Kamaiu Johnson gets The Honda Classic invite after COVID-19 setback

Kamaiu Johnson will get a second chance to realize his dream of playing on the PGA Tour.

Johnson, 27, was scheduled to make his Tour debut at this week’s Farmers Insurance Open before a positive COVID-19 test forced him to withdraw on Tuesday. He tweeted Tuesday that his mother had been rushed to the hospital “not being able to breathe due to COVID-19,” before her condition improved by Wednesday.

It was a big professional setback for the Advocates Professional Golf Association Tour (APGA) player who had been given a sponsor’s invite back in October to play at Torrey Pines.

The Honda Classic Steps Up

However, The Honda Classic officials announced Thursday that a spot would be reserved for Johnson for the event at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., in March.

“Our tournament director Andrew George and I were familiar with Kamaiu from his attempts to qualify for The Honda last year,” Honda Classic Executive Director Kenneth R. Kennerly said. “When we heard what happened to him at Farmers this week, we felt strongly that we wanted to give him a chance to play at The Honda Classic. We feel it is important to support the advancement of golfers from our home state.”

Kamaiu Johnson
Kamaiu Johnson | Twitter

Johnson is a Tallahassee, Fla.., native who dropped out of school in eighth grade. He later took up golf and eventually made it to the APGA, going on to become a three-time winner of the Tallahassee Open.

He earned an invitation from the Farmers Insurance Open after winning the APGA’s Tour Championship last year.

Kamaiu Johnson: ‘Almost Overwhelming’

“As I said when I first learned that I would be forced to withdraw, a fork in the road often has an interesting way of leading to new opportunities,” Johnson said in a statement Thursday. “It was beyond disappointing not to be able to play at the Farmers Insurance Open after all of the support that Farmers has shown me and the APGA Tour.

“Now, to find out that I will still have a chance to fulfill my dream of playing on the PGA Tour is almost overwhelming. I’m so thankful for Honda and the team at The Honda Classic for taking a challenging situation and turning it into a blessing.”

–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)