Q&A: Cameron Young
September 01, 2020
By Adam Stanley, PGATOUR.COM
- September 01, 2020
- Cameron Young sits 41st on the Points List. (Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Cameron Young has had one of the hottest summers on the Korn Ferry Tour – and he didn’t even have status for most of it.
Young, a Wake Forest University alum, started 2020 thinking he would be playing on the Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada. After COVID-19 impacted that Tour’s schedule, he began cobbling together a summer of mini-tour events and attempts at Monday Qualifying for Korn Ferry Tour events that were still going ahead.
He finally broke through at the Pinnacle Bank Championship presented by Aetna and finished T11. The next week in Portland he finished T14. He then went T6-T2 at the first two legs of the Korn Ferry Tour Championship Series and sits 41st on the Points List, and will be playing a full Korn Ferry Tour schedule moving through the 2021 portion of this season’s unique wraparound schedule.
Young spent a few minutes with PGA TOUR Digital chatting about how he got through his worldwide summer, growing up in The Bronx, and his PGA TOUR debut at Pebble Beach.
How would you describe how things have been going in 2020? It’s been quite the run, to say the least.
It was a struggle up until I Monday Qualified in just to find events to play in, and find meaningful events to play in. I had my Mackenzie Tour status, but that didn’t happen. I just played some mini-tour events and some Monday Qualifiers and I felt like I was playing pretty well, but the Monday’s were brutal. If you’re even par through 7 you’re going home. I was playing nicely and just didn’t have the opportunity to play a four-round event.
But you finally got through a Monday Qualifier and did you just think, ‘Now I need to take advantage of this opportunity?’
Yeah exactly, you have to. I really had shot a bunch of good scores in a row. I had shot a lot of nice scores and I just tried to play the same golf but in a different place. Obviously it’s worked out as well as it possibly could. In a normal year I don’t get into Portland with that finish (T11 the week prior) and I’m in a different place. It could not have worked out better.
How are you feeling physically and mentally now?
I’m taking this week off just because I wasn’t prepared to play five weeks in a row. This week and next week off and a week off for the U.S. Open, and then I’ll be back for those (Korn Ferry Tour) events to finish out the year. I’m a little tired, because I really have played eight of nine weeks so it was a lot to be thrown into without knowing it was coming.
How about moving forward? You now have the opportunity to basically play a full Korn Ferry Tour season ahead in 2021.
It just proves that I can play at that level. I had a bunch of good finishes and felt like I really should have won a couple of times. I just didn’t make the putts and I hade mediocre Sundays. It just proves to me and for me that I can absolutely win out there, let alone once but I could go on a run and win a couple of times pretty quickly. Obviously I didn’t and I haven’t yet, but it made me believe it’s very possible. Just to have the chance to play out there consistently is going to be great for me – to figure out where I have to get better and what’s going to be the difference between saying: ‘gosh I should have won’ and ‘Oh, I won by four.’ I think that’s what I have to learn.
How did you get started playing golf?
I was very young. My father is a head pro up in New York at Sleepy Hallow Country Club and my mom played, my aunt is a teaching pro, and so I didn’t really have a whole lot of choice. There are pictures of me from my first day home from the hospital curled up in a golf cart with my dad out playing.
Did you play other sports growing up?
I played hockey and baseball through eighth grade.
Did you end up trying to find a way to play golf in the winter?
I went down to Orlando every year. We had a house at Orange Tree Country Club. Both my grandmothers were down there along with both aunts and a cousin so we were around that area in the winter a lot, and I got to go down and play. I had friends who played travel hockey but I just couldn’t do it.
You ended up going to Wake Forest University. Was that in the initial plan or did it come along later in terms of schools that were recruiting you?
I chose Wake through the recruiting process. I didn’t have any previous ties there. I looked at a bunch of places and I went to a number of places twice. I didn’t really know what I was looking for at first; Wake was one of the first spots. At the time – they do much more so now – but at the time it didn’t necessarily have the facilities to compete with some of those bigger SEC schools where you walk into the gym and it’s a massive building and all that. They didn’t have some of that, but it became less important to me as time went on. Now they’ve spent a ton of money on that recently and they have a beautiful facility they just built. I ended up knowing a couple guys who went (to Wake) before me and I got to know them a little bit. I really liked the coaches and the facility being on campus and it was a great choice. I loved it there.
As time went on, were you trying to push through and play professional golf?
I did. I got into competitive golf when I was 13-14 and played a lot of local things around home. The deal for me when I was little was: I never played a lot of AJGA because my parents always said, ‘When you can beat everyone within 500 miles of here you can start going to other places’ (laughs). Especially when I got to college, I valued my education but it was a great intermediate step where you learn to play a lot of competitive golf. Really once I got (to Wake) I was focused on playing professional golf. I did enough school to get me through and keep playing. Playing professional golf has absolutely been the goal for a long time.
Tell me some more about Scarborough, New York. It looks like it’s right there near Manhattan?
We’re 30 miles straight up the Hudson River from Manhattan. I lived in Garrison for a long time until I was 13-14, which is just 20 miles north, but it’s a lot smaller. I went to a K-8 school that was only 300 kids. It was pretty tiny. Then I moved on the property at Sleepy Hollow. Then I went to high school in The Bronx so I took the train in every day.
How was it being part of such a storied club like Sleepy Hollow for so long?
It’s incredible. It’s a great spot to grow up. It’s a family-oriented club. From a young age the members were very supportive and liked having me around and that’s continued all the way through college and starting my professional career. If you’ve played it, my golf game is explained a lot. It’s kind of wide open but tricky around the greens and a lot of wedges. I was encouraged playing there, ‘you just have to hit it a long way and then you figure it out from there.’ That explains a little bit how I play the game now.
You played your first major last year, the U.S. Open. How was that experience?
It was great. I didn’t play well; I was struggling with my back a little bit at the time. But it was a lot of fun. I had my dad on the bag during the tournament and my mom during the practice rounds so it was fun for the three of us to go out there and that was my first time really being around the entirety of the PGA TOUR. I couldn’t have picked a better venue, really.