Camilo Villegas, a four-time PGA Tour winner, said his daughter's tumors were discovered in March

By Jason Duaine Hahn
June 11, 2020 03:17 PM
Advertisement
Camilo Villegas
Camilo Villegas on June 10
| Credit: Stan Badz/PGA TOUR/Getty

Camilo Villegas, a four-time PGA Tour winner, has revealed that his 20-month-old daughter has cancer of the brain and spine and is currently undergoing a second round of chemotherapy.

Villegas, 38, was in tears on Wednesday as he addressed reporters ahead of the Korn Ferry Tour Challenge at Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. The Colombian-born golfer said it was three months ago during the Honda Classic golf tournament that he and his wife, Maria, first noticed something was wrong with their daughter, Mia.

"She was always a little monkey around the gym, and I noticed she wasn’t being the little monkey she always was," he said, according to Golfweek. "I don’t know why, I just kind of got a bad feeling."

Villegas said he initially noticed Mia was crying more often at night and during playtime but thought teething could be the cause.

But as time passed, Villegas instinctually felt something more serious might be going on.

"I’ll admit, bad feelings crossed my mind," he said, as noted by PGAtour.com. "I had heard bad stories here and there. So, I told my wife about [those] concerns. She told me not to think like that."

On March 14, the couple took Mia to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami, and scans revealed the toddler had cancerous tumors of her brain and spine.

Mia underwent surgery to remove the masses, but doctors said she would need more treatment.

"After the surgery, when it was time to remove the stitches, they learned the growth had become pretty aggressive," Villegas said. "We were told we needed to start treatment right away, so they kept us there."

Mia has since completed two of her three rounds of specialized chemotherapy, and doctors will give the family an updated prognosis after the final round.

"To see a little one fight for their life like this, it’s cool, man. It’s our reality, that’s what I tell my wife," Villegas told reporters. "We’ve got no other option than to be strong and to support her and to send her good energy."

Villegas said his wife Maria urged him to play in the tournament this week, and he was inspired by the perseverance of his daughter to do so.

“I don’t really know where my mind is. I know where my heart is," he 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,'" Villegas said his wife told him. "Little Mia is inspiring the last few months to keep doing what we’re doing."