The PGA Tour resumes operations this week and one of its players will do so with a heavy heart.
On Wednesday, an emotional Camilo Villegas—who is playing at the Korn Ferry Tour event at TPC Sawgrass—announced his 20-month-old daughter Mia is battling tumors.
“She went through surgery and obviously needed treatment; she just started her second round of chemotherapy,” Villegas said. “It’s been really tough to see her—because you know how it is, she’s in pain. But she keeps fighting, she’s inspiring us and again that’s why I’m here.”
Villegas, 38, said the family noticed something was wrong with Mia in late February at the Honda Classic. After initially believing Mia’s crying was due to teething, a visit to the pediatrician and subsequent scan revealed tumors on Mia’s brain and spine. Villegas said the prognosis is unknown.
“We don’t know exactly what’s going to happen. She started her second round of chemo; the doctor doesn’t want to do a very detailed scan until after a third round. It’s some anxious times,” Villegas said. “Hopefully the medicine is doing the right job and in a month and a half or two we’ll get some good news and we’ll continue with treatment until she beats it.”
Villegas had been dealing with physical woes of his own, missing half of the 2018 season and all of the 2019 with a shoulder injury. He has made four starts this year on a medical extension, including three on the Korn Ferry circuit, and felt like his game and health were on the upswing.
Mia’s well-being, however, is now Villegas’ chief concern. He decided to play this week at TPC Sawgrass at the urging of his wife to clear his mind.
Villegas admitted he’s not sure where his game will be, but wants everyone to know this week is all about sending his family “good energy, support and inspiration.”
“You’ve got to follow your instincts, and honestly I don’t know if my instincts are to come play this week; it’s been weird. I don’t really know where my mind is. I know where my heart is,” Villegas said. “But you also have to listen to the people that love you, and that’s what my wife said: just go out there and enjoy. Golf is what you’ve done the years, golf has given you so many great things, and little Mia is inspiring the last few months to keep doing what we’re doing.
“So, that’s why I’m here. What’s going to happen, who knows. Play good, good. Play bad, good. But again, it’s just nice to be here.”