11 Aug 2022 | Professional golf |
Aussies on Tour: Smith’s valuable lesson from FedEx failure
by Australian Golf Media
By Tony Webeck
It was described as a “$2 million meltdown” yet Cameron Smith believes his final hole disaster 12 months ago has helped to propel him into the upper stratosphere of world golf.
Returning to play for the first time since his epic victory at The Open Championship at St Andrews, Smith arrives at TPC Southwind for the PGA TOUR’s FedEx St Jude Championship in a vastly different point in his career.
He is a major champion, THE PLAYERS champion and his world ranking has skyrocketed from 28th to be now ranked the No.2 player in the world.
As the FedEx Cup Playoffs begin he is second in pursuit of the PGA TOUR’s $US18 million bounty for the ultimate FedEx Cup champion and he says it is in part due to the ‘all or nothing’ play in the corresponding tournament last year that went horribly wrong.
Tied for the lead standing on the 18th tee, Smith’s tee shot speared right into the trees.
The prudent play was to chip out sideways and scramble to par his way into the playoff.
Instead – as only players of Smith’s ability do – he saw an opportunity to go for the win… and took it.
The execution didn’t match the blueprint and Smith’s second shot cannoned off a tree and went out of bounds.
Many praised his ‘win at all costs’ attitude while others decreed it was foolish. Smith himself concedes he’d do it differently now but knows the lesson he learned has contributed significantly to his success since.
“Looking back at it, I may have played the last hole a little bit differently but I think it’s made me grow as a golfer,” said Smith, who has been draw to play with world No.1 Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns for Round 1.
“I’ve gone on to do some pretty good things since then, so I think it’s in a way almost benefited me.
“I look forward to getting back out there and hopefully getting a win around here.”
A second part of the puzzle that Smith is mastering more each day was the club that let him down on that 18th tee 12 months ago.
For a player ranked third in Strokes Gained: Approach the Green and regarded as possessing one of the best short games in all of golf, it remains the area of his game with the greatest room to improve, room he believes he has reduced in the past year.
“I feel as though my driver has let me down the last couple years,” Smith admitted.
“This is as comfortable as I’ve felt with the driver and this has always been a course where I feel as though I’ve driven the ball pretty good.
“I’m looking forward to see how that goes.”
Smith headlines the Australian contingent to have qualified for the FedEx Cup Playoffs but two in particular need a good result this week to advance any further.
Jason Day (113th) and Adam Scott (77th) both need to move their way into the top-70 to play in week two while Marc Leishman (62nd) and Cam Davis (66th) must also play well to protect their positions.
There is a very strong Aussie presence also at the International Series Singapore event on the Asian Tour.
ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia winners such as Jediah Morgan, Anthony Quayle, Blake Windred and Todd Sinnott are teeing it up along with veterans such as Brett Rumford and Wade Ormsby.
There are 11 guys and girls playing in the ISPS HANDA World Invitational in Ireland, Cassie Porter will make her pro debut in America at the Epson Tour’s Four Winds Invitational and Harrison Endycott can wrap up a PGA TOUR card at the Korn Ferry Tour’s Pinnacle Bank Championship.
Round 1 tee times AEST
FedEx St Jude Championship
TPC Southwind, Memphis, Tennessee
10.26pm Cam Davis, Taylor Moore, John Huh
10.26pm* Marc Leishman, Anirban Lahiri, Troy Merritt
10.59pm Lucas Herbert, Kurt Kitayama, Sebastián Muñoz
11.21pm* Cameron Smith, Scottie Scheffler, Sam Burns
11.54pm Jason Day, Robert Streb, Doug Ghim
3.11am Adam Scott, Chad Ramey, Adam Long
4.17am Danny Lee (NZ), Aaron Rai, Adam Svensson
Defending champion: Tony Finau
Past Aussie winners: Bruce Crampton (1970), David Graham (1976), Wayne Grady (1989), Adam Scott (2013)
Top Aussie prediction: Cam Davis
TV schedule: Live 5am-9am Friday, Saturday; Live 3am-8am Sunday ; Live 2am-8am Monday on Fox Sports 503.
International Series Singapore
Tanah Merah Country Club (Tampines Cse), Singapore
9.15am* Wade Ormsby, Ryosuke Kinoshita, Shiv Kapur
9.45am* Scott Hend, Yoseop Seo, Turk Pettit
10.15am Ben Campbell (NZ), Chapchai Nirat, Lu Wei-chih
10.25am* Todd Sinnott, Doyeob Mun, Nicholas Fung
10.35am Junseok Lee, Josh Younger, S Vikkash Babu
10.35am* Daniel Fox, Suradit Yongcharoenchai, Michael Tran
10.45am Jake Higginbottom, Rahil Gangjee, Jack Harrison
10.45am* Cory Crawford, Aman Raj, Marc Ong
2.15pm Anthony Quayle, Shubhankar Sharma, Jeunghun Wang
2.15pm* Andrew Dodt, Miguel Tabuena, Rattanon Wannasrichan
2.25pmTravis Smyth, Gaganjeet Bhullar, Gavin Green
2.25pm* Blake Windred, Keith Horne, Richard T Lee
2.35pm* Brett Rumford, Gunn Charoenkul, Jeev Milkha Singh
2.55pm* Kevin Yuan, Trevor Simsby, Mitchell Slorach
3.05pmJediah Morgan, Ryo Hisatsune, Ajeetesh Sandhu
3.35pmSam Brazel, Taichi Kho (a), Shergo Al Kurdi
3.45pm* Will Heffernan, Justin Kuk (a), Hongtaek Kim
Defending champion: Inaugural event
Past Aussie winners: Nil
Top Aussie prediction: Anthony Quayle
TV schedule: Live 3pm-7pm Thursday, Friday on Fox Sports 503; Live 1pm-5pm Saturday, Sunday on Fox Sports 505.
DP World Tour/LPGA Tour/Ladies European Tour
ISPS HANDA World Invitational
Galgorm Castle & Massereene, Co Antrim, Northern Ireland
Galgorm Castle Cse
5.57pm* Dimitrios Papadatos, Jordi Garcia, Calum Fyfe
9.41pm Sarah Kemp, Gemma Dryburgh, Wichanee Meechai
10.25pm Stephanie Kyriacou, Anne Van Dam, Laura Davies
10.25pm* Su Oh, Leonie Harm, Ana Pelaez Trivino
10.36pm Maverick Antcliff, Barclay Brown, Jens Dantorp
10.36pm* Jake McLeod, Dave Coupland, Frank Kennedy
10.58pm* Elvis Smylie, Deon Germishuys, Louis De Jager
5.13pm Zach Murray, Dale Whitnell, David Drysdale
5.46pm Whitney Hillier, Yaeeun Hong, Janie Jackson
10.25pm* Karis Davidson, Chloe Williams, Noora Komulainen
11.20pm Jordan Zunic, Grégory Bourdy, Felix Palson
Defending champion: Daniel Gavins
Past Aussie winners: Nil
Top Aussie prediction: Stephanie Kyriacou
TV schedule: Live 10pm-3am Thursday, Friday; Live 11.10pm-2.30am Saturday; Live 8.30pm-1.30am Sunday on Fox Sports 503.
Korn Ferry Tour
Pinnacle Bank Championship
The Club at Indian Creek, Omaha, Nebraska
9.45pm Harrison Endycott, Chris Baker, George Cunningham
10.40pm* Rhein Gibson, Robby Shelton, Stephen Franken
11.35pm Ryan Ruffels, Jacob Bergeron, Tee-K Kelly
3.21am Curtis Luck, Zecheng Dou, Nelson Ledesma
4.27am Nick Voke (NZ), John Pak, JJ Grey
Defending champion: David Skinns
Past Aussie winners: Nil
Top Aussie prediction: Harrison Endycott
TV schedule: Live 2am-4am Friday, Saturday on Fox Sports 505; 10.30am-12pm Saturday on Fox Sports 503; 12.30pm-2pm Monday on Fox Sports 503.
Four Winds Invitational
South Bend Country Club, South Bend, Indiana
Australasians in the field: Cassie Porter, Robyn Choi, Julienne Soo, Grace Kim, Sarah Jane Smith, Gabriela Ruffels, Hira Naveed, Amelia Garvey (NZ), Soo Jin Lee, Emily Mahar, Stephanie Na.
Defending champion: Lilia Vu
Past Aussie winners: Julia Boland (2012)
Top Aussie prediction: Gabriela Ruffels
The Club at Snoqualmie Ridge, Snoqualmie, Washington
Australasians in the field: Steven Alker, Stuart Appleby, Stephen Leaney, David McKenzie, Rod Pampling, John Senden.
Defending champion: Rod Pampling
Past Aussie winners: Rod Pampling (2021)
Top Aussie prediction: David McKenzie
TV schedule: Live 8am-10am Sunday on Fox Sports 503; Live 7am Monday on Fox Sports 505.
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