April 8, 2021
Augusta, Georgia, USA
Q. How do you feel after the first round today?
CAMERON CHAMP: I feel good. My game's in a great position. I hit it very well today. The greens are, I think, what is very tricky out here. They're extremely firm, extremely fast, and inside ten feet, it's pretty dicey. So I felt like I was able to handle myself pretty well.
Kind of had, obviously, a mix-up on 3, but besides that, that was really my only mistake today. With that and another three-putt, I'll take even par and move on to tomorrow.
Q. Talk about your drive today. You were getting a lot of good distance and good looks for your second shot. Talk about what you saw out there from the tee.
CAMERON CHAMP: Yeah, I think out here it's all iron and putting. Obviously, the fairways are a little bit bigger, but, again, you still have to hit them. Again, I drove it decently today and gave myself some looks. I think this year versus November you have to really respect this place, and certainly pins you can't really go at.
For me today, I think twice I really didn't hit any bad shots off the tee, just put it in position, but you just have to take your bogey and walk away. That's what we did. Again, it could have been a lot better, but I'm super happy with where I'm at and just play hard the next three days.
Q. Getting out here today, was it good to be around your family a little bit? Obviously, you couldn't interact with them, but having them out in the gallery, was that nice?
CAMERON CHAMP: Oh, yeah, just to see some fans and hear some roars. Obviously, this last year and a half, we haven't heard much of that. Obviously, the historical figures who have won this event, you always see it on TV, the big roars and the big crowds. At least to see some people here this week, and obviously my whole family came, which was nice, compared to my wife came with me in November, but I have my parents and my sister and a couple family friends, so it's nice.
Q. How inspired were you by the ceremony this morning? Why was it nice for you to personally be there?
CAMERON CHAMP: Just to kind of witness history, honestly. For me, like I said in there, Lee is someone who was a figure to my grandfather growing up. Him, Calvin, Pete, and a bunch of less than a handful on the TOUR playing back then, and he's what helped me -- honestly, what helped me get into the game of golf.
If it wasn't for my grandfather -- my dad was a professional baseball player -- I probably would have played baseball or some other sport. If it wasn't for him, I probably wouldn't be standing here.
Again, he's a figure to me that, again, even with everything he's endured, he's able to love people and be there for people and show support. For me today, I just wanted to give that back to him.
Q. Were you able to share that moment with your dad this morning?
CAMERON CHAMP: We were. Obviously, I was able to get a little closer than my dad and parents, but I saw my dad off to the side, yeah.
Q. I caught up with him out there. He said it was an emotional first day for him, being out here, being at the honorary starter ceremony, and then following you along in your journey, first time seeing you out here. What did that mean to you to have your dad out here with you specifically because of the connection with his dad being one of your biggest supporters?
CAMERON CHAMP: It's huge. Like I said, for us, it's just -- from where we've come from with nothing basically, for my parents to do what they did to get me to be able to play the game and now I'm playing Augusta, it's just taking it all in and enjoying it.
At times I think a lot of guys on TOUR take it for granted because, obviously, it's hard to get out here, but once you get out here, you just kind of get comfortable. For me, you can't really do it. You've got to keep your foot on the gas and keep pushing to get better.
I just think this week for him and for me and just to have my family here, it's an amazing feeling.
Q. Did you have a chance to have a conversation with Mr. Elder today or this week?
CAMERON CHAMP: I did, yes, yesterday we saw him. I know his health isn't too good now, which, again, you probably know how much it means for him to be here considering his health condition, but we were able to talk yesterday and just kind of chitchat and just normal talk.
Q. No words of advice or anything like that?
CAMERON CHAMP: We've talked a few times previously. We had our event a few weeks ago. But majority just personal stuff.
Q. One of the things he said to us after was like he hoped he had been an inspiration, and I guess I would just ask you if he fulfilled his hope. From your vantage point, is he an inspiration?
CAMERON CHAMP: Oh, yeah, 100 percent. Like I said, just to be the first African American to play on the Augusta grounds, just the stories from my own grandfather, again, it's -- I think our society's going in the proper direction. Is there a lot to go? Very much so. But for him, again, what he's done in the communities where he lives, just throughout the entire sport for African Americans and minorities, it's huge. Again, to witness that in person, it means even more.
Q. You've obviously done a great job using your public platform to try to make a difference in issues about race and social justice. If you do make that difference, is that for more important than even winning this tournament? If so, why?
CAMERON CHAMP: Yeah, like I said yesterday, to me, I'm still figuring out my true identity as a man, to be honest. I'm still 25. I'm still young, just got married, but I'm not where I think my game is capable of at all, but like I said yesterday, the more I succeed in golf, the more I'm able to do for others. So for me, that's what I'm really striving for, to be honest.
Obviously, it's nice to be able to -- money makes life a lot easier. Again, I know a lot of people who have money that are not happy at all. For me, it's just about helping others as much as can. I was given a lot of opportunities as a kid, and I took advantage of them, and I'm sitting here now. For me, it's just giving the next kid that opportunity.
Q. I heard you haven't even had time for a honeymoon yet, huh?
CAMERON CHAMP: No. Don't say anything. I might get in trouble. We've been trying to plan it. It's just been -- we got married in November, then we had tournaments, and then it's just -- yeah.
Q. A helluva November?
CAMERON CHAMP: Yes. I got married the next week after Masters last year. So it was an eventful two weeks for sure.
Q. Have people been supportive here? What's been the vibe you've received from Augusta and the fans?
CAMERON CHAMP: What do you mean? As far as what?
Q. Just the support, the galleries for you.
CAMERON CHAMP: Yes, as I said, it feels amazing just to see some people. It's been a year and a half kind of playing like we're in a college event or something. Again, I think all of us feed off the crowd and the vibes. When there's nobody there and you make a 30-foot bomb, you're just kind of clapping yourself. But when you have a fan base and people cheering for you, it kind of gets you more into it and gets you more energized.
I think I would say a majority of us would miss that aspect of the fans.
Q. Did you hear your dad's "Yeah baby"?
CAMERON CHAMP: Yeah, he has -- I kind of know his distinct voice.
Q. Was that one of -- like when you go shot by shot through your head today, is that one you remember on the good side? Are there others? What, from the golf standpoint, kind of pops right into your head from today?
CAMERON CHAMP: Well, obviously, a good one because he wouldn't have done that if I did something bad. Again, it was just a joy just to have them out here.
Q. Just to make that -- maybe you got asked this, and I apologize if you did. The par putt on 18, what that meant, how that felt to walk off at even par.
CAMERON CHAMP: It felt great. Like I said, I played well today. I had two bad holes, 30 minutes out of the four hours were bad, and the rest were good. So just going to take all the positives from today. Again, like I said, the greens are what's going to be who wins this event. So I just have to place myself in better positions and just two-putt every hole. If you make a birdie, you make a birdie and walk away.
I feel like the conditions will only get more difficult as the week goes on.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports