Sporting spotlight still locked on Cameron Smith

Published 5:00pm 13 January 2022

Sporting spotlight still locked on Cameron Smith
Words by Nick Crockford

Cameron Smith will tee-off at the Sony Open in Honolulu tomorrow morning with the golfing world still buzzing after his sensational win at the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

In Maui on Monday, the 28-year-old beat world number one Jon Rahm, by one shot, with a US PGA Tour record score 34 under par.

So in less than a week Smith, who is still a member at Wantima Country Club, Brendale, where his career began, has:

  • Leaped from 22 to a career-high world ranking of 10
  • Risen to second in the President’s Cup international team rankings
  • Shot up from 33 to third in the FedEx Cup list for end-of-season play-offs
  • Been installed as a $9 favourite for the Sony Open which starts tomorrow
  • Is tipped by several US golf writers to win or make top four
  • And has partnered Hollywood A-lister Mark Walhberg in the event’s pro-am

Confidence the key

While Smith's rise may be a surprise to some, his coach Grant Field, who is based on the Sunshine Coast, said what we are seeing now is the result of years of hard work.

“It’s an evolution,” said Field, who has coached Smith since he was 10, “of course there have been a lot of changes in that time.

“Now I think it’s confidence being on the world stage and familiarity with courses.”

Field watched all four days of the Sentry Tournament of Champions on TV and “had a feeling” Smith would do well.

“His demeanour all week was good,” said Field, “he looked in control and confident. He was number one in putting and driving (at Sentry).

“The way he handled those two bogies (dropped shots on first two holes of second round) - he just got back down to business.”

Coaching from different sides of the Pacific Ocean presents challenges, but Field and Smith manage using videos and live streaming.

Live from range

“Cam sends videos and we have sessions live from the driving range,” said Field, “some will be an hour some 10 minutes.

“If Cam’s feeling good about his game my job is to keep out the way!”

The former Pine Rivers State High School student, now based in the US, certainly was happy.

“That was one of my goals this year to get into the top 10,” he said on after winning in Maui.

Cruising up rankings

“It’s nice that’s done and dusted now hopefully I can keep cruising up those world rankings.

“One of the big goals is to make it to Atlanta to the Tour Championship (for the top 30 money-winners each year). I definitely want to be on the Presidents Cup team.”

In a recorded video message to the Cameron Smith Junior Classic last week, Smith also said he is hoping to get back to Australia, for the first time in three years, for the 2022 Classic.


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