Team Titleist got a chance to speak with Cam Smith following his historic performance at the 2020 Masters. While Cam finished tied for 2nd with fellow Titleist Brand Ambassador Sungjae Im, he became the first player in the 84 years of the Masters to card four consecutive rounds in the 60’s. Enjoy this Quick 9 with Cam Smith:
Team Titleist: You became the first player in the history of the Masters to shoot all four rounds in the'60s. Did you have any idea that you were in position to do that entering your final round?
Cam Smith: I had absolutely no idea until somebody told me after the round. I just assumed, I guess, that someone had already done that. Yeah, so I had no idea.
TT: You put the New Pro V1x golf ball and New TSi3 driver TSI driver in play as soon as both came out. Could you describe how each benefit your game?
CS: I think the biggest thing for me with the new ball is the cover and the stickiness it gives me around the greens. I feel as though I can hit a lot of different scoring shots into and around the green, which I really needed at the Masters. For me, when I tested it, it was a bit hotter off the driver, which was great. The windows were great. The spin was still the same. The irons were basically the same which I love. But for me, the biggest thing that stuck out was the control coming out of the rough and around the greens. So like inside 40, 50 yards, just the stickiness of it. I feel as though I can control my shots, especially those difficult, soft shots, just so much better with that new cover they got on there. So yeah, I love it. I put it straight in the bag obviously in Vegas and haven't looked back since.
With the new driver, I changed from the TS2 to the New TSi3. I've actually always preferred the look of the three. I didn't play the three in the last one because the performance was so much better for me in the TS2. And then when the planets aligned and we got that new shaft in the TSi3, I was immediately in it. I worked with [Director of Player Promotion] J.J. [VanWezenbeeck] from Titleist down here at Sawgrass, and we just felt with this new head and shaft combination, I was able to shape the ball better. It also feels more stable. I mean the new driver obviously matched up perfectly with the new ball as well. I now have the ability to hit a lot of different shots – from the low fade fairway finder or a high draw - with the look and feel I prefer. So, yeah, it’s a good one. I love it and it fit straight in.
TT: When did you make the decision to put the new ball in play?
CS: Well, Titleist sent me some prototypes to try at home before the Shriners during my week off. I actually had a couple of matches with the boys here at Sawgrass [Cameron lives in Jacksonville, Fla. – home of TPC Sawgrass]. So yeah, I just teed it up, not knowing really what to expect other than it was a new golf ball. I started out with three straight birdies the first time I put it in play. So yeah, I was pretty settled at that point. But then I made four straight birdies the next day and it was officially in at Shriners. What’s funny is the last prototype ball I put straight in a couple of years ago. The boys gave me a few dozen prototypes to go and whack around Sawgrass. Then I went to Australia and won the second time I put it in play. I couldn't be happier with the new golf ball. Yeah, it was straight in.
TT: You’ve made the cut all four times you have made the Masters, including two Top 5’s. What is it about Augusta National that appeals to your game?
CS: I just love it. I love playing the golf course. I love that you have to play smart and hit so many different types of shots. You have to kind of be in a specific part of the fairway to get close. It was a little different this year being so soft, but it's still demanding, especially the shots into the greens. You know, the shaping of it just really suits my eye. I just love the shots that it makes me hit.
TT: Entering the week, was there anything indication that you were going to perform the way you did?
CS: I just felt confident going in. It was obviously a bit of a weird week, you know, without the patrons there. The course looked completely different. The course played completely different to how it normally does in April, but I was just confident in my game. At the beginning of the week, I didn't really feel like I had to overdo anything. I just played nine holes on Monday and Tuesday. Then Wednesday was a little bit of a washout with the weather, so I just practiced for a couple of hours, mostly on my short game, and I felt as I was ready to go. So usually, when I don't spend much time out on the golf course, it may look like I'm being lazy, but I just feel like I'm prepared and I don't really need to do much else.
TT: What are you looking forward to most about heading back to Augusta in April?
CS: Wow, just being back there! I mean, it's just such a great golf course and such a cool place. Hopefully, the course will be playing how it usually plays - a little bit firmer and faster, and hopefully we got the patrons back out there as well. That would be awesome. It was funny, somebody asked me if I gave any fist pumps when I made a great putt or shot, and I remember on Friday afternoon, I finished with an eagle and three birdies in a row. So I felt like that was pretty big and it definitely gave me momentum going into the weekend, but no one was there to cheer me along! It was one of those moments, I guess. That place is electric when there’s great weather and patrons. Just the noise when something happens can be heard on so many holes out there, especially on the last nine. The patrons actually shape the hole, so, the golf course just looked kind of wide open and really different playing it this year.
TT: I know the golf ball and driver are new, but you were the first tour player to put the new black Titleist irons in play. How did that come about?
CS: It started when I kept pestering the boys at Titleist saying that we need to do a black set of the AP2s at the time. So they made me a black set and they just looked so cool. So when the T100’s came out, I they gave me the first set, so I felt pretty special. They look pretty cool with the black grip, black shaft and black head. The first clubs I actually changed to black were the wedges, and I loved them so much. On the irons, I do think the face and the top-line just looks a little bit smaller. I really like that smaller look in an iron, and they did such a good job with the T100s in the silver, and now the black ones look even better. So, yeah. There's definitely a preference. But I just think they look cool as well.
TT: Speaking of wedges. Which Vokey’s do you play and did you change anything up for Augusta?
CS: Yeah, so I do mix up my bounces in the lob wedge a fair bit, but pitching wedge through sand wedge all remain the same week in week out. But the lob wedge I change up. I've got a 60.06 K-Grind, a 60 T-Grind, and a S-Grind. And last week, the S-Grind won the battle around the greens. I do a little practice around the chipping green, and out on the course. Also, [Vokey Rep] Aaron Dill is pretty influential, I guess, in that decision. So we spend probably five minutes together just around the chipping green, just discussing what would be best. And I usually go with his decision.
TT: You seem to have stuck with the Scotty Cameron TFB 1.5 putter since the Presidents Cup. What made you change at that event?
CS: Yeah. That's probably been my favorite putter for sure. I just love the way it swings, the way it sits, and the way the ball comes off. That's three pretty big boxes right there that it ticks. And I feel like I can still make a bit of an error through the stroke, and maybe a bit of a miss-hit or something like that, and the ball's going to react basically the same. So yeah, it's a great putter and the putts seem to drop with that one. So I think it might have a little bit of a long haul in the bag. I just feel like we're teammates or work mates, I guess. love the way that face feels and that is something that I told the Scotty Cameron boys. I tried it once and I was like, geez, I don't know if I'll ever be able to get away from this. So yeah, it was a big change to what I had been playing, but it's been working nicely.
TT: What does your schedule look like for the remainder of the year? When will we see you again?
CS: Normally I would go back to Australia but they have actually postponed the tournaments until February next year. It’s a real bummer, but I couldn’t really go down this year anyway due to all the COVID stuff. I want to make sure I’m healthy and ready for the PGA Tour season in 2021. I do want to go home very desperately. I miss my family and friends, but yeah. I mean, it's just one of those things. So I'm going to play in the Shark Shootout, but other than that I'll be out fishing. I’ll practice and play at TPC Sawgrass in preparation for going back to Maui [for the Sentry Tournament of Champions] and then try and defend at SONY in Hawaii as well. I'm interested to see the renovated golf course in Maui. I wasn't there last year, so I’m really looking forward to getting back there. The SONY course reminds me a lot of home. It's kind of flat and the grass is very similar to where I grew up. The green speeds are really fast and I love putting on them, but you’ve just got to be able to control your putter in that wind.
TT: How is your puppy doing?
CS: Yeah, he's great. He loves traveling around. He was there last week. He just lays in the bed basically the whole week and comes to play when dad gets home in the afternoon. So it's pretty cool. Thanks for asking.
TT: The word is you haven’t had much sleep – and not necessarily because of celebrating your Masters performance?
CS: Oh yeah. I couldn't sleep last night. I was so excited for the State of Origin. I grew up in Queensland. The rivalry between Queensland and New South Wales in rugby is kind of like the Georgia, Florida in football over here. So yeah, it was unreal. The boys played out of their skin and they won. So, I was pretty happy. It came on at 4:10 this morning. There's an app called Watch NRL. So, I subscribe to that every year and they show every game. So, yeah, I was up watching it. I had a few hours sleep and then I got up to watch. It was worth it!