ORLANDO, Fla. — Cameron Young was on a cruise. He had just birdied the par-3 eighth hole at Bay Hill on Saturday to move to 4-under and was on his way up the Arnold Palmer Invitational third-round standings to tie for sixth.
It was then that I decided to go walking with him and see if I could find his father, Dave, the longtime pro at Sleepy Hollow Country Club in Scarborough, where Cameron, 24, grew up and perfected his game which is now good enough to hold him a PGA Tour card.
Dave Young is both Cameron’s father and trainer.
On my walk to the 10th tee to catch up with Cameron, he was busy putting three shots on the 10-foot ninth green to take a double bogey and drop to 2 under.
Then he hit his shot on 10th so far left that a tournament official told him she thought it was out of bounds and he should hit a provisional.
It was on the boardwalk along the right side of the 10th fairway where I found Cameron’s father, alone and quietly blending into the spectators wearing a black backpack.
Dave Young appeared calm on the surface, but he calmed down to be nervous – more nervous, he said, than his wife, Barbara, who used to caddy for him when he was competing in the high-level weather zone events.
“She has a better overview, which is brilliant,” Dave said of his wife regarding the state of their son’s golf career. “I tend to live a bit more piecemeal. I’m learning.”
The same goes for Cameron, who has had a fabulous start to the season on the PGA Tour, making his way into big events, like next week’s Players Championship, with a pair of finalists and a good streak of regular matches. player.
“I’m nervous here,” Dave said. “It’s better now that we know he has his [PGA Tour] card for next year. It’s no longer do or die. Now everything is gravy. Playing in the players and hopefully playing in a few major tournaments this year, which looks good, is more than we could have asked for.
I will always remember talking to Nick Sanchez, the father of former Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, about how he dealt with his nervous energy while watching his son play NFL games. Nick used to quietly leave the family seats and walk to the last row of the upper deck to watch alone.
There’s a bit of that in Dave Young.
“I watch from a technical point of view,” he said, “and I feel more from dad’s point of view.”
Dave especially enjoyed this recent run from Cameron because the golf season hasn’t started yet in Sleepy Hollow and he was able to go to tournaments with his son. He called Cameron finishing second at Riviera in the Genesis Invitational, which featured a strong field including each of the top 10 players in the world rankings, “nervous, but a good nervous one”.
“Being in the running is a nerve-wracking pleasure,” he said. “Trying to make cuts when you’re on the cut line is very nervous. It was fun and exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. We’re looking forward to more of that, hopefully.
More will come next week with his first-ever trip to the Players Championship. Next comes the WGC Match Play two weeks after The Players. If Cameron, who is currently ranked No. 51 in the world, is ranked 50th or better after match play, he will enter the Masters.
“It’s there and you can’t ignore it, but you’re trying not to put any extra pressure on these upcoming events,” Dave said of the prospect of playing Augusta. “But yeah, you definitely let your mind wander expecting something like that.”
As we walked and talked, Cameron’s round was peeling off.
After the double on the No. 9, he bogeyed the No. 10 after the errant tee shot. Then, at No. 11, his drive landed on the shore of a lake, where his position would have been in the water, so he took a drop and another bogey.
It was while Cameron was taking his shoes and socks off and then putting them back on that I told Dave Young that maybe I should leave him alone because I felt like I had brought Cam bad luck.
As I headed back to the media center to start writing, Cameron birdied 12, bogeyed 13, then birdied 14 and 16 to move up to 2 under for the tournament.
But he took a triple bogey on the 18th to finish with a 76 for the round and stand 1-over for the tournament entering the final round on Sunday. Even that finish, however, couldn’t dim Cameron Young’s bright future.
“We’re so happy for him,” Dave said before I left him. “He is doing what he dreamed of doing. This is what we expected.”
New York Post