‘Hard to let go’: Cam’s plan for Aussie domination

Cameron Smith knows his return to Australia last summer was a wasted opportunity to do something really special so has mapped out a whole new plan this time around to maximise his success as he endures a world ranking slide that he finds “hard to let go”.

The implications of his move to LIV Golf have begun to bite hard for the one-time world No.2 who has fallen to No.11 despite two top-10 major finishes in 2023.

Smith conceded he’s “lucky” to be where he is having seen so many of his fellow LIV players make drastic falls, with the likelihood he’ll fall out of automatic Olympic qualification for the Paris Games.

Ranking points will be on offer when Smith tees it up at the Hong Kong Open at the start of November. He’ll then fly straight to Brisbane for an extended Australian stay during which he’ll look to add a maiden Australian Open to his trophy cabinet.

The extended homecoming, which will be broken up by a trip to Cairns to do some fishing, will come after two more LIV events to close out his second season on the Saudi-backed tour, including one in Jeddah and then the final championship event in Miami, where more than $75m in prizemoney is up for grabs.

It’s a good amount of golf for Smith to come to Australia with and having celebrated too hard after his third Australian PGA victory in Brisbane last summer, which impacted his Australian Open experiences, he’s ready to navigate the path differently this time.

“I think the focus was still on golf last year. It was just there was a lot of noise, especially that first week in Brisbane,” Smith said after confirming his appearance in Hong Kong from November 5.

“And I think, like I said before, that the second week the Aussie Open was one I think that that really got away from me.

“I think I just need to do a better job of managing some time within that first week. I just felt really lethargic the next week and obviously didn’t play that good, so it’s a bit of a bummer.

“I’m gonna make a quick trip up to Cairns for a few days to do a little bit of fishing and then come back to Brisbane and get to work.”

Smith has been “punishing” his body in the gym during an extended break following his second LIV victory for the year at Bedminster in August and is keen to pick up his golf clubs again.

“The last four or five days I’ve really been getting back into the golf side of things by being in the gym,” he said.

“The body’s been punished a little bit, so I can’t wait to actually get out of the gym and actually play some golf. My body might feel a little bit better.”

But he’s unlikely to feel better about the world rankings points situation anytime soon.

Smith long ago abandoned his pursuit of the world No.1 crown, which he was in touching distance of after his breakthrough major win at last year’s British Open.

While the millions of dollars he’s making through LIV help placate his slide somewhat, with the tour yet to be given ranking points, Smith admitted it still rankled him that his stellar play through 2023, which included two LIV wins and his major efforts, was not properly recognised.

“It’s a hard one to let go because but I feel like it’s almost become irrelevant, especially for how I’ve played,” he said.

“Even during the majors. I didn’t win a major this year but I had a fourth and eighth and ninth in there as well, so a pretty solid major season.

“If I didn’t play well in those four events, I think you’d find me way outside where I am at the moment.

“I don’t think it’s a very accurate reflection of where I’m at the moment, but that’s just the way it is.”

It hasn’t diminished Smith’s thirst for more wins, which will rise a few levels when he gets home in November.

“We‘re competitors, and I think everyone’s a competitor and everyone wants to win,” he said.

“So every time we were up at a golf tournament, you should want to win. It definitely hasn’t changed for me at all.”


Australian PGA

Royal Queensland Golf Club, November 23-26

Australian Open

Royal Sydney Golf Club, November 30 to December 3

Originally published as Cam Smith plans for extended home stay in pursuit of first Australian Open

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