Golf pro Cameron Smith crowned his strong season and won his first major title with an impressive final sprint at the 150th British Open. When he proudly accepted the winner’s trophy, the famous Claret Jug, on the venerable Old Course in St. Andrews, the otherwise nerve-racking 28-year-old Australian fought back tears and a faltering voice.
“I know I’m about to collapse here. It’s just unreal,” said a visibly moved Smith, who can now call himself “Champion Golfer of the Year” after his triumph on the east coast of Scotland.
After the first emotions had subsided, the Australian with the blonde mustache and the eye-catching mullet hairstyle made a party announcement: “I’ll definitely find out how many beers fit in this thing,” said Smith, looking at the silver trophy.
With a very strong round of 64 and a total of 20 under par, Smith narrowly edged out American Cameron Young (-19) and Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy (-18) in the fourth and final major of the year to take a winner’s check over 2 Raised $.5 million. After the third round of the $14 million event in the self-proclaimed “Home of Golf”, he was four strokes behind the two leaders McIlroy and Viktor Hovland of Norway.
But the shooting star of recent months, who among other things won the Players Championship, the highest-paying individual golf tournament on the PGA Tour, played himself into a frenzy at the anniversary tournament: Among other things, Smith played five birdies in a row on the oldest golf course in the world. In total, he made eight wins on the bogey-free dream round.
“I felt good all day and in the back nine the putts just went in and gave me a lot of momentum,” Smith said.
Cheered by British fans, McIlroy, on the other hand, has to wait for his fifth major win – for eight years now. He was ahead for a long time and was apparently so close to success in the cradle of golf.
“Of course I’m disappointed. But I was beaten by a better player this week,” McIlroy said. However, the 33-year-old remained optimistic: “I’m playing some of the best golf I’ve played in a long time. So all you have to do is keep knocking on the door and eventually one will open.”
Golf superstar Tiger Woods had nothing to do with the decision. The 46-year-old Californian failed at his third PGA tournament since his serious car accident in February 2021 after two days at the cut and was eliminated early. Germans were not at the start on the par 72 course in the rough dune landscape.