Luke Elvy: Say Hello To The New Cameron Smith
At the 2012 Australian PGA dinner, I joked to rugby league great Cameron Smith, who had just captained his Club, State & Country to titles plus won the Golden Boot award, was there anything he couldn’t do? I tossed up that line because his namesake had won his second Australian Amateur stroke play title earlier in the year.
That quip only got moderate laughs from the crowd listening to our chat on stage with fellow golf nut Karmichael Hunt (tough crowd). But despite being a golf audience, few really knew much about the gifted Queensland teenager.
Cameron Smith tees off in the final round of the CIMB Classic (Credit: Asian Tour)
His profile grew even more in 2013 after winning the Amateur title outright and he subsequently turned pro. Those in the know held high hopes for the Wantima Country Club junior, such was his prodigious talent, and he wasted little time announcing his arrival.
Just two starts into his Asian Tour career, Smith almost won the Indonesian Masters. Leading by a shot heading into the final round, he was pipped at the post by Indian Anirban Lahiri who eagled the last. Smith’s result though was a sign of things to come.
In his last six starts in Asia he’s recorded top 10s in every event, including a T5 at the CIMB Classic, his first PGA Tour start. Because the event in Malaysia was a co-sanctioned event, the result guarantees a start in next week’s PGA Tour event and flows nicely into the following week in Mexico where he already has an invite.
The $266,000 he banked from Malaysia is more than four times bigger than his previous best prize, and he’s now fourth on the Asian Tour’s OOM, but the doors he’s now opening are far more important. At 21, and a rising star in world golf, he will no doubt attract other PGA Tour invites.
According to PGA Tour expert Rob Bolton, 322.760 points are required by non-members to earn Special Temporary Membership. Smith claimed 105 for a two-way tie for fifth at the CIMB. A couple more results like that and he’ll be alongside the best full-time in America.
A beneficiary of Golf Australia’s Rookie program, Smith is a great example of the support our young stars need. Coached by Grant Field who doubles as his caddy, it’s the same set up Jason Day enjoys with Col Swatton – is this the model of the future?
Another important person in Smith’s corner is Nick Randall Queensland’s top strength and conditioning coach. Randall’s revolutionary Golf Fit program has thousands of golfers changing the way they approach the game.
A player of Smith’s caliber definitely belongs on the big stage, and he now has an opportunity to fast-track things. It will also show fellow Aussie young guns, trying to beat a similar path to the top through Asia, the way. Golf clap to Cameron Smith.
Before I go, quick congratulations to Ryan Lynch on his WA PGA victory in Kalgoorlie. Ryan is the son of Dale Lynch, one of Australia’s best coaches, but is growing his own reputation in the pro ranks.
Ryan is a hugely popular fella, but we know professional golf is not a popularity contest, it’s purely a results based business. Wins like this will help him achieve his dream.