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April 6, 2021

Cameron Champ

Augusta, Georgia, USA

Quick Quotes

Q. Last year to this year, how you're adjusting a little bit this year?

CAMERON CHAMP: Yeah, quite firmer, to say the least. Yeah, just to see them this firm compared to when you were backing up 8 irons in November, quite the difference. But I'm excited. You have to go about the round a little differently. You've got to play for more full shots into greens. Three-quarter or flighted shots are going to be really hard to hold this week depending on the pins and the wind. I know guys will just have to kind of adjust, which we can do.

Q. What adjustments do you need to make in your game to match it up to this course to start defending out here? You can hit it long enough, obviously.


Q. What's your next step on playing this course?

CAMERON CHAMP: I mean, I'm really comfortable here. I played well my first time in November. For me, it's just not making the big numbers out here. You can do that in a heartbeat, if you're not careful, and that was kind of what was my cause in November.

I still finished well, but just a few bad holes throughout the event that cost me a lot of strokes. So I think just managing my ball a little bit better and missing in the more proper areas because, like I said, you can have a good look from the middle of the fairway, but you miss in the wrong spot and you make a quick double easy.

I think just going about certain pins differently and attacking them differently. This week you're going to have to be -- I think with the pins and how firm the greens are now, which I would assume they're probably going to stay the same, you've got to be a little passive and not make those big numbers.

Q. Where do you have to be the most defensive? Where do you have to see the most caution? Are there certain par 4s out there?

CAMERON CHAMP: I think it just depends on the pin locations. Back flags, you just have to play it 25 feet short. If it gets back there, it gets back there. You know, like 17, for example, that back right pin, you miss long there, it's -- I mean, you're going to have to make a 25-footer just because the grass is so grabby you can't even really bounce it into it. It will just stick.

So just stuff like that. Like I said, just going about it. Some holes taking your par and taking your 30-footer. If you make it, great, you just walk off every time.

Q. Cameron, I'm wondering about some of your lines with your length. Like calm conditions on 1, for example, what line are you thinking?

CAMERON CHAMP: I know, if it's calm, I just hit driver just over the bunker, but, again, it's all dependent on wind. Usually, I'll just hit 3 wood just left of it, but if it's calm or even a slight touch of help, I'll hit driver.

Q. Bryson was talking about on 11 taking it over the trees on the right. Does that make sense to you? Do you know what he means by that?

CAMERON CHAMP: I don't know. I mean, today I hit a good one. I hit 9 iron in. I guess, if you get the right wind and the tee's up, but for me, I just like hit my little cut up the center. So to me, it's just get it in the fairway and get out.

Q. Do you feel like the course plays to your strengths, or does it straitjacket you on a few holes?

CAMERON CHAMP: I think it plays to my strengths. Like I said, I played very well, I thought, in November. I just made a few big numbers. I made a lot of birdies. Again, if I take away those big numbers, I would have finished a lot better.

So I'm just comfortable. I love it here.

The course sets up well. So, again, just trying to manage my ball a little better.

Q. Was your family able to make it out here for this week?

CAMERON CHAMP: Yes, they were. My wife's coming on Wednesday. My brother-in-law, my father-in-law, my parents and sister came. So it's kind of nice to have a few people and to actually see some fans since, again, for all of us in November, it was just one person, which all of us brought our spouse. If we didn't, we'd probably get a divorce.

Q. Cameron, the issue of the course playing softer in November, do you think in any way that detracts from Justin's accomplishment?

CAMERON CHAMP: No, I don't think at all. I mean, regardless, if it's soft, to shoot 20 under, you've got to golf your ball. He made really no mistakes all week, which is why he won by the margin he did.

Q. Do you hope that on the Masters years later someone says Justin did this, but it was in November? You feel there should be no asterisk on what he did?

CAMERON CHAMP: I don't think there should be. He's the Masters champion. He deserves it. He beat everybody, and like I said, he didn't just win by one shot. Again, whether it's soft, firm, he golfed his ball and played flawlessly all four days. So I wouldn't even -- again, I kind of even forgot it was during COVID or November. So, hopefully, people don't realize -- or criticize him because it was during COVID and in November and the course was soft and it wasn't normal conditions because he definitely earned it.

Q. When you're walking around the golf course, who do you think about?

CAMERON CHAMP: Not really anybody in particular, to be honest. Just try to go about my round. Like I said, we all have our game plans of, before the round, we tee off where certain pins are and kind of the shots we want to hit. So that's really all I'm getting through.

Q. Switching gears a little bit, I found your foundation has supported Prairie View and their golf program and women's golf organizations. How important is it to you to continue to integrate the game of golf?

CAMERON CHAMP: It's huge. I think, in the state where I am now, like I said, trying to -- again, I'm still young. I'm 25. I'm just trying to figure out what my true identity is and what I want to do in life. Obviously, I'm on the TOUR. It's my dream goal, but I think there's a lot more to that. You know, it's my job, it's what I love to do, but there's a lot more to all of us out here on TOUR. We have personal lives. We have a lot of other things going on.

For me and my family, like I said, giving back to as many people as we can, kids, just give them the same opportunities that I was given as a kid. If it wasn't for those, I wouldn't be standing here talking to you all. So for us to do that with Prairie View meant a lot. That was the school my grandfather wanted to go to, but, again, at the time, military was the best thing for him during those times.

So, again, it's just helping the next generation and whoever we can to give them the best opportunity to have success, and again, whether it's playing golf or not playing golf, it's just giving them the chance to get a college degree. Obviously, they want to pursue golf, but there's also again the educational side, and where they can use that in the future if golf doesn't work out.

Q. What you've done and what Augusta National has done to help provide those scholarships, what do you think the next steps are for continuing to provide that support for future generations?

CAMERON CHAMP: I think there's still a lot of work, a lot of work to do. I just think more people need to come together and realize where we are, where the game is, and where it's going. Obviously, COVID has brought a new light to the game, but in order for it to grow and in order to see more minorities and more people of color out here, something has to change.

So we're doing just a little bit of what we can do with our resources and the people we know, but with the TOUR and like I said, Augusta doing a lot of things and many other organizations, it's going to take a whole community to be able to bring it back up to where I think it needs to be and where a lot of people probably think it needs to be.

Q. Do you think Lee Elder as an addition to the honorary starters is a good person to summarize and kind of encapsulate that figure that could be that next step?

CAMERON CHAMP: Oh, huge. I remember I had a conversation even at our event, and just his wisdom and just his thinking during that week is pretty mind blowing for him to say he actually felt comfortable because he knew, once he got in the gates, he was safe. So it's just what he had to go through as a human being to play the game and just to endure that for so long, but he loved the game so much and wanted to play it. It shows a lot about him and his character.

For us, that's the people who I look up to. I know who my grandfather did. So it definitely means a lot, again, to kind of learn from him and kind of take -- kind of pick things out and just kind of pick his brain.

Q. When you were playing high level junior golf, were you aware of the need for -- to open up golf, to make it more diverse, or do you think you were more in like a bubble because you were playing AJGA?

CAMERON CHAMP: No, it was still definitely in my mind. When I played AJGA, there was no people of color. I was really the only minority, to be honest. Like I said, it's not just in pro golf. It's in junior golf, amateur golf, women's golf -- it's the whole aspect of golf. Like I said, it's a great start, but I don't think it will happen in my lifetime, but hopefully in the next.

Things have to go in the proper directions in order for it to happen.

Q. You've taken a great jump this last 18 months to two years just maturing, becoming a voice for those who don't have a voice. Do you feel that at all? Do you feel like these last two years have been a huge step up for you just in the maturity department, just becoming more confident and more willing to step up and do things like this?

CAMERON CHAMP: No, definitely. Like you said, was it last May during BMW, that was kind of my last straw? I was just like, you know what, I've just got to speak my mind and what's really going on and what's the truth, to be honest. Yeah, I think it's kind of letting me kind of, again, identify who I am and how I'm going to go about things for the time I'm pro and for the time I'm on TOUR.

Obviously, it kind of gives me a little chip on my shoulder just to get to where I know I can get because then, once I get there, then I know I can do a lot more things. For me, that's the way I look at it. Obviously, I want to be successful and I want to support my family, but the more successful you are, the more you can help others. That's kind of how I look at it.

Q. Have you played with Manziel at all?

CAMERON CHAMP: I have not, no.

Q. Given what you talked about and lot of debate in Georgia over voting and calls for the Masters to say something. Do you think Augusta National will say anything?

CAMERON CHAMP: I would think so. Again, I think a lot of people is very disappointed to see that. As you can tell, it really targets certain black communities and makes it harder to vote, which to me it's everyone's right to vote. For me to see that, it's very shocking. Obviously, with MLB and what they did and moving the All-Star Game was a big statement. I know there's a bunch of other organizations and companies that have moved things.

Again, this is a prestigious event, and I know there's a lot going on with it and the people involved with it. But, again, yeah, it was definitely a little bit frustrating to see that. This week I'll definitely be supporting doing some things throughout the week.

Q. Do you talk politics at all with other players, or is that something you try to avoid?

CAMERON CHAMP: No, I try to avoid that at all costs. I think with anybody, even family, we'll start fighting. Yeah, that's just -- again, everybody has their own personal opinions and rights. So just because you might have a different, or you, or whoever it may be might have a different opinion than me doesn't mean I like you or I dislike you. When people start talking politics, that's when things get really sticky because people get their feelings hurt or they don't agree with my opinion.

For me, I just try to just stay out of that. Again, when -- for certain subjects, whether it be equality or injustice, stuff like that, I'll definitely speak up. As far as politics, I try to stay out of it as much as I can.

Q. So the talk on the range is more likely to be about the flex of the shafts than what you think on politics?

CAMERON CHAMP: Yeah, again, with that subject, again, there's not many people who are willing to talk about it. So you're never going to hear it. Again, like I said, during BMW, I was really the only one to say anything. I remember walking onto the range, and I had Breonna Taylor and Jacob Blake on my shoes, and I got asked by three different people, who are they? To me, again, that proves the point of why I'm doing it.

There's a lot of work that needs to be done, but I think everything is going the right direction. What I can do, what my family can do and my team can do, we're going to do as much as we can, even though it's a small portion of the entire golf community.

Q. Do you like being one of the players that step up and use that platform to get that point across and defend your stance?

CAMERON CHAMP: It's not that I like to be. It's something I feel like I have to do. Obviously, I like it because it's who I am, but it's just like I have to do that. Again, it's a subject, again, that hasn't been brought up since everything's happened. It just kind of gets pushed to the back burner like it does always.

Just trying to keep it going and trying to create more foundation around it to get it going and get it building because, like I said, it's only -- you know, social injustice or equality or race, it's only talked about when bad incidents happen, which is kind of unfortunate. You know, like I said, just got to keep pushing.

Q. Have you talked to Steph at all about what he's done at Howard and obviously what you've done at Prairie View?

CAMERON CHAMP: I haven't talked to him since PGA. I know what he's doing, kind of the same thing. He loves golf. I know he's trying to do as much as he can for the game as well. Obviously, him being a good golfer. I think he plays a few times a week when he's on the road, which I think is kind of shocking that he has the time to do it, but he makes the time.

Q. Given that it's your first spring Masters, do you feel like it's your first Masters in some way because of the way the course is playing?

CAMERON CHAMP: A little bit. As I said, November was weird, no fans. Just on TV, you can hear the roar off 16 from here. So it is a little weird, but this feels a little more, obviously, like the Masters. Like I said, you can hear the fans -- that's probably on 16 back over there. So it just gives you a little more energy, a little more vibe, especially if you're playing well.

Like I said, I think that's what we all kind of miss, as far as fans go, is just the energy you can take off of it and build from that. Obviously, with no fans, it just kind of -- there's still energy, but it's not like there, if that makes sense. When you make a 25 or 30-footer on 16 to take the lead, that gives you so much energy versus there's nobody there. It's just like, okay, thank you.

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