‘Was tough’: Cam Smith opens up on LIV move, uncertainty and the Aussie title he wants ‘so bad’

‘Was tough’: Cam Smith opens up on LIV move, uncertainty and the Aussie title he wants ‘so bad’

Cameron Smith has a major and many other golf titles to his name, but the elusive Australian Open is the one he wants to win “so bad.”

Smith is back on home soil ahead of a bumper summer of golf in Australia and although he’s ecstatic about playing in front of family and friends, he’s here to win.

Catch the full Cam Smith interview with Braith Anasta Friday, 5pm on Kayor or Channel 503.

Smith reflects on ‘tough’ LIV deflection | 00:55

The Queenslander already has three Australian PGA Championships to his name, with his most recent triumph coming last year.

But the Australian Open is the one Smith craves.

“I feel like I’ve had one hand on the trophy there a couple of times and haven’t quite been able to get it done,” Smith told rugby league legend Braith Anasta in a wide-ranging interview in which he also spoke about his controversial switch to LIV Golf.

“I think the older I get, the more pressure I put on myself to try and do something, which is very unlike me.

“But I just want it so bad. Growing up as a kid in Australia, you want to have your national open.”

And when asked how winning the Australian Open would compare to winning a major, Smith responded: “For me, it would probably be number one.”

Smith also reiterated the opportunity to compete in Australia more often was a driving factor behind his controversial move from the PGA Tour to LIV Golf.

The only place to watch every upcoming event on the Challenger PGA Tour of Australasia live is on Fox Sports, available on Kayo >

Broncos GF loss brought Smith to tears | 00:40

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“I wish I could play more, we’re travelling a lot these days,” Smith said.

“I want to get back here, there’s no reason why Australian golf can’t have one or two more big tournaments and get in front of the home crowd a little bit more.”

Smith’s bombshell switch to the Saudi-backed LIV tour came with some backlash and while the Queenslander admits it was tough to take at times, he certainly has no regrets.

“It was a little bit tough to go through … but I spoke to my family a bunch and spoke to my team a bunch and now spending a couple of seasons out there, I think I definitely made the right decision,” Smith said.

“To take golf to different places, to. Especially world class golf – and show fans what golf can be played like, it’s great … and to get around the world travelling with your best mates, it’s been a lot of fun.”

Uncertainty lingers over golf’s future despite plans for a merger between the PGA and LIV, which announced its draft 2024 schedule on Thursday.

Smith is unsure how things will play out, but he’s not worried.

“That’s for people smarter than me to work out. It feels like there’s about a million lawyers trying to figure it out at the moment,” Smith said.

“We (the players) haven’t heard much at all. We’re just there and really just focused on what we need to do to make our tour more successful and that’s what we’re all about.

Smith remains hopeful for Olympic return | 01:27

“From a player’s standpoint there’s really no hard feelings between any of the players. It’s really quite cruisey — I think the media has a lot to do with that, a lot of clashing, but we’ll wait and see what happens.

“I’m happy with where I’m at, if it doesn’t change, fine, if it does, whatever. I just want to play golf around the world and the best golf I can play.”

A successful Australian summer would cap off a strong 2023 for Smith, who won the London and Bedminster LIV events as well as a 4th-place finish at the U.S. Open.

However, the 30-year-old believes it could have been an even better year had he not suffered a slow start.

And if he can kick off 2024 in form, Smith hopes it will carry him towards the pinnacle of golf: the famous green jacket.

“January and February, I have to be on my stuff probably a little bit more than I was last year,” Smith said.

“Got off to a bit of a slow start and I was competent, but wasn’t really happy with how my game was at Augusta.

“That’s no-one’s fault but my own and that definitely won’t happen again this year.

“That’s definitely one I want to get.”

SCHEDULE

November 23-26: Australian PGA Championship, Royal Queensland Golf Club, Brisbane

Total prize money: $2,000,000

December 1-4: Australian Open, The Australian Golf Club and The Lakes Golf Club, Sydney

Total prize money: $1,700,000

HOW TO WATCH

The only place to watch every upcoming event on the Challenger PGA Tour of Australasia live is on Fox Sports, available on Kayo >

NOTABLE PLAYERS

Cameron Smith, Adam Scott, Min Woo Lee, Marc Leishman, Adrian Meronk (AUT), Matt Jones, Cameron Davis, Joaquin Niemann (CHI), Mito Pereira (CHI), Robert MacIntyre (SCO), Michael Block (USA), Lucas Herbert, Alex Fitzpatrick (ENG), Rafa Cabrera Bello (ESP), Eddie Pepperell (ENG), Kiradech Aphibarnrat (THA)

PREVIOUS CHAMPIONS

Australian PGA Championship

2022 (Nov): Cameron Smith

2022 (Jan): Jed Morgan

2019: Adam Scott

2018: Cameron Smith

2017: Cameron Smith

Australian Open

2022: Adrian Meronk

2019: Matt Jones

2018: Abraham Ancer

2017: Cameron Davis

2016: Jordan Spieth

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