Champ Breaks Driver 30 Minutes Before Final Round, Wins Anyway

Winning on the PGA Tour is difficult enough, but doing so with your backup driver — especially when you’re Cameron Champ, the long-driving wunderkid — is even harder.

The 23-year-old Texas A&M product had to overcome more than just the nerves and expectations that accompany holding a four-shot 54-hole lead; he needed to race to the parking lot mere minutes before his final round tee time because he cracked the head of his driver during his warm-up session.

Champ retrieved his backup driver head from his car got a few cuts in with it on the range before heading to the first tee. 

“I was on the range and actually had my headphones in at the time. I hit the first drive and kind of fell out of the air. I was like, ‘Oh, that’s kind of weird,'” Champ said. “(It) probably cracked there, but didn’t crack on the top yet. Then I hit another one and it just split straight in half.

“It was very unexpected. Then my backup is actually my old (driver head) that I have that week. I didn’t bring a new new head. It was a (head) one from my previous drivers. I know the weighting was just a little bit off, so just tried to hit as many balls as I could on the range with it just to get used to it a little bit.

“I tried to manage it. Obviously, I knew mostly today was probably mixed with nerves and adrenaline and just trying to find my tempo and my swing and whatnot.”

And manage it, he did. After a shaky 1-over par front nine, Champ’s lead disappeared, but he was able to finish strongly, birdieing five of his last six holes to win by the same four-shot margin he had at the beginning of the day. 

Despite only hitting five fairways on Sunday, Champ found 11 greens in regulation en route to a final round 4-under par 68 to capture his first PGA Tour victory.