Be More Than Stories

Embracing the Process in the Face of Adversity

In this series, Korn Ferry interviews people who are living our Be More Than principles.

“All I’ve ever wanted to do is to give back to my community and be an inspiration the way so many people have been inspiring to me. I love that I have the platform to do that now.”

Name: Kamaiu Johnson
Occupation: Professional golfer

I’m a person who overcame adversity. As a result, I have a “never give up” mentality. I’m a very hard worker and I love the game of golf; golf saved my life.

Golf was my peace at a time in life when I didn’t have much peace. It gave me direction and purpose, and it surrounded me with people I wanted to be like and who I looked up to.

embracing the process in the face of adversity - Kamaui Johnson

I didn’t want to be like many of the people I knew when I was 13 years old, and golf made me want to be around people I could look up to, such as my mentor Ramon Alexander who provided structure.

I love being around people—and my personality attracts people to me. A village has come together to show me love and support in my golf career, ever since Jan Auger invited me to learn the game.

Since then, my community in Tallahassee has been behind me one hundred percent.

All I’ve ever wanted to do is to give back to my community and be an inspiration the way so many people have been inspiring to me. I love that I have the platform to do that now.

I recently started my own foundation, The My My Foundation. The initiative is to introduce more kids living in socioeconomically challenged communities to golf and opportunities in higher education.

When I received a positive COVID-19 test right before I was set to play in the Farmers Insurance Open, it was devastating. But I’m a firm believer in Christ, and that when one door closes, another opens. That just wasn’t the time for my PGA Tour debut.

Since receiving that news, so many other doors have opened. So many people have come into my life and said, “We want to see you succeed and help you get to the level you want to reach. How can we help you?”

Now I’m touching CEOs of companies. My goal for the future is to be one of the best players on the PGA Tour, but my vision is bigger than that. The world is full of chaos right now and I want to use my influence to make a positive impact.

I love what the Korn Ferry Tour and PGA Tour are doing as they try to make golf inclusive for all, and I’m happy to be a part of it. So many Black lives have been cut short: George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and many others. When I got an exemption to play in a PGA Tour event near my hometown, it felt like I had the opportunity to turn tragedy into greatness.

The way I keep my positive mentality is by enjoying the process. You can’t get to the destination without going through the process.

You never know where the process is going to take you. It’s about building relationships and being around people who will get you to the next level—that person who introduces you to someone, who introduces you to someone else.

So, my goals are always to find ways to keep getting better, on and off the golf course, and to keep surrounding myself with people who can get me to that point.

I learned so much from missing the cut. You can’t just win, win, win in life because you’ll never learn anything. You have to take losses as learning situations.

In the face of adversity, I remember that I’ve been through way worse things than missing cuts in golf tournaments and testing positive for COVID. I remember that even in my challenging teenage years, I was destined for something greater. And I remember all the people pouring love into my life.