Honda Traditional offers an exception and restores a dream

Two days after COVID-19 saved Kamaiu Johnson from his dream of taking part in on the PGA Tour, the Honda Traditional went forward on Thursday to make sure that the inspiring black golfer will get his shot.

Johnson was the highest participant on the Advocates Professional Golf Affiliation final 12 months, and the Farmers Insurance coverage Open gave him a sponsorship launch to play alongside among the greatest on the planet at Torrey Pines.

After which he examined optimistic for coronavirus on Tuesday and needed to withdraw.

The Honda Traditional, to be held March 18-21 in his dwelling state of Florida, provided Johnson an exemption.

“As I mentioned once I first realized that I’d be pressured to tug over, a fork on the street usually has an attention-grabbing approach of resulting in new alternatives,” says Johnson. “It was past disappointing not to have the ability to play on the Farmers Insurance coverage Open after all of the assist Farmers has proven me and the APGA Tour.

“Now it is virtually overwhelming to seek out out that I nonetheless have an opportunity to meet my dream of taking part in on the PGA Tour.”

Johnson grew up within the small city of Madison, Florida, and performed in a youth baseball staff with former Chicago Cubs All-Star Addison Russell. However he dropped out of eighth grade as a result of he was positioned in a category for slow-moving college students and felt torn.

Dwelling together with his grandmother in a crowded two-bedroom condo close to a golf course, he was seen swinging a stick by metropolis golf inspector Jan Auger. She made him a enterprise. If he helped on the membership, he might play for $ 1 per spherical. For the subsequent 5 years, Johnson virtually lived at Hilaman Park, honing his sport.

“Golf saved me,” Johnson advised Golf Digest final 12 months. “It gave me a purpose to reside, gave me a function.”

The APGA match was based ten years in the past to organize blacks and different minority golfers to compete and achieve higher entry throughout all the golf trade.

Johnson completed within the prime 10 within the final 5 APGA races final 12 months and gained his Tour Championship. He was overjoyed when the Farmers Insurance coverage Open referred to as to supply him an exemption in October.

After which it ended with a optimistic coronavirus take a look at.

Sooner or later after Johnson needed to retire, he was advised that his mom was in hospital with COVID-19 respiratory difficulties.

“That is turning right into a nightmare from hell,” Johnson tweeted on Wednesday.

He mentioned on Thursday that she was bettering, and his temper was additionally fairly excessive.

Ken Kennerly, CEO of the Honda Traditional, mentioned he and match director Andrew George knew Johnson from when he tried to undergo Monday’s qualification final 12 months at Honda.

“Once we heard what occurred to him at Farmers this week, we felt strongly that we wished to offer him an opportunity to play at The Honda Traditional. We imagine it is very important assist the progress of golfers from our dwelling state, mentioned Kennerly.

“We’ve got at all times been about rising the sport of golf for younger gamers and Kamaiu is such an inspiration to so a lot of them.”

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Extra AP Golf: apnews.com/tag/apf-Golf

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