At 28, Cameron Smith won the British Open on Sunday at St Andrews. An Australian as famous for the quality of his putting as for his unique look, who entered the history of golf this Sunday.
A historic final
On the eve of turning pro in 2013, a Cameron Smith then without a mustache or mullet warned, without many people listening to him except in Queensland: “My but? To be the best player in the world. » Nine years later, the Brisbane right-hander, already cult for his long neck-mustache combo, is not yet world No. 1 (he will be 2nd on Monday), but this Sunday, the Brisbane right-hander became legendary by winning the British Open, on the land as dry as it is mythical that is St Andrews. At 28, the Australian has produced one of the finest final charges in the last two decades of majors in the Mecca of golf.
Starting four strokes behind Rory McIlroy, Smith took advantage of the Northern Irishman’s lack of success (17 greens hit, 70) and the Norwegian’s inexperience (74), to send the birdies necessary for his comeback. Passed in -2 to go, he will place a fatal attack from hole 10 to 14. Five birdies in a row in the outcome of a Grand Slam, that’s strong. But what about his par save at 17, the toughest hole in The Open rotation.
After his only blocked iron shot of the game, Smith pulled out his favorite tool, the putter, to run down the Road Hole bunker. “I just wanted to get within five meters and then try to putt in”, he will explain next, as if he were telling you about a banal shot on an ordinary hole. A total lucidity of play at this moment of maximum pressure, while Rory McIlroy and Cameron Young still have one or two bullets in the cylinder.
Never has a winner of The Open completed the last nine holes in 30 strokes. A -6 at St Andrews signed Cameron Smith.
Mcllroy’s failing putting
This par saved at 17 will be followed on the last hole by a new magic putter shot, again from outside the green. A final birdie for a 64 (-8), ensuring a total of -20 inaccessible, a blow in front of an astonishing Young (eagle at 18, 65) and two lengths on McIlroy, whose last approach to the “desperado” will not find target.
The Briton will not have missed anything of the day, however, touching 17 greens for no bogey. But without the slightest success in putting, the world number two will leave Fife with a spicy 3rd place. An eighth year is coming to an end for him without a Major and even if he already has a Claret Jug in the window (Liverpool, 2014), he is therefore still missing the one requested at St Andrews. Such a mythical place for such a special edition, the 150th edition of the oldest of the four Majors. An opportunity that will not come again before 2030, the probable date of the next visit of the Open to the lands of the builders of this game.
Peaky Blinders, a dachshund and Lee Trevino with scissors
It is therefore Cameron Smith, who goes down in history for life, because as Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods have clearly underlined this week, a major victory on this links is the essential key to a champion’s outfit. As the title goes with the ewer, the new “Champion Golfer of the Year” is a simple guy. A rugby enthusiast under all his rules, able to follow the Australian league championship live during his press briefing on Tuesday.
Launched to perfection on Thursday (67, 3rd), in the lead on Friday (64) then out of putting on Saturday (73), the Florida resident spent his evenings » in relaxation mode », in his words, devouring the Peaky Blinders series to pass the time. For the rest, also know that he is the proud owner of a dachshund named Kendrick and that his hairdresser (Smith’s, not the dog’s) is called… Lee Trevino, exactly like the six-time Major winner, including two Open in 1971 and 1972.
From the Aussie, we will therefore retain its effectiveness in the scoring game. Qualities less than 100 meters from the hole which allowed him to dominate this week, despite a third lap without feeling which made him very chafouin. “I was really frustrated yesterday with the way round 3 went.he said on Sunday evening. I really put it down to the fact that we play on a links. You can sometimes have weird bounces here and there, which can put you in a bad spot. But I reacted well last night and I was able to move on. »
An Australian who never gives up
Put back in the saddle after his bowl on Saturday by Grant Field, his coach since he was 10 years old (a coach at $90 an hour on his website, therefore just as simple as his player), Smith was able to remember that even with four strokes behind, even on two best players on the planet, nothing is lost. As he did in 2013, overcoming a 5 down deficit in the final of the Australian Amateur Championship. His eagle on the 18th on the 72nd hole at the 2015 US Open will be even more striking. A 4th place propelling the then anonymous player from the Asian Tour to the 2016 Masters, then full-time on the PGA Tour.
The four Major winners in 2022 are under 30, with Scottie Scheffler (Masters, 26), Justin Thomas (PGA, 29), Matt Fitzpatrick (US Open, 26) and Cameron Smith (28, The Open ).
Barely out of his 4th place, six shots behind his friend on the circuit, Viktor Hovland will tell this Australian, who never gives up: “I played a lot with Camsummarize the Norwegian. When you look at it it doesn’t have that wow factor. But, nevertheless, it impresses me. Bad shots don’t bother him and then he knows by hitting a good one right behind. He is a champion worthy of the name. »
Smith admitted it without difficulty on several occasions, his hair look attempted for two years will do as much for his fame as his six titles on the PGA Tour. And as for its famous rat tail, originally planned to be cut off after the first Grand Slam success, it can finally rest easy, as its very happy owner will say: “I find it cool, people recognize me thanks to it and it makes people laugh. So I keep it! »