How world reacted to Cam Smith's stunning victory

Published 1:08pm 18 July 2022

How world reacted to Cam Smith's stunning victory
Words by Nick Crockford

Main image: Photo illustration featuring younger Cam Smith and St Andrews

Cameron Smith, who learned to play at Wantima Country Club, Brendale, is the talk of the sporting world after his stunning victory at the 150th Open Championship.

Records tumbled as the former Pine Rivers State High School student came from four shots behind this morning to win the most famous trophy in golf.

Smith played the final nine holes in just 30 remarkable shots with five birdies and nerves of steel to sink a final winning birdie putt on the 18th green.

'Legendary'

It prompting the official Open Championship to Tweet: “One of the great final-round displays at The Open”.

Sir Nick Faldo, a three-time Open champion including one at St Andrews, described the 28 year old's final round as “legendary”.

Smith, who is now likely to be ranked a career-best two in the world, appeared emotional after receiving the Claret Jug, thanking supporters and saying: “This one’s for Oz”.

How world reacted to Cam Smith's stunning victory
Cameron Smith, who is still a member at Wantima Country Club, Brendale

World's media

Within minutes, major television and radio crews descended on Wantima Country Club early today and were still broadcasting from the South Pine Rd course at lunchtime.

Online world news media headlines included: “Major Miracle”, “Incredible Open blitz”, “Unreal: Cameron Smith takes out Open in historic win”.

British broadcaster Pier Morgan said Smith "had to be brilliant to beat Rory McIlroy, and he was. Cam Smith is one ice-cold dude!"

Smith’s manager Ian Davis said his phone “hadn’t stopped” since 4.30am today with calls and texts after Cameron’s “finest performance”.

'Pure excitement'

Nick Tonga, who runs the pro shop at Wantima, said it was "pure excitement here. So many members know Cam and his family.

"Not many players have won a major like that - you're talking possibly Jack Nicklaus. Cam knew what he had to do and to perform at that level ... amazing."

Ken McKay, Wantima’s former junior co-ordinator who runs the Cameron Smith Junior Classic (CSJC), was staggered by the response.

“I thought 2017 (when Smith won the Australian PGA) was huge, but it’s nothing compared to this,” he said, “even I've done a dozen interviews.

How world reacted to Cam Smith's stunning victory
Andrew Park, back row far right, with the 2019 Cameron Smith Junior Classic winners.

Plan worked

“I thought Cam owned the situation (this morning). He just took it one shot at a time. It looked from here that he had a plan and on holes 10-14 it worked.”

Smith had five successive birdies to hit the top of the leader board entering the final stretch and seemed oblivious to the pressure of closing in on golf’s oldest major.

“Even I was shouting at the telly at times!” said Mr McKay.

“Cam’s very humble, never seeks the limelight, but he’s very competitive. When the going gets tough I think he’s like a Queensland State of Origin team not expected to win.”

Classic opening

Smith’s father Des has been inundated by calls and interviews. He told 97.3FM his son first beat him in a round of golf at the age of 12 and had always wanted to be a professional.

Mr McKay, who founded the CSJC in 2017, said this year's tournament at Wantima is expanding from an 18 hole, one-day event, to a two-day, 36-hole competition.

The sixth CSJC will be on Thursday December 7 and Friday December 8 and will carry a Golf Australia State Order of Merit ranking.

Entries will open soon and Ian Davis was “very hopeful” Cameron Smith will be at the CSJC for the first time in three years due to the pandemic.

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