Camilo Villegas’ Second Chance on PGA Tour Blossoming

Camilo Villegas, 2021 John Deere Classic, TPC Deere Run,Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports
Camilo Villegas, 2021 John Deere Classic, TPC Deere Run,Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports /

Camilo Villegas already had one successful golf career. Then he fell off the map. Fell off the PGA Tour. Had to start over.

Last week, he announced his return in spectacular style with a victory at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship. It was his fifth PGA Tour title.

Villegas’ first career included his PGA Tour victories at the BMW Championship and Tour Championship in 2008. He became a sensation, particularly with younger fans and women.

Then, after winning the Wyndham in 2014, his fourth career title, Villegas’ career took a nosedive. He went from winning the Tour Championship, from being “Spiderman” reading greens, to a dismal 224th in FedEx Cup points earlier this season. With the Butterfield victory, he is now back on the PGA Tour at least for two more seasons.

In reality, for the last few years, he has been clawing his way back. Rebuilding his game.  Reshaping his life.

Camilo Villegas, RSM Classic, 2023 Butterfield Bermuda Championship, PGA Tour, Mia's Miracles, Wyndham Championship
Camilo Villegas, Chevron World Challenge, Sherwood Country Club, (Photo by Paul Mounce/Corbis via Getty Images) /

“I truly believe I’m a better person,” Villegas said at the RSM Classic about his golf struggles. “Maybe the results haven’t been there, but this journey has been pretty interesting.”

First, it was good news. Villegas got married. He and his wife had a daughter, Mia, then a son Mateo. Then there was bad news. Mia became ill with cancer of the brain and more. Villegas had an injury. He lost his PGA Tour card.

Fortunately, his wife encouraged him to keep working on his game, and he realized what he loved to do was play and compete at golf.

“To lose my card, to go through an injury, to lose my daughter, to create Mia’s Miracles, to go back to the Korn Ferry, to keep grinding, to have doubts, to have fears, to have tears, have smiles, all of the above. You just never know where life goes,” Villegas said with an enthusiastic smile. He does have one of the best smiles in all of golf.

Mia’s Miracles is a non-profit foundation started by the Villegas family that helps caregivers continue their important work and helps families who have a young loved one with a serious illness. The foundation is funded by events they create and by Birdies for Love, one of the charities of the RSM Classic.

“My wife reads me messages from people we help on Mia’s Miracles every week,” Villegas said. He said that Mia is still with them because she is helping them help others every day, every week.

Camilo Villegas made his Golf Channel debut in 2023.

Before his victory in Bermuda, Villegas even tried out for a Golf Channel spot. The way it happened was that Steve Sands asked if he would ever be interested in being in the booth on Golf Channel. Villegas said he wasn’t ready for that. He still wanted to play even though he is already 41, which is a time when some golfers start looking for alternative careers until they turn 50 and can try the PGA Tour Champions.

Later, Camilo Villegas called Sands to thank him. His agent told him not to close any doors, which was good advice, and Villegas ended up being a booth golf analyst for the recent Wyndham Championship, which he had won in 2014.

"“I picked Wyndham, last regular season event of the year, a place where I have great memories, where I won in 2014, a golf course that I really know, a week that I knew there was going to be a lot to talk (about).” – – Camilo Villegas"

Camilo Villegas admitted he was beyond nervous the first day, but that he was less so each succeeding day.

“I stayed afterwards, after the early show to watch the big boys, how they run the show,” Villegas explained. “It was pretty cool to see the other crew doing what they know how to do.”

Next. Rookie Tom McKibbin is forging his own path. dark

While Villegas and his wife, Maria, have had their challenges in recent years, it appears that his life has taken a turn for the better, not that he was complaining about the life he had.

“I think what happened the last couple weeks, I feel that I am where I belong. I feel that I am where all my work has put me, and it’s time to spend time with the big boys on the PGA TOUR again,” he said.