Known by many as the PGA Tour’s ‘Spider Monkey’, Camilo Villegas had never truly blossomed into the star many expected when the Colombian turned pro in 2004.
At age 26 (2008), Camilo was winning the Tour Championship and BMW Championships, coupling those with multiple top-10s in major championships. Before the age of 30, he’d bagged 3 wins and put himself in contention in majors and WGC events alike.
Attractive to the ladies and cool to the men, Camilo had an appeal to his character. He appeared in ESPN’s Body Issue in 2010. One of golf’s wave of ‘athletes’, Camilo looked like the poster boy of a fitness-driven Tiger Woods era.
The way he read putts was the most strenuous part of his game (see pic below). The rest of his game looked effortless. Strong, fast and one of the Tour’s hardest workers, Camilo was on his way to 20 years of unadulterated success.
Golf had different plans for Camilo. His last win came in 2010 at the Honda Classic. Since then, golf hadn’t yielded success to Camilo. Perhaps, he deserved it more than most on Tour. He is a gym junkie by nature and a range rat by heart. But in golf, often less is more and Camilo appeared to be pressing a little too hard.
He’d lost full status on the Tour.
He relied on an array of Tour exemptions (past winner status), conditional status as 126-150 on the money list and priority rankings. But Camilo had suddenly taken the road of journeyman. Golf never promises stardom.
At age 32 on Sunday, Camilo added win number 4 to the resume and it was long-overdue. And although golf doesn’t promise stardom, it has a way of gifting those who deserve success.
And in Camilo’s case, it has to feel good.