LIV Golf Invitational Series: Two pros lose sponsor UPS

The PGA Championship in Oklahoma at Southern Hills Golf Club had a very interesting fringe event on the first day. Louis Oosthuizen and Lee Westwood were spotted on the course and during the first round without their sponsor UPS on their shirts, the reason could be the LIV Golf Invitational Series. Westwood, who has been with UPS for 14 years, commented, “I consider myself lucky to have been with UPS for 14 years – such a great company.”

LIV Golf Invitational Series the reason for the end of the collaboration?

According to UPS, this decision is all about business. But when you consider the fact that UPS is also the Ryder Cup’s logistics partner, the split could very well have to do with the two pros’ aspirations for their future. Both Westwood and Oosthuizen have been positive about the LIV Golf Invitational Series and plan to participate in the inaugural event in London. As the Ryder Cup’s logistics partner, that might not be compatible for UPS. Especially since it is planned that all players who want to participate in the events will no longer be part of a Ryder Cup.

The LIV Golf Invitational Series has been at the top of the headlines for weeks and is the number one topic of conversation in the golf circuit. Whether it’s the memorable statements made by CEO Greg Norman about the murder of Khashoggi by Saudi Arabia, or that Saudi Arabia is sportswashing with these events, the new tour is facing harsh criticism. It remains exciting to see what further impact this new tour will have on the traditional tours, the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour.

European Tour

European Tour: Adri Arnaus wins on the 6th playoff hole

The Catalunya Championship has come to an end. Adri Arnaus is the more than happy winner of the tournament, which was held for the first time. In a playoff he prevailed against the South African Oliver Bekker. After six playoff holes Arnaus secured his first title on the DP World Tour, formerly European Tour. Best German-speaking player is Bernd Wiesberger on the sole eighth place. The two best Germans of the week are Marcel Schneider and Nicolai von Dellingshausen. Both are tied for 13th place at the end of the tournament.

Adri Arnaus with longer breath in the playoff

Already in the regular playing time Adri Arnaus was the better player on the course than Oliver Bekker. Bekker only managed an even par 72, but Adri Arnaus made a spirited recovery and played an outstanding seven under par round on the difficult PGA Catalunya Stadium Course. He remained bogey-free, making five birdies and an outstanding eagle on the second nine to close the gap to the South African by seven strokes.
In the playoff, things got tough. Both players were visibly nervous and the difficult 18th hole did not help either. The two opponents went to the 18th hole five times, each time sharing a par. Although sometimes one and sometimes the other had good starting chances after the tee shots, neither could profit from them. Important was a chip by Arnaus on the fourth extra hole. He mastered the difficult situation confidently, otherwise he stayed relatively cool on the greens in the playoff. But both of them did not manage to play out good birdie chances for the victory.

In the end, the change to the 17th hole of the course helped. The sixth playoff hole should then also bring the decision. Oliver Bekker pulled his driver and missed the fairway right in the rough. Arnaus took his driving iron and hit the ball cleanly down the fairway. His starting position was a dream, and so was his shot into the green. From 180 meters he played the iron with a slight left-right curve into the green, the ball comes up five meters before the flag and rolls towards the hole. Although it just missed the hole, it stopped just behind it at about two meters. Bekker had to deliver and didn’t, his second shot landed left in the rough next to the green. From there he saved himself cica 1.5 meters from the hole a chance at par.
Arnaus had a chance to win, but, how could it be otherwise, he missed. Now it was up to Bekker again: His par putt also lipped out and Arnaus again saw himself in the position to finally decide the tournament for himself. This time he took advantage of the situation, what followed was an understandable outburst of joy and relief. After two hours of playoff, there was finally a winner, Arnaus taking home his first DP World Tour title.

European Tour

The K Club to host Horizon Irish Open in 2023, 2025 and 2027

The Horizon Irish Open will return to The K Club as part of a long-term deal with the DP World Tour, which will see the island of Ireland’s national Open played at the former Ryder Cup venue in 2023, 2025 and 2027.

The K Club’s commitment to the development of Irish professional golf is further enhanced by the news that the resort’s second Arnold Palmer-designed course, Palmer South, will also play host to the Challenge Tour’s Irish Challenge in the intervening years, beginning this July and again in 2024 and 2026.

The announcement continues the momentum surrounding the Horizon Irish Open, with Horizon Therapeutics – the global biotechnology company headquartered in Dublin – having signed a six-year title sponsorship deal in February, beginning with this year’s event at Mount Juliet Estate from June 30-July 3.

Next year will be just the second time The K Club has hosted the Irish Open, having done so for the first time in 2016, when four-time Major winner Rory McIlroy claimed a famous victory which will live long in the memory of Irish sports fans.

First Irish venue to host the Ryder Cup

Ten years prior to that momentous occasion, the stunning Kildare venue made history when it became the first Irish venue to host the Ryder Cup. Under Captain Ian Woosnam, Europe marched to a commanding 18½-9½ victory over the USA – with recently-announced European Captain for 2023, Henrik Stenson, holing the winning putt on his debut in the biennial contest.

Guy Kinnings, the DP World Tour’s Deputy CEO, Ryder Cup Director and Chief Commercial Officer, said: “We share a special connection with The K Club through their hosting of the 2006 Ryder Cup, and we thank them for their commitment to the development of Irish golf through this long-term deal with both the DP World Tour and Challenge Tour.

“This news, along with the announcement earlier in the year of Horizon as title sponsors of the Irish Open until at least 2027, underlines the strength of our sport in Ireland, as we build towards the return of the Ryder Cup to Irish shores for its centenary edition in five years’ time at Adare Manor.”

Minister of State for Sport and the Gaeltacht, Jack Chambers TD, said: “Ireland has a rich tradition in producing world-class golfing talent and I am particularly delighted to see so many Irish golfers in the field for the 2022 tournament.

“The Government’s investment in the Golf Ireland Professional Scheme continues to assist Ireland’s emerging professional players as they strive to progress through the ranks. The Horizon Irish Open is a wonderful showcase for Irish golf and for Ireland as a tourism destination.

“Our passion for golf, combined with our renowned tradition of hospitality, makes us want to share our courses and our companionship with visitors. The K Club will be the perfect host for the spectators present and for an international audience, following play from around the world.”

Paul Heery, General Manager of The K Club, said: “The K Club has always been well known as a venue for hosting successful, international golf events and now with the guidance and fresh energy from new ownership, we are delighted to be back hosting tournaments of this calibre once again.

“Establishing a new legacy at the resort”

“The K Club is evolving. We are on a journey to establish a new legacy at the resort where supporting the golfing community in Ireland is an extremely important focus for us. The team at The K Club are incredibly proud to be making this long-term commitment to Irish golf which will see us host six years of high profile tournaments in Ireland.

“We very much look forward to welcoming players from all over the world to The K Club and watching the dramatic action unfold on the fairways of our Arnold Palmer designed courses once again.”

Timothy P. Walbert, Chairman, President and CEO, Horizon Therapeutics: “To have this historic tournament associated with one of Ireland’s most prized golf venues signifies the momentum that is building for the sport and for the Horizon Irish Open.

“As we continue to grow as a company in Ireland, we also look forward to doing our part to grow the interest in the island’s national open and are excited for what the future will bring with The K Club and the DP World Tour partnerships.”

Dr Una May, CEO Sport Ireland, said: “It’s an exciting time for this tournament and I look forward to working with the DP World Tour and all of the tournament hosts over the next few years to help bring this great event to new levels of success.

“I am delighted that Sport Ireland, through its sponsorship of the Horizon Irish Open, has been able to offer two invitations to emerging Irish golfers. This will provide players with the opportunity to play in a top class DP World Tour event on home soil, and help further their careers as professional golfers.”

Like the Ryder Cup, the Irish Open was also first played in 1927 and it is now one of the world’s most famous national opens, boasting former champions such as Seve Ballesteros, Sir Nick Faldo, Pádraig Harrington, Bernhard Langer, Rory McIlroy, Colin Montgomerie, José María Olazábal and Jon Rahm.

Tournament is a part of the Open Qualifying Series

The 2022 edition will once again form part of the Open Qualifying Series, with the top three players not already exempt earning a coveted place in the 150th edition of the Open Championship, taking place two weeks later on the Old Course at St Andrews.

The Irish Challenge returned to the Challenge Tour back in 2015 and has been played every year since – barring 2020 due to the pandemic.

The Ladies European Tour, meanwhile, will return to Irish shores for the first time in ten years when the Women’s Irish Open takes place at Dromoland Castle this September.

It was announced in February that all general admission tickets for Sunday at the 2022 Horizon Irish Open have sold out, the earliest sell-out day in the history of the DP World Tour. Limited tickets still remain for the Wednesday Celebrity Pro-Am, as well as the first three tournament days – Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Premium Experience hospitality packages are also selling fast, with The Range Club – an ideal offering for smaller groups wishing to relax in style and enjoy outstanding service in a relaxed hospitality environment – already sold out on Sunday.

(Text: DP World Tour)

European Tour

DP World Tour: Power returns at Horizon Irish Open

Séamus Power will play in front of his home fans for the first time since becoming a PGA TOUR winner when the Irishman tees it up at the 2022 Horizon Irish Open, which returns to the stunning Mount Juliet Estate from June 30 – July 3.

The Waterford player has enjoyed a meteoric rise through the Official World Golf Ranking, going from 434th in the world at the beginning of 2021 to his current career-high ranking of 40th.

PGA Tour Winner and Masters debutant

His achievement in becoming just the sixth Irishman to win on the PGA TOUR, at the Barbasol Championship last July, captured the imagination of the Irish sporting public and two weeks ago he made his Masters Tournament debut, aged 35.

Power, who has been based in the USA since graduating from East Tennessee State University, has only played his home national open on three occasions – making his last appearance in 2019 – and his return this year is sure to be met with a rapturous welcome at the County Kilkenny venue.

“I cannot wait to return to the Horizon Irish Open and play in front of the home fans for the first time since my win on the PGA TOUR,” said Power, who has signed up as a DP World Tour Member for the 2022 season.

“I have received so much attention and love from home since that win, and during my recent run of good form, so I’m looking forward to showing my gratitude at Mount Juliet in July.

“The Irish Open is a festival for the public”

“It’s a tournament which is very close to my heart obviously, and I had an unbelievable experience at Lahinch in 2019. The tournament has grown so much and has become a real festival for the Irish sporting public, so I’m sure it will be no different this year. Hopefully I can put on a good show for the fans.”

Last year, the returning home fans watched Australian Lucas Herbert triumph in wire-to-wire fashion, sealing a three-stroke victory for a second DP World Tour title. The promising 25-year-old has since won for the first time on the PGA TOUR, at October’s 2021 Butterfield Bermuda Championship and he too made his Masters debut last week.

Prior to the 2021 edition, Mount Juliet had hosted the Irish Open for three consecutive years in 1993, 1994 and 1995, won by Englishman Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer of Germany and Scotland’s Sam Torrance respectively.

It was announced in February that all general admission tickets for Sunday at the 2022 Horizon Irish Open have sold out, the earliest sell-out day in the history of the DP World Tour. Limited tickets still remain for the Wednesday Celebrity Pro-Am, as well as the first three tournament days – Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Premium Experience hospitality packages are also selling fast, with The Range Club – an ideal offering for smaller groups wishing to relax in style and enjoy outstanding service in a relaxed hospitality environment – already sold out on Sunday.

(Text: DP World Tour)

Highlights Tours

US Masters 2022: Scottie Scheffler’s flirtation with disaster on course 18

Scottie Scheffler was in cruise control on day three at Augusta at the 2022 US Masters. At any point in the third round, he was at least three strokes ahead, and at times it was as much as seven. But a relaxed Saturday by Masters standards could have ended disastrously for Scheffler on 18. With a four-shot lead, he stood on the tee of the last hole, the narrow wooded fairway of the 18th in front of him. Before teeing off, all sorts of spectators had to be moved to get the shadows out of Scheffler’s view. Perhaps this distraction, this brief moment of reflection in the situation was too long for him, because his following tee shot was one of the worst shots of his day.

Pictures at US Masters 2022 like Saturday tournament among amateurs

Scheffler’s ball started left toward the tree line. His typical fade curve failed to materialize and the ball disappeared deep into the trees on the left side of the course. Now you would think that at the Masters such a ball would be found immediately. But anxious minutes followed for Scheffler, during which helpers searched for his ball. In the end, fortunately, the ball was found, and the resulting pictures looked like an amateur in Saturday’s tournament. “Fortunately, they found the ball. And then I was just trying to figure out how to get it on the green with my third shot.” Scheffler, scrambling among bushes and branches, looked for a way out of the mess. All day, his round was going relatively smoothly, until that moment. But Scheffler remained deeply relaxed in his inimitable way, as he had throughout the US Masters 2022.

Clever interpretation of the rules help Scheffler

Scheffler’s first idea was to play the ball from there. But the heavy stand and the branches made that impossible. The second idea was the much better one. He declared the ball unplayable and subsequently got a drop two club lengths from the ball no closer to flag. Those two club lengths were enough to drop in an area on the left edge of the lane where he had a free swing. After discussions with the referee, he was allowed, in accordance with the rules, to remove pine needles in the drop area and test the ground for roots. On the drop, the ball rolled out of the designated area twice, and as a result, he was able to place the ball. The rest was a formality for Scheffler, world No. 1 and currently the best player on the planet. Iron 3 from 215 meters just behind the green, and then a relaxed up-and-down to the five. The bogey could be the important piece of the puzzle for Scheffler to win at the end of the fourth day. He enters the final round with a three-stroke lead over Cameron Smith, although it could have been considerably less.

Panorama Uncategorized

US Masters: The development of prize money since the beginning

Tiger Woods was paid over two million dollars for his victory at the 2019 US Masters – a first. He also overtook Phil Mickelson in the list of prize money kings in Masters history with this whopping prize money. Tiger Woods now leads this one, too. How the prize money of the US Masters has developed over the years and how much money Horton Smith, the first champion in 1934, got for his triumph over 85 years ago. An overview.

The prize money kings of the Masters history

  1. Tiger Woods, $9,494,136
  2. Phil Mickelson, $8,018,037
  3. Jordan Spieth, $4,561,156
  4. bubba watson, $3,931,855
  5. Adam Scott, $3,635,277

Prize money at the Masters: Tiger, Mickelson, Spieth

The next list where Tiger Woods is at number one since last year. With his over two million dollars from last year, he overtook three-time “Green Jacket” winner Phil Mickelson. The two are well ahead of the rest. Jordan Spieth, who won the 2015 Masters, is third with earnings of under five million dollars, while Bubba Watson and Adam Scott are fourth and fifth with under four million dollars. What is striking about the list is that only players who are still active are in the top 5. Also, if you let your eyes wander further down the list, you’ll notice: Only players from the modern era of golf take place in this list. The reason for this is the development of the prize money paid out at the US Masters over the years.

Masters prize money: From under two thousand to over two million dollars

The prize money in golf has increased over the years, everyone is aware of that. The market has grown, there are more sponsors and the players are not just athletes but brands. Nevertheless, it is worth taking a look at the prize money development of the US Masters, because the difference between the first and last staging is incomparably large. Horton Smith, who won the first US Masters in 1934, was happy to receive 1500 dollars.

Until the Second World War this prize money for the winner was not increased, only at the first Masters after the war the winner got 2500 dollars. Over the years, the prize money increased almost exponentially. In 1958, the winner was paid over 10,000 dollars for the first time, and in 1984 over 100,000 dollars for the first time. The magic mark of over one million dollars was not cracked until after the turn of the millennium in 2001 – the first winner to enjoy this prize money in new spheres was Tiger Woods. Within 18 years, this prize money has then doubled again, and once again Tiger Woods is the first player to have been paid prize money of over two million dollars.

1934-2021: The prize money of the winners at a glance

1934: $1,500
1935: $1,500
1936: $1,500
1937: $1,500
1938: $1,500
1939: $1,500
1940: $1,500
1941: $1,500
1942: $1,500
1943: –
1944: –
1945: –
1946: $2,500
1947: $2,500
1948: $2,500
1949: $2,750
1950: $2,400
1951: $3,000
1952: $4,000
1953: $4,000
1954: $5,000
1955: $5,000

1956: $6,000
1957: $8,750
1958: $11,250
1959: $15,000
1960: $17,500
1961: $20,000
1962: $20,000
1963: $20,000
1964: $20,000
1965: $20,000
1966: $20,000
1967: $20,000
1968: $20,000
1969: $20,000
1970: $25,000
1971: $25,000
1972: $25,000
1973: $30,000
1974: $35,000
1975: $40,000
1976: $40,000
1977: $40,000
1978: $45,000
1979: $50,000
1980: $55,000
1981: $60,000
1982: $64,000
1983: $90,000
1984: $108,000
1985: $126,000
1986: $144,000

1988: $183,800
1989: $200,000
1990: $225,000
1991: $243,000
1992: $270,000
1993: $306,000
1994: $360,000
1995: $396,000
1996: $450,000
1997: $486,000
1998: $576,000
1999: $720,000
2000: $828,000
2001: $1,008,000
2002: $1,008,000
2003: $1,080,000
2004: $1,117,000
2005: $1,260,000
2006: $1,260,000
2007: $1,305,000
2008: $1,350,000
2009: $1,350,000
2010: $1,350,000
2011: $1,440,000
2012: $1,440,000
2013: $1,440,000
2014: $1,620,000
2015: $1,800,000
2016: $1,800,000
2017: $1,980,000
2018: $1,980,000
2019: $2,070,000
2020: $2,070,000
2021: $2,070,000

PGA Tour

WGC – Dell Technologies Match Play: Who’s gonna make it into the round of 16?

After day 2 of the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, Texas, quite a few golfers still have the chance to reach the round of 16. But it will be tough for some players. Stars like Bryson DeChambeau or Patrick Cantlay, however, have already been eliminated after the second day of the tournament. We give an overview of which golfers still have a chance of advancing.

WGC – Dell Match Play: Clear conditions in several groups

Jon Rahm and Dustin Johnson, for example, have a good starting position. The two leaders in their respective groups only need a draw in the third match to advance. For sure, a win would also be enough to qualify. The same applies to the following players: Viktor Hovland, Brooks Koepka, Tyrrell Hatton, Billy Horschel, Lucas Herbert, Kevin Kisner, Matt Fitzpatrick and Seamus Power.

In other groups, too, some golfers already have a leg up in the round of 16 and have their advancement in their own hands. However, a draw in the third match will not be enough for them. These players will only advance to the knockout stage with a win: Richard Bland, Adam Scott and Abraham Ancer.

Tricky scenarios in groups 2, 10 and 14

While in some groups of the WGC Match Play a favorite already stands out, in other groups the outcome is still very open. A good example of this is Group 2: Collin Morikawa and Sergio Garcia have the best starting position with 1.5 points, but Jason Kokrak can still advance with currently one point. Fourth-placed Robert MacIntyre has already been eliminated.

If both Morikawa and Garcia, who are not playing each other, win, it would come to a playoff between the two. The same would happen in the event of a tie. If both lose their third match, Morikawa’s opponent Kokrak will be happy. Because in that case he would book his ticket for the round of 16. A playoff between Kokrak and Garcia is also still possible if Garcia only manages a draw and Kokrak wins against Morikawa. There are numerous scenarios possible, so it will remain exciting until the end of the group stage. That is precisely what the match-play format at the World Golf Championship is all about.

A similarly tricky situation arises in Group 14. Joaquin Niemann, Kevin Na and Maverick McNealy still have a chance of advancing.

The situation in Group 10 is completely different: Paul Casey has withdrawn due to back problems and Louis Oosthuizen has no chance of advancing. So only two players are still fighting for a place in the knockout stage. Corey Conners and Alex Noren will play a direct match to determine the group winner. If the match ends in a draw, there will be a playoff between, who would have thought it, Conners and Noren.

19 players already eliminated

After the second day at the Austin Country Club, it is definitely clear that 19 players no longer have a chance to advance. Among them are prominent names like Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Cantlay and Ian Poulter. The following golfers are also eliminated after round two: Patrick Reed, Sebastian Munoz, Robert MacIntyre, Cameron Tringale, Keith Mitchell, Marc Leishman, Tony Finau, Matthew Wolff, Louis Oosthuizen, Paul Casey, Keegan Bradley, Tom Hoge, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Russell Henley, Brian Harman and Erik van Rooyen.

PGA Tour

Masters 2022: Phil Mickelson absent for the first time since 1994

Phil Mickelson will not participate in the Masters Tournament in 2022. The official list of registered professionals was updated on the Masters site on Monday after the Valspar Championship and Mickelson is no longer listed as an active player at the tournament, according to the list. Instead, the 51-year-old is now listed among the former winners of the Masters who will not compete in the 2022 edition.

No Masters participation due to sabbatical

Mickelson is therefore still committed to taking a longer break from the golfing circus. After the upheavals on the PGA Tour, the American reacted by saying that he had a lot to think about and needed some time away from active golf. In February, the 2021 PGA champion faced fierce headwind, both from the Tour and from the ranks of the players. Mickelson had made several memorable statements in an interview about the PGA Tour, its rights for players and about his push of the new Saudi League. As a result, the pressure on him became so great that he decided for himself to retire for a while. In a statement issued in late February, he wrote, “I know I have not been on my best behavior and desperately need time off to prioritize those I love most.”

When will Mickelson tee it up again?

As a result, he missed several important tournaments. Just recently, he did not play in the Players Championship, which is the biggest tournament on the PGA Tour. There will be no sign of Mickelson at any of the other tournaments in March either. Now he has cancelled the Masters. For him, it is the first Masters since his debut in 1994 that he will miss. When and how Mickelson plans a comeback to the tour is not yet known, so we have to be patient until Mickelson speaks out again.

PGA Tour

How does the World Golf Championship – Dell Technologies Match Play work?

The World Golf Championship – Dell Technologies Match Play pits the world’s best golfers against each other this week in Austin, Texas on the Austin Country Club course. This tournament is played in a match play format and not, as is so often the case, in counting play. We explain the special play mode this week and what the group and knockout stages are all about.

The match play format

Counting match play is probably the best known format in golf. The player’s strokes are added up over the various rounds and the player with the fewest strokes wins the tournament. In the match play format, on the other hand, there is a direct duel with the opponent and it is not about strokes, but about courses won. Two players compete against each other and play an 18-hole round. Each individual hole is scored separately: The player who needs fewer strokes for a hole wins it. The player who has won more holes after 18 holes wins the duel. If both players need the same number of strokes on a hole, it is “split” and ends in a draw. It therefore takes at least 9.5 holes won to win a match.

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: The Mode

The field of participants will be divided into 16 groups for the tournament. The 64 qualifiers will be placed in a seeded list according to their ranking in the March 21 world rankings. The field is strong, with 64 of the world’s 69 best players set to compete. Accordingly, Jon Rahm is seeded number 1. Based on the order of the seedings, four pools with 16 players each will be divided. The players from pool A (number 1-16) form the group heads of the respective groups. They have been drawn one player from each of the other pools B,C and D, so that 16 groups of four will start the tournament with one player from each pool. The group winners will advance to the knockout stage, where the winner will be determined from the round of 16 on Saturday to the final on Sunday.

The tournament schedule

Due to the format with many matches, the World Golf Championship-Dell Match Play starts already on Wednesday. On the first three days, players in all groups will play one 18-hole round against each other, so that three duels will be played in each group. The winner of a round gets one point, if a pairing ends in a draw, both players get half a point. Whoever can collect the most points will move on to the knockout stage. If several players are tied for the lead in a group on Friday, a playoff scenario will be played from hole to hole after the group phase until one player prevails.

The knockout duels will then be played over the weekend until a winner is determined. If the two opponents are tied after 18 holes in a match in the round of 16, on Saturday morning, the playoff will continue. The winners will then determine the semi-finalists in the quarter-finals on Saturday afternoon, if necessary in a decider mode.

On the final day, the semifinals will be held in the morning, and the winners of the semifinals will decide the World Golf Champions-Dell Technologies Match Plays title among themselves in the afternoon. The losers of the semifinals will only have to play for third place.


PGA Tour: Cameron Smith press conference after Players Championship win

After his Players Championship victory Cameron Smith answered the journalists’ questions at the following press conference. He spoke about the significance of the victory for him and what influence his family had on it.

STEWART MOORE: Cam Smith, 2022 PLAYERS champion. Thank you for joining us here in the interview room. Quite a long week here at TPC Sawgrass and certainly a roller coaster of a final round for you today.

Maybe just some opening comments on the victory and thoughts on the week.

CAMERON SMITH: Yeah, it was obviously a long week. Yeah, today I think I just kind of held in there today. Lots of birdies, kept staying aggressive, kept trying to make birdies, and went through a little bit of a lull there in the middle, I guess.

And yeah, just bounced back really nice and proud of the way I hung in there.

Q. What was your heart doing when the ball was in the air going towards the flag at 17? What was your heart doing when the ball was going towards the water on 18? And could you explain hitting driver on 18.

CAMERON SMITH: I mean, on 17 I hit a really good shot. The wind didn’t quite hit it as much as what I thought it was going to. Kind of left it alone there for a long time and just kind of helped me out there at the end.

I’d be lying if I said I was aiming there. I was probably aiming 10 feet left of that. But still wanted to stay aggressive, still wanted to make birdie.

18, just a hole for me that doesn’t really suit my eye. I like to work the ball left to right off the tee. That’s where I feel comfortable, and I feel as though I can’t hit that shot down there. Just haven’t quite figured that hole out.

Driver, just because I just wanted to get it down there as far as I could basically. If it did turn over, I was going to have a short shot in, and it just didn’t quite turn over.

Q. The punch-out, did you think it was going to get to the water when you hit it?

CAMERON SMITH: No, I thought the shot was actually going to come out quite soft because it was in amongst some pine straw, and it actually come out really nice.

Definitely I was trying to hit it probably 30 yards less of that. I just thought it was going to come out tumbling and just roll out on to the fairway. Yeah, but just kind of come out nice, and it was unfortunate, but held it together. And great up-and-down.

Q. I’m assuming you last saw your family after Presidents Cup.


Q. You’ve talked outside so much about chill time this week, hang time, golf kind of a second priority. Do you think that helped you in terms of expectations, or do you even have any expectations at any event?

CAMERON SMITH: I’ve never been one to expect much of myself. My expectations are I wake up, go to the gym, practice as hard as I can for a couple hours, and then go and have a good time. That’s it basically every day.

My expectation is to prepare well and then kind of let everything fall into place from there.

Q. How do you think seeing them this week helped or didn’t?

CAMERON SMITH: Yeah, I’m not sure if it did or not. It was nice having some company at home, I guess, in the rain delays. Last week we spent a lot of time just kind of hanging out, showing them around Jacksonville.

They obviously knew I had to play this week so they weren’t really expecting much, but it’s nice to come out here and play well for them.

Q. You mentioned staying aggressive throughout the round; was that an emphasis you had coming into today, or what went into your thinking of keeping the pedal on the metal throughout the day?

CAMERON SMITH: I think I just knew that the golf course was going to kind of let up a few — there was a few pin spots out there that were very gettable, and being the way that the course played with all the rain, just soft and sticky, I just knew I had to make plenty of birdies.

I was a few behind, I think, going into the start of the round, and just needed to get after it basically.

Q. In Atlanta you told us that you don’t know what you would do with $15 million. What are you going to do with $3.6 million?

CAMERON SMITH: Yeah, I don’t know. (Chuckling.)

I really don’t. I don’t have an answer for that. It hasn’t sunk in.

That’s a lot of money. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it.

Q. Kind of a nerdy question, but the tee shot on 16, is it similar to how you guys play the tee shot on 13 at Augusta National now?

CAMERON SMITH: Yeah, similar. I think you’re trying to work it maybe a little bit more on 13 at Augusta. I would typically hit 3-wood off 13, as well.

Like I was saying before, I typically like to move my driver left to right, and that hole kind of sits awkward for me, as well.

It’s very similar, but probably just a different club.

Q. Aside from the 10 birdies that you made today, could you talk also about the right-to-left par putts that you made on 14 and 15 and how nervy those putts were because of the break?

CAMERON SMITH: Yeah, the putt on 14 is not really a putt you expect to make, to be honest. You’re just trying to hit a good putt, and if it goes in, it goes in. That one had a lot of break. It was obviously a bit longer.

The one on 15 I felt really comfortable over the top of. It was probably only eight or nine feet, and the putter felt good all day, so felt really comfy over that one.

Q. After you went in the water on 18, what you did do to calm yourself down? Or did you even feel like you needed to calm down at all?

CAMERON SMITH: Yeah, I was obviously very frustrated at myself. For somewhat of an easy chip shot, probably the easiest shot I had all day, to hit it in the water was quite frustrating.

But yeah, just kind of regrouped. I knew I had to get up-and-down to really close it out.

Q. Which one of the pars on 14, 15, 16 was the most difficult?

CAMERON SMITH: I think 16. It was a horrendous drive. Had a chip-out and still had maybe 220 meters to the hole, so maybe 240. I think that’s where it could have got away from me a little bit.

Obviously hitting over the corner of the water there can get quite nervy, and yeah, just had to step up and hit a really good shot and was able to do it.

Q. You looked pretty confident with club selection and the line you took on 17. Were you feeling pretty calm inside?

CAMERON SMITH: Yeah, I struck the ball really well. It was the shot that I wanted to play. I just thought the wind was going to kind of hold it up for most of the way. It actually kind of drifted right and then held its line at the end there.

Yeah, heart was in the throat there for a second, but I knew it was the right club.

Q. Everyone has been trying to understand the Australian term of essentially toughness. Can you describe as best you can what it means to be a Queenslander and what it is about you guys that have got you where you are today?

CAMERON SMITH: I think it’s probably just never give up. I grew up watching rugby league and watching the Queenslanders come from behind, and even when it got gritty they’d somehow manage to win. I think that’s kind of instilled in all of us.

Q. Is it fair to say that the competition of golf is what you love the most, i.e., the fight rather than chipping, putting, driving, et cetera?

CAMERON SMITH: Yeah, absolutely. I had a bit of a break towards the end of last year, probably had two months off, and more than anything else I just wanted to get out and compete again.

I was sick of whacking balls at the back of the range and playing rounds with mates. I wanted to compete against the best guys in the world and try and beat them.

Q. For a guy who only made one par in his first 13 holes today, did it feel at all like a wild ride that it looked like, or did you feel like you had everything under control?

CAMERON SMITH: Yeah, I was hitting the ball really well. I felt really confident with my irons. My driver got a little bit skewy the last kind of 12 holes, but was able to kind of scramble around and hit really good iron shots when I needed to.

I felt really comfortable with my iron shots. I felt as though I had it under control. I just needed to hit the fairway. That was the big thing.

Q. You move to No. 6 in the world, and you’ve done things to get there. Do you feel like the No. 6 player in the world? Do you feel like you should be part of that kind of elite class of golf?

CAMERON SMITH: I feel as though I’m playing the best that I’ve ever played. It’s kind of weird to think like that, being kind of the — probably the last three or four years being the guy that kind of goes from 20th to 40th in the World Rankings, and then all of a sudden to be 6th is kind of weird.

But I feel as though I’ve put in the work and I feel as though I’ve done a lot of work on my body and I’ve put in the time.

Yeah, it’s nice to see all that stuff paying off.

Q. How often do you see your family even in the best of times, given the distance, and who exactly made it here?

CAMERON SMITH: Yeah, probably see them typically twice a year. I’ll go home in the middle of the year for a couple of weeks just for a little bit of a hangout, and then I’ll go back down and play some golf in Australia and have a little bit of a hangout over Christmas, as well, typically.

So I probably only spend six weeks at home. It was my mum and sister that had come over, yeah.

Q. Their names, and also the significance of being Australian and winning this tournament? There have been some pretty great champions from your country.

CAMERON SMITH: Yeah, mum’s name is Sharon and my sister’s name is Melanie. Yeah, it’s so cool. Obviously lots of Australians have won here, lots of great Australian golfers have won here, you know, but the best that have ever lived have won here, as well.

So it’s pretty cool to have the name on the same trophy as them.

Q. Was there a moment in the final round where you thought or said to yourself, This is my tournament to win? And if there was that moment, what did you do after to make it a reality?

CAMERON SMITH: Like I was saying before, I felt really comfortable on the range with my irons, and I knew if I could somehow get it in the fairway, I felt it was mine to win from the start.

I feel really comfortable on the greens around here, so I just needed to get it on the fairway, and if I could do that, then I knew I had a red hot chance.

Was able to do that a little bit on the front nine at least, and then kind of got a bit wavy there at the end.

Q. You told us yesterday that despite living five miles from here, you try not to play this course. How, if at all, did that help you? Or maybe now are you saying, maybe I want to play this course a couple more times a year?

CAMERON SMITH: Yeah, I try not to play it because it’s typically just set up a little bit softer and a little bit slower. I found myself — I thought moving here originally it would be a huge advantage, but I found out after a few missed cuts in a row that it maybe wasn’t.

Just hitting some different clubs off tees and some different lines when it gets firm and fast, and also the pressure of the battle. You don’t realize how tight this place is until you have to hit a shot.

When you’re playing hit-and-giggle with your mates it can be easy at times, but it’s a different beast.

Q. Who in your family, if anyone, do you think you inherited your mental toughness from?

CAMERON SMITH: Yeah, I don’t know. I think both sides of my family, my mum and my dad’s side. Both have — just both mentally strong. They’re working class people who have had to work their whole life to live basically, and yeah, I guess that’s just kind of what I grew up in.

Q. A lot of times when players win this tournament they have to go off to the next event or fly home, but you are home, so how are you going to celebrate this one?

CAMERON SMITH: Sleep. I feel like I haven’t slept in five or six days. It’s obviously been a long week. I’m sure there will be a few beers around the fire tonight, but yeah, I can’t wait for a good sleep.

Q. When you made three bogeys at 7, 8, and 9, did you tell yourself something in that walk between 9 and 10 to get to where you made four birdies in a row again?

CAMERON SMITH: I guess it was just keeping it simple, back to one shot at a time, just trying to hit the fairways off the tee.

Was able to hit a couple of nice drives off 10 and 11 and give myself some really good opportunities into the greens there.

Yeah, it was just kind of knuckling down and kind of knowing what I had to do.

Q. I don’t know how much you’ve watched this tournament over the years back home, but do you remember anything about Adam Scott’s win? And if you do, did you think about him at all?


Q. I was going to ask if you saw it. You don’t know that Adam did the same thing on 18?

CAMERON SMITH: No, I got told after the round, but I had no idea.

Q. And you didn’t see it being replayed on every screen around you as you were getting set for your drop?

CAMERON SMITH: No. No, I didn’t.

STEWART MOORE: Cam Smith, thanks so much, and congrats on your first PLAYERS Championship

(Text: ASAP Sports)