Cam can join world’s top 10: Ogilvy
MAJOR winner Geoff Ogilvy predicts Cameron Smith could be a world top-10 gun in a year with a short game and temperament that compares favourably to American ace Jordan Spieth.
The lofty praise from the 2006 US Open champion forced Smith to show his unflappable streak because he politely refused to be rushed by any schedule of goals other than his own.
So recently into the world top 50, the 25-year-old Smith has set world top 20, a Presidents Cup spot and winning more tournaments as his next big targets.
Defending champion Smith is living valuable lessons all the time and the weight of co-favouritism beside Marc Leishman is another for the Australian PGA, starting at Royal Pines on the Gold Coast on Thursday.
It says something of how rapidly Smith's mojo is catching hold that he is admirably filling the shoes of absent local favourite Adam Scott, so often the crowd magnet on the Royal Pines fairways but enjoying family time at Noosa this week.
Ogilvy, 41, recently gave his young family a Disneyland treat to end his 20-year life in the US before relocating home to Australia.
If there is a baton to be changed to the young brigade, he thrust it straight at Smith.
"He's really good,'' Ogilvy said.
"He's got the respect of the whole locker room in the US and that's hard to get.
"He's easily one of the top 40-50 guys, people take notice of him and he could be a year away from being a top 10 guy.
"(Three-time major winner) Jordan Spieth doesn't do anything better than Cam Smith, except he holes more putts at the right time and gets up-and-down at the right time.
"You don't get that on the range but through the experience of playing, and Cam is getting there."
The rating is for more than the hot short game that had him sinking a bunker shot at the World Cup in Melbourne as if he was still the kid firing at buckets on the practice fairway of humble Wantima Country Club in Brisbane's north.
"He's got the right little bit of smartarse to him, he's good with a chirp and he's unflappable, which is very difficult to be because golf is a game that will flip you out," Ogilvy said.
Only Bryson DeChambeau, Jon Rahm, Rickie Fowler and Tommy Fleetwood are in the world top 10 without a major win, so the Ogilvy forecast should be treated as rich praise rather than a strict timeline.
"Oh really, did he say that? Thanks Geoff," world No.33 Smith said with a grin when told of the top 10 trajectory.
"My next goal for myself is to make myself a top 20 player in the world.
"Obviously, getting that far up (to top 10) is a really big step but it's definitely not a time frame thing."
Playing with a partner at the World Cup may prove a key turning point because it showed Smith he had been playing too aggressively at times this year.
As an individual, he coped with it but he just never wanted to leave teammate Leishman with a dud position.
"I've felt really confident in myself but being a little bit too aggressive was a problem,'' Smith said. "It was a good lesson at the World Cup because I didn't want to put Leish in bad situations ... sometimes 20-30 feet from the pin in the middle of the green is the right option.''