITATIONAL!” Cameron noted on Instagram. “March 20-22, 2020 at Memorial Park GC in Houston. This two-day event named in honor of my late grandfather and hero, will bring together the game’s best junior golfers of diverse backgrounds. Thank you to all our partners for your early support.”
Cameron Praised His Mom Lisa for ‘Being There for Every Junior Golf Tournament’
Cameron’s mom Lisa played an integral part in his journey, especially when he was playing in junior golf tournaments. Back in 2016, Cameron posted a photo of himself and Lisa sitting in a golf cart when he was much younger.
“Happy Mother’s Day Mom! Thank you for everything you do, especially being there for every junior golf tournament I had ever played in. Love you!!” Cameron noted on Instagram.
The golfer also sent a complimentary message on Lisa’s birthday.
“Happy Birthday to this beautiful person I get to call my mom!” Cameron said. “Wouldn’t know what to do without you! I love you mom!”
Cameron’s Dad Jeff Is Eyeing His Son’s First Masters Appearance
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Back to where it all started for me! Thank you @nike @nikegolf and @golfpass for coming out today to @foothillpar3 to showcase why this place is so special to me and my family. Can’t wait for everyone to see what we are putting together! More to come soon and excited to see where it all takes us! #ChampProud #TeamChamp #PapaChamp #CCFoundation
Jeff has been vocal about his desire to go to Augusta to see his son play at The Masters. Cameron qualified for his first Augusta experience with his September 2019 win at the Silverado Resort but has to wait a bit longer to compete for his first green jacket.
The 2020 Masters was postponed to November 12 given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. During a 2018 Golf.com interview, Jeff noted he was waiting to go to Augusta for his son’s first Masters.
“I’ve been invited to go to the Masters before, but I never went,” Jeff explained. “We always said, we’ll go when Cam’s playing in the tournament and not before. Man, do I look forward to that, my father and Cam and me walking Magnolia Road.”
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