Champ reveals tribute to late grandfather Mack
February 13, 2020
By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
Cameron Champ honors Grandpa Mack and equality at Genesis
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. – Cameron Champ continued his quest to bring people together through his profile in golf, sporting one black and one white shoe during his opening round at The Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club.
He also paid homage to his late grandfather Mack with a new Nike polo patch dedicated to preserving Mack's legacy.
Champ repeated his footwear move from last season during Black History Month, following the lead of Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James as a way to continue awareness, spark conversation and promote diversity and equality.
“With my interracial background, my dad’s side being African-American, my mom’s side being Caucasian, it’s something that means a lot to me and something I wanted to support,” Champ said at the time.
But his new polo patch is a very personal touch.
Champ’s grandfather Mack was his driving force in golf. It was Mack who spent countless hours with a young Champ honing his skills in the sport. When he was a college player at Texas A&M, Mack decided his grandson was ready for the stories of his past that included being unable to play golf at courses where he had caddied and being refused service at restaurants because of the color of his skin.
I’m super excited to unveil this collab with @nike to celebrate #BlackHistoryMonth. The patch is a silhouette of my late grandfather & serves as a tribute to his life journey, quest for equality, & passion for golf. I’m proud to wear this today to honor #PapaChamp and my heritage pic.twitter.com/FnEPkp1gxI— Cameron Champ (@Cameron__Champ) February 13, 2020
It wasn’t about anger for Mack. It was about showing Champ how to move forward with a sense of responsibility and to use his privilege for good. Champ is taking his grandfather’s words of “It’s not where you come from, it’s where you’re going,” very seriously.
The often-used message from Mack is written on Champ’s shoes.
“It is something that has always stuck with me and a saying he instilled in me so it was pretty cool to have it out there on my shoes,” Champ said. “It is important to remember that no matter the circumstances you can achieve anything you want.”A look at Cameron Champ's special black and white shoes. (PGA TOUR)
Last September, just days after finding out Mack was moved to hospice care with terminal cancer, Champ played in the Safeway Open at his grandfather’s insistence. Driving back and forth each day from Sacramento to the tournament in Napa, he was able to claim an emotional second PGA TOUR win.
Champ called Mack on the 18th green and said, “This one’s for you, Pops.” And afterwards remarked, “No matter what … even if I never win another tournament again or I win however many, this will definitely be the greatest moment of my golfing career.”
Sadly, Mack lost his battle in October.
The unique patch on his shirt has a dual black and white background to speak to his heritage, and it also sports grandpa Mack’s silhouette swinging a golf club. The shoes on the silhouette are also black and white.
“It was pretty cool to represent him on my heart as well,” Champ said. “It was a very cool opportunity to have from Nike and I feel very proud to have him on my shirt. He's always with me but this was special.”
The story behind the silhouette is another unique one as Champ’s father, and Mack’s son Jeff explains.
“What's on his shirt is beautiful,” Jeff says. “The first time my Dad ever saw a picture of his golf swing was when he got a hole in one in 1968 in Germany and someone took a picture of that.
“He always kept it and when I saw that, I had a silhouette made out of it. Nike then took that and made it look even better. It’s amazing how my Dad has his own logo and is pretty special for our family. To see Cameron representing Black History Month is something that is so meaningful to the family being African American and biracial.”