Cameron Smith concedes his confidence is not “100 per cent” after a frustrating Australian PGA flop but says he could be one good swing away from finding the form to quench a burning desire to add a national open to his trophy cabinet.
The highest-ranked player in the Australian Open field in Sydney this week, Smith, the world No.20, said he spent last weekend hitting “a lot of balls” to come to grips with a swing which let him down badly in his home town of Brisbane.
Reflecting on the missed cut at the PGA, Smith, who came home as the defending champion and amid extra-high expectations from himself and the thousands of fans who walked the fairways with him at Royal Queensland, said a technical flaw in his swing was the cause of his wayward play.
There will be nowhere to hide when he begins his Open campaign at 7am on Thursday morning, playing alongside PGA champ Min Woo Lee, who he watched storm to victory last Sunday.
Smith said he hopes the work he did can have a positive effect on his mental game as much as his swing in his quest for a maiden Australian Open win he wants so badly.
“It’s a silly game sometimes, to be honest,” Smith said on Wednesday.
“A couple of weeks ago I was competing to win the Hong Kong Open and I thought I was playing pretty decent golf and a couple of weeks later it was at the other end of the spectrum.
“It’s pretty weird how it can change that quickly, but yeah, it’s a crazy game sometimes.
“Just as you think you’ve got it, you don’t and then sometimes when you think you don’t have it, you’re finishing in the top 5 or top 10. So it’s a crazy game.
“I wouldn’t say my confidence is at 100 per cent, but like I said, there’s no reason I can’t go out there and be competitive. It only takes a few good shots and a few good feels and all of a sudden you’re looking at yourself at the top of the leaderboard.”
Smith played a practice round with Adam Scott on Tuesday, where the usual side bets were shelved and “we just played for pride” before more practice in a pro-am group on Wednesday with All Blacks legend Richie McCaw.
He said he was still dealing with the frustration and disappointment of his poor showing in Brisbane, but also knows his golf in 2023, which included two LIV wins and two top 10 major championship finishes, was good enough to feel like his best could return in time to lift the Stonehaven Cup.
“I guess it’s easy to lose confidence with rounds like that, but I’ve been playing pretty good golf the last 7 or 8 months and it’s easy to look at it as just another round,” he said.
“But at the same time, it hurts the confidence a little bit. Yeah, like I said, just got to get back to what I know and what I know I can do.
“The old saying of one swing can change a round, I think over the weekend it’s definitely changed how I felt about my game. I’m looking forward to it.”
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