LIV Golf Adelaide; Cameron Smith the favourite to win inaugural Australian event

When Cameron Smith was told a spectator at The Grange in Adelaide felt faint just seeing him live the Australian superstar was taken aback.

“Wow,” Smith said as he concluded one of his final pre-tournament engagements as the main man at LIV’s first Australian event amid a frenzy which used to be reserved for his boss, Greg Norman.

“It is a little bit surreal, I think. I think the reception that we‘ve got from everyone, obviously being the Aussie team, has been pretty special, and yeah, I think it’s going to be a really special weekend for us.”

Smith’s face has been plastered on buses and signs and even on a T-shirt among the Adelaide specific merchandise for his Ripper GC team which is also fully expected to wipe the floor with everyone else when the actual tournament gets underway on Friday.

Even Smith’s teammate, Marc Leishman said “everywhere you look there’s Cam” as the British Open champ’s superstardom added to the local hope.

It’s a favouritism Smith and his Aussie teammates, Leishman, Matt Jones and young gun Jed Morgan are trying to embrace, albeit without heaping pressure on each other to perform.

Smith said playing on “stuff we grew up on” referencing the firm, fast course conditions not replicated around the world, gave a “little bit of an advantage”.

He also said while he didn’t perform at the Masters as well as he’d hoped, there were enough signs at Augusta, which has been a launching pad for him in previous years, to be positive about the three days ahead, although the search for “perfect” was ongoing.

“I feel as though I played really good in spaces and not so good in others. It‘s kind of been, I guess, a reflection of how my game has been so far this year,” the world No.6 said.

“That place for me, I always find out something about myself and something about my game, and come down here early on Monday and got to spend a little bit of time with the coach and just sort a few things out that weren’t quite 100 per cent, so the game is definitely trending in the right way, but like you said, we’re perfectionists.

“Golf is a very weird bunch of people. We’ll never stop until we get it perfect, and I don’t think there is a perfect in this game.”

Smith’s long-time friend and new teammate, Marc Leishman, deferred to the high-quality of opposition in Adelaide as a fair obstacle for the local lads to overcome too.

“I mean, there‘s so many good teams. There’s so many good players here, and golf is such a good game for that reason, because anyone in the field could win this week,” he said.

“Yes, we might have the home ground advantage and the crowd support, but at the end of the day, you‘ve still got to get the ball in the hole as quick as possible, and if we don’t play well, we’re not going to win. If we play well, we’ve got a good chance.

“I think we‘re just — we can’t really worry about whether we’re favorites or whether we’re not favorites.”

Smith won just his second LIV event last year, but has failed to fire since, and his Ripper GC are yet to get on the podium in three events this year.

But the evolving nature of their brotherhood, and being embraced by the home town crowd this week, could be the tonic they need to win.

“I think the way I describe it to people is being a part of this team is like we‘re four brothers that all hate each other and love each other at the same time,” Smith said.

“It would have been easy for us kind of being the local kids to be distracted by (the buzz), and I think we‘ve done a really good job so far at focusing on what we need to do here to win, and that’s always been the priority.”


The Grange Golf Club

April 21-23


Par 72, 6351m


Total pool – $36.2 million (US $25 million)

Winner’s cheque – $5.97 million (US $4 million)


No-one has wanted this event more than Cam Smith. He said Augusta has kickstarted him in recent years and although he didn’t fire at the Masters, his comfort levels at home could prove key.


– 48 players in a shotgun start each round, so all players tee off at the same time at different holes, in 16 threesomes

– Two winners, individual and team, after three rounds, or 54 holes

– Individual winner determined in normal fashion, lowest score

– In the team event, multiple scores count toward each franchises‘ total each round, with the franchises with the cumulative low score being crowned the team champion for that event

KEY ROUND 1 PAIRINGS (shotgun start at 11:15am)

Hole 1

Cameron Smith, Brooks Koepka, Ian Poulter

Hole 2

Joaquin Niemann, Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson

Hole 4

Bryson DeChambeau, Sergio Garcia, Phil Mickelson

Hole 18

Marc Leishman, Matt Jones, Jed Morgan

Originally published as Cameron Smith is feeling every bit the superstar ahead of opening LIV round in Adelaide

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