Once upon a time, at the back end of 2008 to be precise, Camilo Villegas was the seventh best player on the planet. One place below him was Anthony Kim.
How times change. Kim has become the Lord Lucan of the game with Villegas, in more recent times, not far behind. Other than the very sporadic golfing reference the Colombian’s Instagram account would suggest that the 38-year-old was some sort of elite cyclist rather than the player who won back-to-back FedEx Cup Playoff events 11 years ago or the player who has very nearly $20m in career earnings.
For all the talk of ‘Spiderman’ and his penchant for reading putts in a manner that only a certain few could even pull off, Villegas could play and was regularly touted as a certain major winner.
One of the very few references to golf came at the end of August 2018 when he explained his absence from the PGA Tour having last started a tournament in April of that year in Houston.
“Many people have reached out asking why I have not been playing golf this summer,” he wrote. “I’ve kept it pretty quiet as I have been hoping for progress on my shoulder; I have not hit a shot in almost five months as I have a severe pinching sensation in my shoulder every time I follow through with my swing. I have been doing therapy trying to avoid surgery but recovery has been slower than desired and it’s been very frustrating.
“I will continue to rehabilitate and strengthen my shoulder with the hopes of avoiding surgery and playing professional golf again soon. I will also be spending time with Maria and my family as we look forward to welcoming our first child into our family in the next month. My sincere thanks to all for the love and support.”
In October daughter Mia arrived before, over a year later and 12 weeks ago, a video of him hitting a few putts with the teaser “Comeback…?”
True to his word Villegas was back in action on Sunday, 21 months after his previous start, on the Korn Ferry Tour in the Bahamas.
The bad news is that he had a quadruple-bogey at his sixth hole and reached the turn in 9-over, the good news is that he had three birdies on the way home to just break 80.
On day two he fared slightly better but the back nine again got the better of him and he signed for a 75 to comfortably miss the cut.
Bizarrely there was no mention of the one-time superstar of the game in the Tour’s news round-up and next to nothing on social media. Again, how times change.
We dive deep into the golf ball roll back plans!