13 Jan 2021 | Professional golf |
Smith no stunned mullet in Hawaii
by Mark Hayes
As the old saying goes, you can take the boy out of Queensland.
However, Cam Smith – in typically good humour – has again proven the reverse isn’t quite as easily accomplished with his NRL-inspired 2021 hairstyle.
Preparing to defend his Sony Open title in Hawaii, Smith confirmed the plan for his mullet was to continue to make it “nice and filthy”.
“I saw a few of the rugby league boys at home doing it (and) it was a great time to do it during quarantine, just something fun (to) make people have a laugh about it,” Smith joked.
"I've just kind of kept it going. I've almost turned it into my good luck charm.
“It’s not bad,” he said, removing his Titleist cap to unfurl its full glory.
“I think it needs a little bit of a trim at the front.
“I'd really like to go full business at the front and party at the back.”
Smith, 27, won his first solo tournament on the PGA Tour one year ago, edging Brendan Steele in a playoff at the Wailalea Country Club near Honolulu.
He returns this week not only with additional golden locks, but also comfortable in how he overcame other aspects of a crazy 2020 season riddled by Covid-19 changes.
That has led to five consecutive top-25 finishes, including his extraordinary second place at the revised autumn Masters, at which he shared the lowest non-winning score in the history of Augusta National.
“Yeah, it's just been really solid,” said Smith, whose long-time coach Grant Field has remained a constant, but only via enforced and distant means.
“We haven't seen each other face-to-face for about 13 or 14 months now, so it's been quite a while.
“We've made our way around it with FaceTime and other technology that we're able to use these days … (and) been doing a really good job of staying on top of it.”
In fact, Smith said his vaunted short game was as good as it has ever been.
“I've putted really well (in the past few months). I feel as though if I can get my longer stuff, and especially my irons into a good spot, I'll be able to compete every week.
“So I’m just working on that with Fieldy … not trying to overdo it, just little steps. Hopefully it all falls into place very soon.”
It’s well documented the rugby league tragic puts a huge emphasis on representing Australia whenever he gets a chance. Smith’s recent form has pushed him to No.2 – behind only Adam Scott – among his countrymen in the world rankings and into an Olympic berth if the team was formalised today.
But while that lure remains strong, Smith said any potential date in Tokyo could wait.
“(Olympics) was definitely one of my goals last year. It's still one of my goals. I'd love to be there. I'd love to represent Australia, so hopefully we get the go-ahead and get over there,” Smith said.
“I just think I just need to keep doing my job, week in, week out here, and hopefully I get a call-up.”
And that process starts with his first fully fledged PGA Tour title defence on soil that, while foreign, isn’t radically different to his own.
“It just reminds me so much of home to be honest. The grasses are almost the same.
“Where I grew up is very flat and … (like here) it's always windy.
“You always have to control your ball into the greens, which I love doing. I feel as though you can be very creative around the greens here. I love it.”
Smith will be joined in the field this week by fellow Australians Aaron Baddeley, Cam Davis, Rhein Gibson, Matt Jones, Marc Leishman and Adam Scott.
For a slow motion video of Cam's glorious mullet, click here.
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