On Thursday, Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU) Athletics, an HBCU in Prairie View, Texas, virtually welcomed PGA Golfer Cameron Champ to “The Hill” for a donor presentation to the Mack Champ Scholarship Program.
Champ, one of just two Black golfers on the PGA Tour (along with Tiger Woods) finished 19th in his 2021 Masters debut. The rising star set the event off with a $40,000 donation from the Cameron Champ Foundation and Chevron to establish two scholarships for its men’s and women’s golf teams.
The scholarship fund is named after Champ’s late grandfather, Mack (Pops) Champ.
Athletic Director Dr. Donald Reed, PVAMU Golf Coach Kevin Jennings, and Cameron and his father Jeff Champ, Co-Founder of the Cameron Champ Foundation, held a joint news conference to celebrate this strong show of support for diversity in golf.
Wendell J. Haskins and friends also donated to the Mack Champ Golf Current-Use Scholarship. Immediately following a check presentation.
In July of 2020, on the heel of the George Floyd protests, Haskins was prompted to write an open letter sharing his personal experiences with systemic racism and marginalization while working for PGA of America’s executive team from 2014-17.
Haskins, a passionate cultivator of Black golf culture as the founder and president of the Original Tee, a company that includes the Original Tee Clothing Brand and the Original Tee Golf Classic, offered some changes that the PGA of America could make to be more inclusive.
From there, efforts have been ramped up across the spectrum as it pertains to increasing participation in golf and making it more accessible to the Black community. HBCUs have been the recipients of this culture shift.
In Haskins’ open letter he asserted that Horton, a two-time Masters winner and president of the PGA from 1952-’54, was a racist. The PGA of America announced in July of 2020, that it was renaming its Horton Smith Award, effective immediately.
“In renaming the Horton Smith Award, the PGA of America is taking ownership of a failed chapter in our history that resulted in excluding many from achieving their dreams of earning the coveted PGA Member badge and advancing the game of golf,” PGA President Suzy Whaley said in a statement. “We need to do all we can to ensure the PGA of America is defined by inclusion. Part of our mission to grow the game is about welcoming all and bringing diversity to the sport.”
Haskins’efforts seemed to have everyone singing a different tune. His mission to diversify golf — make it a normal part of the culture and discover and help cultivate the next generation of Black talent — got another boost in November of 2020
In addition to honoring the Masters’ first Black golfer Lee Elder (a suggestion offered by Haskins years ago), Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley announced the creation of two scholarships in Elder’s name. The scholarships will be awarded to a man and woman on the golf teams at Paine College an HBCU in Augusta GA.