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Cameron Smith: The ‘everyman’ of golf transforming into one of its best players

<i>Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images</i><br/>Cameron Smith smiles on the tenth green during the Pro-Am Tournament prior to the start of the Sony Open in Hawaii at Waialae Country Club on January 12.
Getty Images
Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images
Cameron Smith smiles on the tenth green during the Pro-Am Tournament prior to the start of the Sony Open in Hawaii at Waialae Country Club on January 12.

By Ben Morse, CNN

A love of fishing, a flowing mullet and a friendly personality: Cameron Smith is a one-of-a-kind golfer.

The Australian can often be seen on his Instagram page on a boat with fishing gear or one of his catches.

Between a smiley disposition and his ‘business at the front, party at the back’ haircut, Smith has become somewhat of a fan favorite.

Meanwhile over the last two years, the 28-year-old Smith has also blossomed into a serial contender or winner.

He began 2022 in red-hot fashion, winning the Tournament of Champions in historic fashion earlier in January, posting the lowest under-par score in a four-round PGA Tour event in history to hold off world No. 1 Jon Rahm.

Afterwards, he was asked in his press conference why his personality hasn’t changed over the years, especially in light of his recent success in golf. The reporter described his personality as “everyman if you will, for the Americans, or just the solid true-blue bloke that you’ve been able to maintain.”

And his response was reassuringly “everyman.”

“There’s no real reason to change my personality,” Smith said. “I think my dad would whip me to be honest if I did.

“I don’t know, it’s just how I’ve been brought up. I’ve been brought up to be the modest guy that respects everyone and like even out there today, Johnny was great as well.

“Every time we made a putt or a birdie, it was: ‘Good shot, mate’ or there was never any hatred towards each other just because we were competing.

“We wanted to win because we wanted to compete against the best. So yeah, I think that’s just how I’ve been brought up and I respect other guy’s good play as well.”

While acknowledging that it’s “great that people get behind” his look, Smith would ultimately prefer them to be talking about his success on the course.


Since winning his first PGA Tour event in May 2017 at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans — partnered with Jonas Blixt — Smith has become one of the steadiest players in golf.

He then won back-to-back Australian PGA Championships in 2017 and 2018 on the European Tour.

It’s over the last two years that Smith has really gone to the next level.

A playoff victory at the Sony Open in January 2020 was his first individual victory on the PGA Tour before he achieved his best finish at a major to date, finishing tied for second behind Dustin Johnson at the Masters in 2020. Smith also became the first golfer in Masters history to shoot all four rounds in the 60s.

He once again won the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in 2021, this time partnered with countryman Marc Leishman, while Smith finished tied for 10th competing at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

After hitting his straps towards the end of the 2020-21 PGA Tour season, Smith began the new year in the perfect fashion with his record-breaking win in Maui, something he attributes to an improvement in his driving.

He says he spent time on the driving range during the offseason practicing with his driver.

When asked about what he worked on to improve his driving, Smith said: “It really wasn’t much. Probably just hitting more balls with a driver to be honest.

“I’m not lazy. Actually, I guess I’m lazy on the range. I get through the wedges and the irons and I’m like: ‘I’m ready to go home now.’ I barely hit drivers. So I made sure I stayed there for an extra 10-15 minutes and actually hit some balls.”

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The result has been Smith’s meteoric rise up the world rankings and into the top 10 for the first time in his career.

One of his goals for the rest of the year is qualify and lead the International President Cup Team which will face the US team at Quail Hollow in September.

“I definitely want to be on that team,” Smith said. “I enjoyed the tournament so much last time that I would be devastated if I missed out. And it’s been one of my goals since I’ve turned pro to be on the team, and I’ll try and be there again.”

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