At only 30 years old, Rafael Campos will officially play in this week’s Puerto Rico Open for an 11th time on a sponsor exemption. But there’s a great chance he’ll tee it up in his homeland next year as a PGA Tour member for the first time.
Campos recently became the first Puerto Rican winner on the Web.com Tour, holding off the field and extreme winds at the Bahamas Great Abaco Classic. The victory moved him near the top of the money list (he’s currently No. 3), putting him in great shape to finish in the top 25 to earn his PGA Tour card for the first time. But for this week, Campos will get another cameo on the big stage, something he’s turned into top 10s in both 2016 and 2017.
More importantly for Campos, who still has a home in Puerto Rico, is the opportunity to help the island country, which was devastated by Hurricane Maria in 2017. In the aftermath, last year’s Puerto Rico Open was changed to a charity event and Campos was part of a group of tour pros and celebrities who participated in the fundraising effort. When I caught up with Campos for this week’s Golf Digest Podcast, he was happy to report things are back to normal. We talked about his country’s recovery, his recent breakthrough win, and the time he nearly ran out of money playing on the PGA Tour LatinoAmerica. Plus, Sam Weinman and Keely Levins joined me to talk about J.B. Holmes’ slow play plagued win, Matt Kuchar’s slow-unfolding apology, and Phil Mickelson’s spectacular calves. Please have a listen.