Cameron Smith produced a scintillating final round to win his first major title at the 150th Open Championship. On the historic Old Course at St Andrews yesterday, the Australian carded a bogey-free eight-under-par 64 to finish on 20 under par – one stroke clear of Cameron Young and two clear of Rory McIlroy.
Northern Irishman McIlroy went into the final round with a four-shot advantage alongside joint-leader Viktor Hovland, and he finished the championship with a two-under 70. “Make no mistake, though”, said Peter Scrivener on the BBC. “McIlroy did not lose this. Smith won it”. The Claret Jug is Smith’s “because he had a magnificent day”.
To win The Open in itself is “probably going to be a golfer’s highlight in their career”, said the 28-year-old Champion Golfer of the Year. “To do it around St Andrews, I think is just unbelievable. This place is so cool. I love the golf course. I love the town.”
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Fishing-obsessed ‘lazy’ larrikin
Australia’s newest major champion is “a wizard on a golf course”, said Matt Cleary in The Guardian. He is also a blue-collar Queenslander who likes XXXX Gold and his F1 simulator. There are many reasons why fans love Smith. “He reminds us of ourselves; he is an everyman who happens to be unbelievably good at golf.”
Sporting a “garish mullet”, which is reminiscent of a young Andre Agassi, the “quirky” Australian may buck “conventional approach”, but “there can be no doubting his talent”, said Oliver Brown in The Telegraph. It is no wonder that Smith’s fellow Australians have started nicknaming him a “cashed-up bogan”.
The “mullet man” has gone from being a “beer-swilling, fishing-obsessed ‘lazy’ larrikin” to the “comeback king” of St Andrews, said Josh Alston in the Daily Mail. Now top of the golfing world, Smith’s “love of mullets, beer and fishing” is “well known and won’t change.”
World No.2 Smith adds The Open title to the Players Championship that he won in March. In his career he has eight professional wins, including six on the PGA Tour.
LIV switch? ‘I don’t know, mate’
Similar to the PGA Championship in May and the US Open last month, there was plenty of talk on the sidelines at St Andrews about the controversial Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series. Today, Sky Sports has reported that Team Europe skipper Henrik Stenson is “expected to be imminently stripped of his Ryder Cup captaincy”, with the Swede “poised” to join the rebel series.
In his post-tournament interview last night Smith refused to rule out a switch to the LIV and “did nothing” to “kill rumours”, said The Telegraph. When asked about his plans by a reporter he replied “I don’t know, mate”. He then added: “My team worries about all that stuff. I’m here to win golf tournaments. I just won The Open, and you’re asking about that. I think that’s not good.”
Smith has become the first Australian since Greg Norman to win The Open. The Telegraph understands that LIV chief executive Norman is “pursuing the prospect of an entirely Australian team that would include both Smith and Adam Scott”.
If the Open is “a fairytale” and an LIV champion golfer “a nightmare” for some, the reality is the tours and upstarts “will probably have to learn to co-exist, even if that means living snippily ever after”, said Rick Broadbent in The Times. “Whatever happens next, yesterday’s run for home was another dream.”
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