Cameron Smith has played in the world’s greatest golf tournaments, on the world’s greatest courses in front of global TV audiences.
But this week, in Tokyo, will be different.
The 27-year-old, still a member of Wantima Country Club, Brendale where his career began 20 years ago, will make his Olympic Games debut tomorrow (July 29).
Though always representing his country on the US PGA Tour, Smith will spend the next four days going for gold as part of the Australian Olympic team.
Golf has been an Olympic sport three times (1900, 1904, 2016) – and only three men (from the US, Canada and UK) have ever won gold. Never an Australian.
“I’ve not been in quite this situation before,” said Smith, who worked at Redcliffe RSL in his formative years, “but I’m really excited about it.
“Just being a part of the Olympic squad is a fantastic feeling. It's something that I didn't really think that we ever had a chance of doing growing up.
“Any chance to represent Australia or wear the green and gold, I’ll put my hand straight up. Anytime. I’m super pumped.”
Smith, who grew up in Bray Park, joins Marc Leishman as Australia’s selections for the men’s tournament from July 29-August 1.
Leaving his Florida home on Sunday, Smith flew to Tokyo and started practicing on Monday for the 72-hole stroke play event at The Kasumigaseki Country Club.
The former Pine Rivers State High School student has not played the Olympic venue’s east course before but has plenty of golfing experience in Japan and Asia.
“The courses can be really tough with tight fairways, but in great condition,” he said, “some of the best golf courses you can play.
“Leish and I are really good together and we’ll try to treat this as a normal tournament.”
World ranked 28, Smith has been in fine form on the US PGA Tour winning his first individual event last year and being tied in second at The Masters, one of the world's top four golf Majors.
This year he won the New Orleans Zurich Classic, a two-man team event, with Marc Leishman and as Australia’s top two on the world rankings, were selected for Tokyo.
Dream now my job
As the world’s greatest sporting stage beckons, Smith said: “I do sometimes think back to where I've come from. What started as a dream is now my job.
“I set out to be the best golfer I can. Now I'm playing against the best golfers on the best tour in the world!”
That journey included, by the time he was 20, victories in the 2011 Australian Boys Amateur and Victorian Junior Masters and a year later recording successive victories in the Australian Amateur Stroke Play titles.
He turned professional in 2013, playing of the PGA Tour of Australian and in 2015 earned his US PGA Tour card with fourth place at the US Open.
Thinking of home
There followed victories in the Australian PGA Championship in 2017 and 2018 and in January 20209 his first individual victory on the US PGA Tour at the Sony Open in Hawaii.
However, he has strong connections to the Moreton Bay Region through family and friends – and the Cameron Smith Junior Classic staged at Wantima each year.
“I really hope to get back to Australia and maybe play some golf,” he said, “I’ve not seen my family for about two years. I always look forward to coming back.”
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