With his extraordinary success in the game, it’s more than a little obvious Cam Smith is sitting in a pretty good place. Even before he confirmed the game’s worst kept secret by signing a massive contract with LIV, his future and that of the next four generations of ‘little Cams’, was assured.

Despite all his achievements, fame and recognition, there remains a young bloke with a persona totally removed of celebrity or ego. I have listened to Cam answer questions from the media for years now and not once has he strayed from that normal young Aussie you might find yourself paired with in a Wednesday four-ball anywhere in Australia. 

While covering the Aussie PGA Championship at Royal Queensland, I found another layer of this ripper of a young man’s character I hadn’t seen before. 

After his first round of 2-over 73, his post round interview outside the scorer’s van was classic Cam Smith. 

“I was just standing over the ball and I didn’t know where it was going to go…. It was crap,” Smith said. 

Cam Smith fronted up to the media, despite a couple of disappointing days at the Australian PGA Championship.

As you’d expect, we all just laughed it off fully expecting something in the mid 60’s on Friday, putting his name back in the mix. 

Sadly 24 hours later there was absolutely nothing to laugh about with Cams second round 77 leaving him in a tie for 146th place and leaving the fans, and the media, more than a little shocked.

I was fully expecting a frustrated Cam Smith to leave the scorer’s van and head straight to the locker room, where it’s always easy to find something to kick and with no one to see it happen. It wasn’t like he’d just blown the lead at a major or missed the finals of the Fed Ex Cup by a shot. Right? 

No, to his credit he stepped out of the van, came straight over for his final interview from a long list he’d already given this week. I was standing to his immediate right and could see his face up close and personal.  

But it wasn’t frustration or anger behind this thick black designer sunnies, it was tears. 

We’re talking about one of the grittiest high-profile players in the game who can take down the world’s best in the biggest arenas, but on this day, something was far more important to him than adding to his own list of accomplishments. 

When asked; “Did you feel you put a lot of pressure on yourself this week?” He gathered himself for a few seconds and replied.  

Raw, emotional, not to mention an exceptional talent, Cam Smith is an inspiration to many.

“I’ve performed under pressure before but… that’s just unacceptable….definitely been getting a little tired towards the end of the year but that’s golf, that’s not really an excuse. Australia’s been so good to me…. even when I’ve been tired… there’s no reason to really perform that way.”

At that point, the mediator rightly moved in and ended the pain for Cam as he turned and went back into the scorer’s tent to collect himself. 

He knew he was the face of the tournament and made it very clear he felt he had let the tournament and his country down with two rounds of golf he described, as much as his emotions could allow, as unacceptable.  

Five minutes later, still with thick sunglasses on, he left the van again and began signing kids caps, moved to a team of fans all wearing matching Cam Smith t-shirts wanting selfies, more signatures, and finally into the arms of his girlfriend where what was left, spilled out.

It wasn’t easy to watch this impressive young man trying to cling onto his pride and avoid embarrassment, but I couldn’t help but feel moved and inspired by his devotion. That day a young Aussie bloke, less than half my age had become one of my sporting hero’s.

As expected, there he was again the next day, without his clubs but doing his best to apologise to his Australian fans by signing autographs, offering selfies, smiling and just being Cam Smith. 

As I’m writing this, from the media centre at the Australian Open in Sydney exactly a week later, I’ve just checked the leaderboard. Not the top but the cut line, and there’s Cam battling tooth and nail with a game clearly not at its best, to at least make it to the weekend and give something back to his beloved country.

I began writing this column at 2pm on Friday and now realise I can’t finish it until Cam’s 36-hole score has been posted. 

4.35 pm – Sure enough, this gutsy young Aussie “dug deep” and shot a 3 under par 68 on a windy, tough afternoon at The Australian to keep his Open alive and his massive Australian fan club happy.

Cam Smith is the quintessential, fair dinkum, ‘doesn’t take himself too seriously’, Aussie but when it comes to his self-imposed responsibility for giving back to his home country, out comes an extra layer and he takes that very seriously.

Editor note: Smith showed glimpses of what we know he is capable of with rounds of 68-69 on the weekend at the ISPS Handa Australian Open, for a 7-under par total, in finishing in a tie for 17th, providing plenty of entertainment for the massive galleries in attendance.