Issued on: 07/04/2021 – 01:20

Augusta (USA) (AFP)

Cameron Champ has grown used to explaining racial issues at golf events and he gave a few more lessons on Tuesday at Augusta National ahead of the 85th Masters.

Champ, whose mother is white and whose father is biracial, is the only American golfer with a black Masters heritage and a champion of golf diversity at the age of 25.

While stars like Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy said they wanted everyone to vote but didn’t know enough details about Georgia’s controversial new electoral law, Champ was there.

“As you can see, it really targets certain black communities and makes voting more difficult. To me, it’s everyone’s right to vote. To me, it’s very shocking to see that,” said Champ.

Champ, who finished 19th in his Masters debut last year and 10th in last year’s PGA Championship, noted last week’s Major League Baseball decision to postpone its All-Star game because of Atlanta Electoral Law .

The new law calls for stricter identification rules for voters, forbids the handing over of water to those waiting and for restricted ballot boxes. Critics say the legislation is designed to make it difficult for black voters to cast ballots.

“MLB and what they did and moved the All-Star game was a big statement,” said Champ. “I know there are a number of other organizations and companies that have made things happen. This week I will definitely be helping to do some things during the week.”

When asked if Augusta National should comment on the matter, Champ replied, “I think so.”

Champ said he rarely brings up politics on the driving range at U.S. PGA events because everyone has a right to their opinion.

“I try to avoid that at all costs,” he said. “I think everyone, even family, we will start fighting.”

But he’s moved to words for racial injustice and social equality.

“On certain issues, whether it is equality or injustice, I will definitely speak up. As far as politics is concerned, I try to stay as far away from it as possible,” he said. “There aren’t many people willing to talk about it. So you will never hear it.”

When he walked out of the house one day with the names of black police shootings on his shoes, he had more questions than appreciation.

“I remember going out on the track and I had Breonna Taylor and Jacob Blake on my shoes and I was asked by three different people, ‘Who are they?'” Said Champ. “For me, that’s why I do it.

“There is still a lot to be done, but I think everything is going in the right direction.”

Champ, a two-time US PGA Tour winner, feels compelled to speak out on issues of racial injustice.

“It’s not that I like to be. It’s something I have to do. It’s who I am,” he said.

“It’s an issue that hasn’t been brought up since it all happened. It’s just being pushed into the background as always.”

“Social injustice or equality or race, it is only talked about when bad incidents happen, which is kind of unfortunate. I just have to keep pushing.”

– ‘Hopefully in the next’ –

Champ recalled talking to Lee Elder, the first black player in the Masters to get a ceremonial tee on Thursday.

“I only remember his wisdom,” said Champ. “Pretty mind-boggling for him to say that he actually felt comfortable knowing he was safe as soon as he got in the gates.

“It’s exactly what he had to go through as a person to play the game and endure it for so long. It shows a lot about him and his character.”

Champ helps fund a college golf program at a historically black college, as do Augusta National and NBA star Stephen Curry.

“To see more minorities and more people of color out here, something has to change,” said Champ, recalling his days as the only minority junior golfer.

“It’s a great start, but I don’t think it will happen in my life, but hopefully in the next.”