January 31, 2018

Tiger Woods announces Cameron Champ as 2018 Charlie Sifford Memorial Exemption

Tiger Woods has announced Cameron Champ as the recipient of the Charlie Sifford Memorial Exemption for the 2018 Genesis Open. Since 2009, the exemption has represented the advancement of diversity in the game of golf. Champ will join the field of 144 players at The Riviera Country Club February 12-18.

Champ, 22, is a Sacramento-area native who turned pro months after appearing in and placing T-32nd in the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills in Wisconsin. Champ attended and played golf at Texas A&M University, where he was a finalist for the prestigious Jack Nicklaus Player of the Year Award and rose to become the No. 1 ranked amateur golfer for the 2017 season. In September, Champ represented the United States in the 46th Walker Cup, helping the U.S. earn a decisive victory over the Great Britain & Ireland Team in Los Angeles.

“I am excited to have Cameron in the field for the Genesis Open,” Woods said. “On the course, Cameron has all the tools to compete at Riviera, and off the course his commitment to grow the game is inspiring. I know Charlie would be proud to have Cameron play in the Genesis Open in his honor.”

Throughout his amateur and professional career, Champ has given back to his community through his involvement with The First Tee of Sacramento. Champ got his start with The First Tee as a teenager in 2003. Through after-school and in-school programs, the organization strives to help shape the lives of young people from all walks of life by reinforcing values like integrity, respect and perseverance through the game of golf.

Champ’s father Jeff was a talented athlete in his own right who had his professional baseball career cut short by injury. After being introduced to golf by his grandfather, Mack, at the age of two, Champ went on to attend Heritage Peak Charter School in Sacramento, becoming a two-time Rolex All-American (2012-13) and a member of the 2012 Junior PGA Ryder Cup and 2013 Toyota Junior World Cup teams.

“I am incredibly grateful and humbled to receive the Charlie Sifford Memorial Exemption for the 2018 Genesis Open,” Champ said. “This means a lot to me, as well as my entire family. Mr. Sifford’s legacy has had a huge influence not only on why I play the game of golf, but also how I seek to use the game as a vehicle for positive change, the celebration of diversity and to make a difference in our communities – all examples that were unquestionably set by Charlie Sifford. It gives me great pride to play in his name at Riviera this year.”

Named in 2017 to honor the memory of Charlie Sifford, the first African-American player to compete on the PGA TOUR, the exemption has been given to a golfer representing a minority background to play in the annual PGA TOUR event at Riviera for nearly a decade. Previous exemption recipients include Vincent Johnson (2009), Joshua Wooding (2010), Joseph Bramlett (2011), Andy Walker (2012), Jeremiah Wooding (2013), Harold Varner III (2014), Carlos Sainz, Jr. (2015), J.J. Spaun (2016) and Kevin M. Hall (2017).