3M Open: Cam Champ focused on his game, not his title defense – InForum
BLAINE, Minn. – Cam Champ stuck a corner kick on the No. 18 last year in the final round of the 3M Open at TPC Twin Cities in Blaine, Minnesota to essentially lock the title. He made the putt, hoisted the trophy above his head a few minutes later and declared himself the happiest he had ever been.
It felt like a launchpad for fan-favorite Champ, who many consider the longest hitter on the PGA Tour. The limit didn’t seem to exist when it came to his cap as a player.
That’s what made the past year such a disappointment for him. After breaking his left wrist about a month and a half after winning the 3M Open, Champ missed most of the fall events as he worked his way through the recovery process.
Although he’s had a few highlights since returning to the PGA Tour, namely a top-10 finish at the Masters in April, Champ has missed the cut in nine of the 15 events he’s entered this year. In fact, he hasn’t finished a 72-hole tournament since May 15, when he was tied for 38th at AT&T Byron Nelson.
“This year has been an eventful year, to say the least,” Champ said. “I had a lot of things in my personal life mixed up with my wrist fracture in the fall. It was an unknown whole for quite a while if it was going to be serious. Fortunately, it wasn’t too serious. It was very close to hurting my career for a long time.
As difficult as this year has been so far, Champ thinks a few good weeks could turn things around. There might be no better place for him to start this turnaround than at TPC Twin Cities.
“It’s nice to be back in a place where I have great memories,” he said. “It’s a place where it doesn’t matter if I’m playing well or badly, I’m just very comfortable.”
That level of comfort put Champ in “good headspace” entering the 3M Open this week. He will play at 12:44 p.m. Thursday alongside Michael Thompson and Chez Reavie.
“It’s probably the most exciting moment I’ve had in a very, very long time,” said Champ, who added that he had recently discovered “some equipment issues” that were tormenting him. “I say it well. These greens (at TPC Twin Cities) are kind of what I’m used to. It’s kind of what I grew up on.
As for being the defending champion at the 3M Open, that’s not something Champ thinks about. He knows that putting pressure on himself to rehearse won’t do him any good.
“I don’t really have any expectations,” he said. “It’s good, obviously, to come back and try to defend. It obviously means I’m doing something good. In the end, though, if I think about it all day, I’m probably not going to play very well. .
In a perfect world for Champ, he’ll play to the best of his ability this week at TPC Twin Cities, proving to himself, and everyone else, that he can still be great.
Maybe the 3M Open can still be a launch pad for him in that direction. Even if it’s a year later than originally planned.
“The last 10 months have been pretty tough for me,” he said. “I had to overcome a lot and go through some things. Now we’re on the rise and we’ll just deal with it.
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