All the way back in 2004 was when Camilo Villegas first earned his way onto the PGA Tour. He ascended to stardom in rather rapid fashion with his exceptional all-around game, peak physique, and his signature “Spider-Man’ green-reading methods.
Villegas ranked as high as seventh in the world in 2008, and collected four PGA Tour victories through 2014. However, the Colombia native faced significant adversity as a golfer, and more than anyone should ever bear away from the links.
His 22-month-old daughter Mia died from spine and brain tumors in July 2020. Allow my ex-colleague Danny Rap to take it away for more context:
What a win for Camilo Villegas! Been through absolute hell with the death of his young daughter in 2020. Has kept at it despite struggling with his golf the last couple years. Now seeing results. T2 last week to EVR and now first win in 9 years. What a two weeks on tour. pic.twitter.com/7irjhVp4T7
And afterwards, you could see all the emotion pour out of a man who’s had to grind his way beyond belief not only to overcome unimaginable grief, but reascend among the globe’s elite in a notoriously mental mind melter of a sport as golf.
Villegas spoke of the good vibes and energy that he felt after his recent close call in another tournament — and gave his late daughter a shout out by looking up to the heavens.
Unfathomable to grasp what Villegas has been through over the past few years. To function as a human being is one thing. To reclaim your place at the pinnacle of professional golf at the highest level is something else entirely.
Congratulations to Camilo Villegas. It’s such a joy to see him back with his game arguably as strong as ever. But it extends so far beyond the course for him. You can’t say enough about the man. Impossible not to have tears in your eyes or at least feel profoundly moved by what Villegas has done here.
Full final-round highlights and even more below on how his daughter’s tragedy reshaped Villegas’ perspective and life.