By PGA of Australia
CAMERON SMITH’S dream year continues next week when he tees up in the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits.
Smith burst onto the international golf stage after an eagle at the 18th hole at the US Open catapulted him up the leaderboard and launched his career.
“I didn’t think it would all happen this quick, but it’s definitely good that it has,” said Smith who has all but secured his PGA TOUR card for 2016 as well as places in the fields of the US Open and US Masters.
“At the start of the year I wanted to learn as much as I could and get as much as I could from playing in America but to have achieved this in a year is definitely unexpected.”
Smith, who is just 21-years-old, will have another opportunity to shine on a major stage, thanks to a special invite from the PGA of America he will compete in the PGA Championship.
Taking it all in his stride, Smith is remaining true to character and is not over-awed at the upcoming experience but does believe he will be better prepared to deal with the pressures of a Major Championship the second time around.
“I don’t think the US Open has changed my expectations, I never really expect much of myself, I’ll obviously go to the US PGA to contend but I don’t really expect anything,” added Smith.
“This time around I know what to expect with the pressure and the crowds and things like that.”
“But it’s just a game of golf at the end of the day, you just have to go and do what you do.”
Smith will also be able to draw confidence from the way his game held up on the challenging Chambers Bay layout during the US Open, with Whistling Straits having similar course design characteristics.
“I have just been trying to keep on top of everything,” said Smith who has been at home since June.
“Maybe working on my driver a little bit, although my driver was pretty good that week (US Open) but it can tend to get away from me a little bit.”
“So long as I can keep on top of that I think I should be sweet.”
Smith will arrive at Whistling Straits and spend his time preparing on his own, preferring to focus on his own game rather than chasing practice rounds with the best players in the world.
“I try and do my prep by myself, I might try and play nine holes with someone but I like to do all my stuff by myself, just so I don’t get distracted,” added Smith who hasn’t yet dared dream who he might be paired with for the first two rounds.
“Is Tiger playing? Probably Tiger and Jason Day. I haven’t thought about it to be honest, but it would be cool, we will just see what happens.”
Jason Day is quickly becoming a role model and mate for the young Aussie as he negotiates a career in golf on the world’s biggest stage.
“I talk to Jason a fair bit, I would say we are becoming mates, but it’s not like I interfere with anything he does. I just let him do his thing, he is a busy man,” added Smith.
“All the Aussies guys have been really good, they have come and introduced themselves and offered their help, they have all been awesome.”
“They all do amazing things in one aspect or another so I just try to learn from everyone as I make myself the best that I can.”
Eight Aussies in the field
Smith joins eight other Australians in the field at the PGA Championship to be played at Whistling Straits from 13-16 August.
The other Aussies set to tee up are Steven Bowditch, Jason Day, Matt Jones, Brett Jones, Marc Leishman, Geoff Ogilvy, Adam Scott and John Senden. More at pga.org.au