SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The TPC Scottsdale Champions Course is a fitting venue in many ways for the Advocates Professional Golf Association Tour this week.
The tour was created to give opportunities to minorities in the game of golf and as the tour grows, it’s staging events at more prominent locations.
The course plays off its name with a tip of the cap to diverse champions of all sports, with a collection of framed, glossy photos that includes Muhammad Ali, Althea Gibson, Jim Thorpe and the 1966 Texas Western men’s basketball team, the first team with an all-Black starting lineup to win the NCAA Championship.
Across the street from the more famous Stadium Course, home to the PGA Tour’s Waste Management Phoenix Open, the Champions Course is hosting the two-day, 36-hole event, the sixth tournament on the APGA Tour’s 2021 schedule.
Kamaiu Johnson comes in the favorite, fresh off a win six days ago at TPC Las Vegas, his first APGA win of the year. He says the experience he gained after playing a pair of Tour events on sponsor exemptions paid huge dividends on the APGA.
“Playing the PGA Tour events, I just learned so much,” he said on Sunday before his pro-am round. “It’s all about being intentional with my practice, relying on everything I learned from the PGA Tour events and bring it to these events.”
Johnson played the AT&T Pebble Beach in February and the Honda Classic in March.
“It’s just repetition,” he added. “Honestly, it’s playing week in and week out, you don’t know how you stack up on the PGA Tour ’til you play on the PGA Tour so it’s literally just … learning your game, learning from your mistakes. That’s what my coaches and I are working on. …. You never stop learning and I’m looking forward to the rest of the year on the APGA Tour.”
Johnson, who says he was late to the game at age 13, really fell in love with golf when he was 21.
“I had just come back from New York. I went up there with my friend, caddied all summer and played in the Metropolitan Section and qualified for the U.S. Am and the U.S. Publinx and I kind of realized that this is what I wanted to do for a living.”
So what’s next? Johnson said he’s looking forward to the rest of the APGA season but is looking beyond that as well.
“What my agent and I are talking about is just focus on Korn Ferry, just take it step-by-step.”
Q&A with Kamaiu Johnson
Golfweek: What is your dream foursome?
Johnson: “My dream foursome would be Tiger Woods, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler. I look up at Justin Thomas, even before this year, he dealt with so much adversity off the golf course and when he first came on Tour he was a terrible wedge player. He worked his behind off to become one of the best wedge players in the game right now and I admire hard work. Tiger Woods has just been … he’s moving the needle like nobody else. I would love to pick his brain and just be around him for five hours. Rickie Fowler, he’s just such an amazing guy. When I had COVID at Torrey Pines, we were neighbors and we had some great conversations out on the balcony there at the resort. It was awesome to see someone like him take time out and give me some encouraging words and just be there for me.
GW What’s the nerdiest golf thing you do?
KJ: I never stop watching the Golf Channel. Honestly. I never stop watching golf. I love golf. Sun up to sundown, I watch golf. … I watch it as a fan, I don’t get too technical watching golf. I’m just a fan of golf and a fan of a lot players on the PGA Tour.
GW: Name some of the best courses you’ve played.
KJ: Winged Foot. Quaker Ridge. Shadow Creek. I’ve played Tryall over in Jamaica, which is a great golf course as well. Winged Foot is one of my favorites. I also played Cypress when I was out at Pebble. So that was one of my favorites as well.
GW: What are some of the great courses that you haven’t played that you want to play?
KJ: Augusta. Augusta. Augusta.
GW: What is your go-to game-day meal?
KJ: My go-to game-day meal… (pauses)… It’s probably Chipotle.
GW: Are you a bowl or burrito guy?
KJ: I’m a bowl guy, with a couple tortillas on the side.
original article link https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2021/04/19/kamaiu-johnson-dream-foursome-course-most-wants-to-play/