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January 9, 2022

Cameron Smith

Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii, USA

Plantation Course at Kapalua

Aussie Virtual Presser

RACHEL NOBLE: All right. With that we would like to welcome 2022 Sentry Tournament of Champions winner Cameron Smith to the virtual interview room here. Cameron, just talk us through what went through your head today and this win and what it means for you.

CAMERON SMITH: Yeah, it was very satisfying. Obviously it was a grind all weekend. I felt like I had to make so many birdies to just stay in front of what the guys were doing behind me and, you know, worked quite hard on my swing in the off-season and, yeah, it's nice to get a result, I guess, so soon.

RACHEL NOBLE: Questions, please.

Q. I know it was a big week. You obviously got the win and the boys were up there in the club tent. What does it say about you getting into the world top-10 and the future of Australian golf with you sort of leading the way now?

CAMERON SMITH: Yeah, it's nice to knock that one off. It was one of my goals, I guess, at the start of the year, it's something that I'm going to have to reassess, I guess. But Aussie golf is in great hands. There's so many young guys coming through, especially through the amateur level as well that have just turned pro that I'm sure will make it out here one day and keep holding the Aussie flag up high.

Q. I know you weren't expected to get into the top-10 as quickly as you have, obviously, and you'll have to reassess as you said, but, I mean, is No. 1 still a clear goal for you? Is that something you would like to aspire to?

CAMERON SMITH: Yeah, I think so. There's obviously a long way to go to get there. There's still a few things in my game that I would like to make better and for sure I definitely want to get there, but how long it's going to take, I'm not sure. I'm not thinking it's going to take as short a time as it did to get into the top-10 this year.

Q. Clearly you feel like you're not at your ceiling. You've got a lot to go. You're still in your 20s and plenty of good golf to come?

CAMERON SMITH: Yeah, I feel like, I just feel like I just need to keep improving, not worry about the other stuff, just worry about what I'm doing, worry about the amount of work I'm doing at home and just trying to keep making myself a better golfer.

Q. Clearly it's the big events that are next on your radar as well, PLAYERS, winning a FedExCup, winning a major, being a dominant force in the Presidents Cup team. Are these part of those goals that you have?

CAMERON SMITH: Yeah, absolutely. You know, I think the next step for me is, I've competed well in majors. I've been up there a fair few times. I feel comfortable at 'em. I just feel like I just need one good week to all come together and I'll be right up there. It's just, I just got to keep doing what I'm doing.

Q. How much confidence from keeping the world No. 1 behind you?

CAMERON SMITH: Yeah, a lot of confidence. There's many reasons why Jon Rahm's the best player in the world and I witnessed it over the weekend. But to be able to hold him off, yeah, it was quite satisfying, I guess. I feel like I did a lot of work over the off-season and, yeah, what better way to kind of start a season, I guess, with holding him off.

Q. Were you as calm as you looked coming down the stretch?

CAMERON SMITH: No, definitely not. Sam and I, my caddie and I do such a great job I think in between shots to get our minds off golf. So that's something that we really did over the weekend. We were just talking about anything, to be honest. We were watching whales at one point.

And, yeah, so it's good to just keep the chat up, I guess, and make yourself as calm as possible.

Q. Are you going to get yourself anything as a reward for winning?

CAMERON SMITH: I don't know. I'll have to sleep on that one, to be honest. I mean, I'm quite content with where I'm at. I know mom's car's probably getting four or five years old, so maybe a new car for mom.

Q. What about this victory feels different from the other three on the PGA TOUR?

CAMERON SMITH: I guess all the guys are here that have won the year prior. They have all had a really good season, and they all know how to win. So to be able to win against the winners, I guess, is really cool. I'll definitely draw a lot of confidence off that, yeah.

Q. Making a habit of setting records on the TOUR with the fewest putts in a round, round four in the 60s at Augusta, how special to set another in a win?

CAMERON SMITH: Yeah, it's really nice. Obviously the scoring record's nice. Everyone keeps reminding me about the one at Augusta. But I didn't get the Green Jacket. I tell everyone that I would rather the Green Jacket. But, yeah, that's just how it is.

To be honest, I'm not a massive golf nerd, I guess. I don't really know about records. I'm just out there to, just to compete against the best players in the world.

Q. What about Hawaii makes Aussies play so well there?

CAMERON SMITH: I don't know. I think there's a lot that reminds us of home. Obviously the mountains. The grass we play off is very similar to where I grew up, maybe not a couple of other guys.

But I think Aussies play well when we're relaxed, and we're all relaxed here in Hawaii. Everyone is.

Q. Does this win help to lessen the feeling of missing out of playing one of your favorite events in the Australian PGA at home?

CAMERON SMITH: Yeah, it's obviously something that I hate missing out on. I would love to be there to compete, but I'm sure the Australian fans will draw a lot from this week and hopefully I've given them something to cheer for over the weekend.

Q. Does breaking the record for lowest score make, in PGA TOUR history feel extra special and were you aware of the record coming into today's round?

CAMERON SMITH: Yeah, one of the media guys reminded me after our first couple of rounds, which was really nice of him to do (smiling.)

But, yeah, I was aware of it. I didn't really think about it over the weekend. I was more worried about just trying to win the golf tournament and I guess that kind of pushed me over the edge.

Q. How does winning the first event of the year set your confidence levels for the rest of this year, including majors?

CAMERON SMITH: Yeah, I'm going to get a lot of confidence out of this week. To hold off Johnny over the weekend was obviously a massive thing. But I think a slow fall series for me, I only played three events, just got me eager to compete again. And, yeah, it was really nice to be in contention the first week out.

Q. Going off of that, couple close ones last year where you couldn't quite get it done when leading. How special is it to win again?

CAMERON SMITH: Yeah, it's really nice. Winning doesn't happen a whole lot and I guess the work in the -- well, not really the off-season, the fall series, lots of time talking to my coach, sending him swings and trying to get some stuff dialed in with the driver, it's nice to just have a result so quickly.

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