‘Holding back tears’: Cameron Smith reveals Open Championship motivation as he looks to go back to back

Cameron Smith wants to win The Open Championship again.


“I just had to hand back the trophy. I thought I was going to do all right, but I was actually holding back tears,” Smith said Monday. “But it was just a bit of a moment that I guess you don’t think about and then all of a sudden it’s there, and, yeah, I want it back.”

Last year at St. Andrews, Smith produced one of the greatest rounds in major championship history.

He shot an 8-under 64 to waltz past Rory McIlroy on Sunday and win The Open at the home of golf.

The moment of the championship took place at the famous 17th hole, where Smith successfully got up-and-down for par from in front of the treacherous road hole bunker with his putter.

Cameron Smith, St. Andrews, The 150th Open

ST ANDREWS, Scotland — Cameron Smith lines up a putt on the 17th hole during the final round of The 150th Open on The Old Course at St Andrews on July 17, 2022.
Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images

But now at Royal Liverpool, Smith has eyes set on winning back-to-back opens, hoping to become the first since Padraig Harrington did so in 2007 and 2008.

“I’ve been saying to all my mates, It’ll only be a week and we’ll be drinking out of it again,” Smith joked. “Hopefully it’s another week like last year and I’m back with the trophy.”

If Smith does go on to repeat as champion, he would become the second LIV Golfer this year to win a major championship.

Brooks Koepka’s victory at Oak Hill in May was the first time an active LIV player won a major.

The 2023 PGA Championship was Koepka’s fifth major victory.

As for Smith, however, it was about this time a year ago when he was debating whether or not to join the Saudi-backed tour.

Cameron Smith, LIV Golf, The 151st Open

HOYLAKE, England — Cameron Smith reacts after playing a shot on the 3rd hole during a practice round prior to The 151st Open at Royal Liverpool Golf Club on July 17, 2023.
Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Immediately after winning the Claret Jug, a reporter challenged Smith about the rumor of him joining LIV Golf.

“I just won the British Open, and you’re asking about that,” Smith said. “I think that’s pretty not that good.”

“I appreciate that, but the question is still there,” the reporter snipped back. “Are you interested at all? Is there any truth in that?”

“I don’t know, mate,” Smith responded. “My team around me worries about all that stuff. I’m here to win golf tournaments.”

Come to find out, there was some truth with that.

Smith bolted to LIV Golf at the end of the 2022 PGA Tour season.

Yet, he feels content with his decision to join the Saudi-backed tour a year later. But his sole focus is on winning the Claret Jug again.

“Yeah, I think LIV aside, I’m determined to try my best every week and just try and be a better golfer than I was last week,” Smith said.

“I expect to do everything 100 percent, ticking all the boxes early in the week, making sure I’m prepared, and then just go out there and give it my all. I think we’re all here to win the Claret Jug, and basically any one of these [LIV] guys, if they have their week this week, one of them is going to walk away with it.”

Smith hopes he is the one walking away with the Claret Jug, as he would join Greg Norman and Peter Thomson as the only Australians to win multiple Open Championships.

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko for more golf coverage. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough too.

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