The Honda Classic grants exemption to Kamaiu Johnson
January 28, 2021
By Staff, PGATOUR.COM
- January 28, 2021
- Kamaiu Johnson will compete at The Honda Classic. (Keyur Khamar/Getty Images)
Editor's note: This story was published on Jan. 28, 2021 following Kamaiu Johnson getting a sponsor exemption into The Honda Classic.
Kamaiu Johnson, who was set to make his PGA TOUR debut at this week’s Farmers Insurance Open before testing positive for COVID-19, has been awarded a sponsor’s exemption into The Honda Classic at PGA National Resort & Spa, March 15-21.
“As I said when I first learned that I had to withdraw, a fork in the road often has an interesting way of leading to new opportunities,” Johnson said. “It was beyond disappointing not to be able to play at the Farmers Insurance Open after all of the support that Farmers has shown me and the APGA Tour. Now, to find out that I will still have a chance to fulfill my dream of playing on the PGA TOUR is almost overwhelming. I’m so thankful for Honda and the team at the Honda Classic for taking a challenging situation and turning it into a blessing.”
After traveling from Orlando, Florida, to La Jolla, California earlier this week, Johnson, 27, tested positive and withdrew from the Farmers. He was replaced in the field by friend and fellow Farmers ambassador Willie Mack III, but it was a tough pill to swallow. To make matters worse, Johnson tweeted that his mother had also contracted COVID and was in the hospital.
Thursday, though, brought better news. Johnson, a standout on the Advocates Pro Golf Association (APGA) Tour, which seeks to advance minority participation in golf, tweeted that his mother was feeling better.
Then he revealed that he’d gotten the call to tee it up at The Honda Classic.
Johnson, who won the APGA Tour Championship this year, dropped out of school after eighth grade following a tough childhood and found a better life through golf. He learned the game and life lessons from the assistant pro and others at a municipal course in Tallahassee, Florida.
“Our tournament director Andrew George and I were familiar with Kamaiu from his attempts to qualify for The Honda last year,” Honda Classic Executive Director Kenneth R. Kennerly said. “When we heard what happened to him at the Farmers Insurance Open this week, we felt strongly that we wanted to give him a chance to play at The Honda Classic. We feel it is important to support the advancement of golfers from our home state.”
Johnson finished in the top 10 in the final five events on the APGA Tour, culminated by his victory at the APGA Tour Championship. He was thrilled to be extended an invitation to play in the Farmers this week, but noted upon withdrawing with COVID that other doors would open.
It didn’t take long.