Cameron Smith is feeling so confident about defending the Joe Kirkwood Cup at the Australian PGA Championship that he decided to skip the practice rounds on Tuesday at Royal Pines.
The 25-year-old Queenslander – who bases himself in Jacksonville, Florida during the PGA Tour season – arrived on the Gold Coast on Monday morning and has adopted an ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ mantra.
“I have been playing really good golf and I feel really confident in myself,” Smith said.
“I know the course pretty good, so I’m just going to play the Pro-Am tomorrow. I’m just going to do some practice this afternoon, just to loosen up … I’m not practicing anything in particular or trying to get rid of a shot or anything.”
Smith finished tied-second at the Melbourne World Cup alongside Marc Leishman on Sunday – and despite falling short of winning Australia its sixth world championship, said he has learnt plenty from the experience.
“I think last week was really important just playing with Marc and having someone there that it affects as well,” Smith said.
“I think maybe the last couple months or so … I've probably been on the aggressive side maybe a little bit too much – and last week was a nice reminder having someone hitting your next shot that sometimes being in the middle of the greens and having 20, 30 feet is the best option.
“I'll definitely take a lot from last week.”
The World No.33 has improved over 50 places on the Official World Golf Ranking since he was last on the Gold Coast – and it hasn’t gone unnoticed amongst his peers.
“He's got the respect of the whole locker room in the U.S, and that's hard to get ... Australians need to watch Cam Smith.” – Geoff Ogilvy
“He's (Smith) really good,” said Geoff Ogilvy, who won the Australian PGA in 2008.
“He's got the respect of the whole locker room in the U.S, and that's hard to get.
“Every single time you see him play he's a little bit better than the last time. You can't say that about many guys. He's improving at a nice rate … He could be a year way from being a top‑10 guy.
“He's a really good player, really professional, always in a good mood and fun to be around and good smart ass, good with a chirp, really good player.
“Australians need to watch Cam Smith.”
Smith begins his title defence on Thursday and will face challenges from the likes of Leishman, Harold Varner III (2016 champion), Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston and Order of Merit leader, Jake McLeod.