25 Aug 2021 | Professional golf |

'I can beat anyone': Confident Cam eyeing $15m pay day

by PGA of Australia

Cam Smith smiling with his caddy at the Northern Trust.

By Tony Webeck

A confident Cameron Smith has dusted off the disappointment of his playoff defeat at The Northern Trust to declare his intention to become the first Australian to win the FedEx Cup and the biggest pay day in golf.

A day after hitting his tee shot out of bounds on the first playoff hole to hand Tony Finau the first event of the FedEx Cup Playoffs and top spot in the rankings, Smith stood in front of the media at the BMW Championship in Maryland with a steely determination to use that near miss as motivation for success.

And soon.

Smith rose from 16th to No.3 in the FedEx Cup rankings behind only Finau and Jon Rahm and has set his sights on snatching that No.1 ranking at the completion of the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club next week and the $US15 million reward.

“I feel very confident in my game,” said Smith, who rose from 28th to 23rd in the Official World Golf Rankings, the highest ranking of his career to date.

“I’d back myself against anyone at the minute. I’m ready to go.

“I feel like my game is in a really good spot, and it’s a good time of the year to have your game in a good spot.”

The lone Achilles heel in Smith’s game at present is the driver, the club that cost him dearly at The Northern Trust and put him in a bad position on the 72nd hole as he chased victory at the WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational.

The 28-year-old currently ranks 128th in driving accuracy at 58.98 per cent and as was evident in Monday’s final round at Liberty National is fighting misses on both sides of the fairway.

It’s the aspect of his game that needs to improve if he is to move beyond being Australia’s highest-ranked player to one of the top 10 players in the world.

“It’s always been kind of a weakness of my game,” Smith conceded. “It’s cost me a few runs at tournaments this year.

“That’s what I think is holding me back. Last week was a good example. The one day I drove it good I had 60. I drove it like crap the other three days, and I still managed to get a score out of it.

“My irons feel great. Around the greens I feel great, and I feel really good on the greens, as well.

“If I can straighten out that driver, I’ll give it a good crack, but until then it’s just working on it and trying to get it better.

“It’s nothing too major. I don’t need to go through a whole swing redo or anything, it’s just a couple of technical things.”

As for the lure of a multi-million dollar pay day potentially just 10 days away, Smith couldn’t hide from the enormity of it, even if he doesn’t have big plans on how he would spend it.

“I don’t know what I’d do, to be honest. Maybe some more fishing equipment,” Smith quipped.

“We’re in it for the FedEx Cup. It’s the biggest prize. It’s what everyone wants to do out on the PGA TOUR.

“I’d be lying if I said it hadn’t popped into my mind a few times, but I feel as though I’ve dealt with it really good.

“I’m just playing really good golf and I’m really looking forward to the next couple weeks.”

While Smith is in position to push for the FedEx Cup trophy, his three fellow Aussies need to play well this week at Caves Valley Golf Club to progress to the Tour Championship.

Marc Leishman (35th) and Cam Davis (36th) have been drawn to play together in the opening round with Matt Jones (42nd) to play alongside Lucas Glover and Alex Noren as they strive to move into the top 30 to advance.

Elsewhere this week there are six Aussies in the picturesque surrounds of the Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club in Switzerland, it is week two of the Korn Ferry Tour Finals in Ohio, the Ladies European Tour is in Sweden for the Didriksons Skafto Open and Robyn Choi will continue to strive for an LPGA Tour card at the Symetra Tour’s Circling Raven Championship.

Round 1 tee times AEST

PGA TOUR

BMW Championship

Caves Valley Golf Club, Owings Mills, Maryland

1.21am Cameron Smith, Tony Finau, Jon Rahm

2.38am Matt Jones, Lucas Glover, Alex Noren

3.02am Marc Leishman, Cam Davis, KH Lee

Defending champion: Jon Rahm

Past Aussie winners: Bruce Crampton (1971), Robert Allenby (2000), Jason Day (2015), Marc Leishman (2017)

Top Aussie prediction: Cameron Smith

TV schedule: Live 5am-9am Friday, Saturday; Live 2am-8am Sunday, Monday on Fox Sports 503

Korn Ferry Tour

Nationwide Children’s Hospital

OSU Golf Club (Scarlet Cse), Columbus, Ohio

10.37pm           Brett Drewitt, David Skinns, Rafael Campos

10.59pm*         Rhein Gibson, Charlie Saxon, Nelson Ledesma

2.30am Curtis Luck, Tommy Gainey, Taylor Pendrith

2.52am*           Lucas Herbert, Stephan Jaeger, Matthias Schwab

3.25am Aaron Baddeley, Erik Barnes, Wes Roach

4.20am*           Greg Chalmers, Joey Garber, Jim Knous

Defending champion: Curtis Luck

Past Aussie winners: Curtis Luck (2020)

Top Aussie prediction: Lucas Herbert

TV schedule: Live 2.30am-4.30am Friday on Fox Sports 503; Live 1am Saturday on Fox Sports +; Live 7am-9am Sunday on Fox Sports 505; Live 6am-8am Monday on Fox Sports 505

European Tour

Omega European Masters

Crans-sur-Sierre GC, Crans Montana, Switzerland

4.50pm Maverick Antcliff, Shubhankar Sharma, Alejandro Canizares

5.40pm*           Min Woo Lee, Guido Migliozzi, Johannes Veerman

6.30pm Jake McLeod, Adrien Saddier, Robin Sciot-Siegrist

10pm   Wade Ormsby, Thomas Pieters, Marcus Armitage

11pm   Scott Hend, Alexander Levy, Ross McGowan

11.30pm           Bryden Macpherson, Harry Ellis, Ronan Kleu

Defending champion: Sebastian Soderberg (2019)

Past Aussie winners: Graham Marsh (1972), Brett Rumford (2007)

Top Aussie prediction: Wade Ormsby

TV schedule: Live 9.30pm-2.30am Thursday, Friday; 8.30pm-1am Saturday; Live 8pm-1am Sunday on Fox Sports 503

Japan Golf Tour

Sansan KBC Augusta

Keya Golf Club, Fukuoka

10.05am           Scott Strange, Shunsuke Ohtani, Kazuki Ishiwata

1.25pm*           David Bransdon, Daiki Imano, Yuta Kinoshita

2.30pm Andrew Evans, Ippei Koike, Suzuchiyo Ishida

1.45pm*           Anthony Quayle, Ren Takeuchi, Yuwa Kosaihira

1.55pm*           Dylan Perry, Jay Choi, Tomoyasu Sugiyama

2.15pm*           Todd Sinnott, Shunya Takeyasu, Takao Nogami

Defending champion: Kazuki Higa (2019)

Past Aussie winners: Graham Marsh (1976), Brian Jones (1977), Steven Conran (2004)

Top Aussie prediction: Dylan Perry

Challenge Tour

B-NL Challenge Trophy

The Dutch, Spijk, Netherlands

Australasians in the field: Blake Windred, Dimi Papadatos, Daniel Hillier, Josh Geary

Defending champion: Inaugural event

Past Aussie winners: Nil

Top Aussie prediction: Blake Windred

Ladies European Tour

Didriksons Skafto Open

Skafto Golf Club, Sweden

Aussies in the field: Stephanie Kyriacou, Whitney Hillier, Amy Walsh, Victoria Fricot, Kristalle Blum

Defending champion: Inaugural event

Past Aussie winners: Nil

Top Aussie prediction: Stephanie Kyriacou

TV schedule: Live 8pm-12am Friday; Live 8pm-10pm Saturday; Live 8.30pm-1am Sunday on Fox Sports 505

Symetra Tour

Circling Raven Championship

Circling Raven Golf Club, Worley, Idaho

Australasians in the field: Stephanie Na, Robyn Choi, Soo Jin Lee, Julienne Soo, Julianne Alvarez

Defending champion: Inaugural event

Past Aussie winners: Nil

Top Aussie prediction: Robyn Choi

Champions Tour

The Ally Challenge

Warwick Hills Golf and Country Club, Grand Blanc, Michigan

Australasians in the field: Steven Alker, Robert Allenby, Stephen Leaney, David McKenzie, Rod Pampling, John Senden

Defending champion: Jim Furyk (2020)

Past Aussie winners: Nil

Top Aussie prediction: Rod Pampling

TV schedule: Live 3am-5am Saturday on Fox Sports 503; Live 5am-7am Sunday; Live 4am-6am Monday on Fox Sports 505

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