As late as Wednesday afternoon, Cameron Champ lounged on the couch in his Houston home, assuming that would be the spot in which he’d take in this week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic. Champ had tested positive for COVID, and due to the protocols put into place by the PGA Tour, the 25-year-old would be forced to the sidelines.
But by Sunday, Champ was climbing up the leaderboard at Detroit Golf Club, putting an exclamation point on one of the wackier weeks any Tour player has dealt with in recent years. Under a tweak of the PGA Tour’s Health and Safety Plan, he was given a last-minute reprieve after being told he’d be out for the week.
Champ shot a 32 on the back nine Sunday, finishing with a round of 66 and finishing the four-day event at 14-under par. When he finished, he was in a tie for third.
Live leaderboard: Final round live updates from Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit
Opinion: Bryson DeChambeau berating a PGA Tour cameraman reveals his true brand
The former Texas A&M star admitted the week took its toll on him, but he still preferred the chaos to sitting around at home, and joked that he’d likely have taken this result if asked five days ago.
“I probably would have taken it when you told me that,” he said. “It’s been a long week, mentally draining week, but again, I’m thankful to the PGA Tour, my agent, my team just to get me here to play and gave me the opportunity to play. Like I said, I’m just happy to be back out playing.”
Champ was miffed by the original test result, insisting he was asymptomatic, and saying he’d been prudent about social distancing because his fiancee’s father has a heart condition and he didn’t want to put him at risk.
[ Meet Mark Douglas, Detroit Golf Club’s third Black president in 121 years ]
He insisted earlier this week he had no idea the Tour would reverse its policy and allow players that tested positive to be reinstated with two negative tests more than 24 hours apart.
The Tour had previously based its self-isolation period of 10 days on the Centers for Disease Control’s protocols, but late Wednesday the Tour announced it would be transitioning to the CDC’s test-based model for those who are not showing COVID symptoms.
Champ got a call around 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, asking if he’d be interested in playing and jumped at the chance.
He played well out of the gate, shooting a 69 on Thursday and following with rounds of 68 and 71.
Hitting the long ball has always been Champs’ specialty, and he was second in strokes gained off the tee by the time he finished his round on Sunday.
During Saturday’s round at the par-5 No. 14, Champ was in the fringe in two, but flubbed a chip and two-putted for par. He pulled the ball out of the hole and flipped it into the adjacent pond in frustration. On Sunday, however, Champ learned from his mistakes and eagled the hole, a key piece of Sunday’s round.
“I was just putting things together, really. I still three-putted twice today, but besides that, I took advantage of all my opportunities when they came,” he said. “I made a great putt you usually don’t make on 14 for eagle, so that one I just kind of walked off and was obviously happy with it. It was just an all-around solid day. As I said, minimum mistakes, but then took advantage of the opportunities.”