‘Coolest trophy in the world’: Aussie Cam Smith fine-tunes his drive to retain British Open title

Cameron Smith choked back tears as he handled the Open trophy - now he's determined not to give it back.

Cameron Smith choked back tears as he handled the Open trophy - now he's determined not to give it back. Photo: Getty

Cameron Smith has revealed what a wrench it will be for him to hand back the Claret Jug but he believes he’s in the sort of form to have in his clutches again by the end of next week.

The Australian superstar will, as tradition dictates, give his replica of the famous old trophy back to the R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers on Monday before the 151st Open Championship begins at Hoylake three days later.

“The hardest thing is gonna be giving back the trophy to be honest, it’s been so much fun,” conceded Smith, chatting to reporters in London before travelling for his first glimpse of the Royal Liverpool course on Saturday.

“I’ve had a couple of good cleans of it, I make sure to clean it after every night we have it (on display), it’s always been a pretty good nick,” laughed the 29-year-old Queenslander.

“I guess I’ll wait and see if it’s going to feel emotional giving it back – but it’ll definitely be motivation to try and get it back.

“It’s the coolest trophy in the world. It’s unreal to have, and hopefully, if not this year, in years to come I can try and get it back down to Australia.”

Maybe as early as next Sunday, in fact.

Drive to succeed

Smith says he couldn’t have a better preparation for defending the Jug he won so brilliantly at the landmark 150th Open last year – and he’s adamant that he’s a better golfer now than even when he won at St Andrew’s 12 months ago.

“I do feel like I’m a better golfer,” he said a week after winning LIV Golf London.

“I feel like even though I won five times last year, I had a few days during a tournament when I was really in contention that the driver really let me down and I was kind of grinding trying to stay at the top of the leaderboard.”

But after working on “straightening out” his drives on the range, he believes his game’s in tip-top shape. “It’s feeling better than it’s ever felt,” he says of his driving.

“So I’m happy with with what we’re doing and it definitely seems to be working. The driver and all the longer stuff, which I’ve typically struggled with, is starting to be really good.”

Strangely, he felt his driving wasn’t his “best friend” last week at Centurion golf club north of London, yet his peerless short game still earned him his first win of the year for a perfect Open preparation.

“We’ve played a lot of golf lately, but it’s good for the competitive juices to stay at that kind of level and I feel better than ever at the moment.”

No Australian golfer has won the Open back-to-back since the late, great Peter Thomson won three in a row between 1954 and 1956, with the last of those being held at Royal Liverpool.

Asked if he felt he could be a repeat winner, Smith shrugged: “For sure I want to go up there and give it my best shot and I’d love to win. But there’s probably 50 guys in that field that can all win a golf tournament if they have their week and you’ve got to watch out for them all as well.

“But the golf is starting to feel really nice and it’s in a spot where it doesn’t really have to be 100 per cent for me to contend – and that’s just a really nice feeling.”


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