Cameron Champ finished T-19 in his Masters debut last week, but his biggest takeaway from his first trip down Magnolia Lane wasn’t how he fared at Augusta National.
It happened on Monday of Masters week, when chairman Fred Ridley paid tribute to Lee Elder 45 years after he became the first Black man to play in the Masters. Ridley announced Elder would Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player for the the first tee of the 2021 Masters as an honorary starter. He also introduced the Lee Elder Scholarship, a pair of scholarships in Elder’s name that will be awarded annually to one man and one woman who compete on the golf teams at Paine College, a Historically Black College and University located in Augusta, Geogia.
Cameron Champ was so inspired that he wanted to do something as well. On Thursday, Prairie View A&M University, an HBCU in Prairie View, Texas, announced a $40,000 donation from the Cameron Champ Foundation and Chevron Corporation to establish two scholarship funds for student-athletes on its men’s and women’s golf teams.
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“When Lee Elder walked on the Augusta grounds, it sent a message: ‘We belong,'” said Champ. The scholarship fund is named in memory of Cameron Champ’s grandfather, Mack “Pops” Champ.
“My grandfather had such an incredible influence on my life and always inspired me in many ways,” added Champ. “I’m so grateful for Pops introducing me to the game of golf, but also for teaching me that there’s so much more to life than golf. He always stressed the importance of giving back and paying it forward. Last week, Augusta National Golf Club Chairman Fred Ridley addressed how access and opportunities are still barriers to the game, and he hit the nail on the head when he said that the time to do more is now. That really sparked this idea, and I thought, what better way to honor PaPa Champ than to take up the challenge to do more, right now.”
The Cameron Champ Foundation’s mission is to transform the lives of youth from underserved and underrepresented communities through a focus on athletics, academics and healthy living.
“Mack Champ was born in Columbus, Texas, in a segregated neighborhood with limited resources. His determination to fight against systemic racism and discrimination fuels our work,” said Cameron Champ Foundation Board Chair, Glenn Weckerlin. “We recognize that the pandemic has disproportionately impacted communities of color and has placed a heavy burden on the university and its already stretched funding. We are thankful that we can collaborate with such a historic institution to provide deserving student-athletes from diverse backgrounds opportunities that they might not otherwise have. We are delighted to contribute to student dreams and hope our actions will inspire others to follow suit—the time is now.”