British Open win makes golfer THE Cameron Smith in Australia

Yes, Cameron Smith’s dad was kicking himself he didn’t make the journey to St. Andrews to see his son win the 150th British Open.

Smith mentioned in his championship winner’s news conference that his father, Des, made the late decision not to fly all the way from Australia just for a week and “he’s definitely kicking himself now. I really wish he was here, too.”

Instead, Des Smith had to watch on TV from the other side of the world as his son started the final round four shots behind before completing the best closing round the Old Course had ever seen to win his first major title by one stroke.

Father and son spoke on the phone just after the new champion had signed his card.

“I just told him I was proud of him and what a great achievement it was for him,” Des Smith told 7 Network’s Sunrise program. “Then I broke down crying, so I couldn’t talk too much.

“We’ve been golfing buddies since he was about three.”

It all finished in the early hours of Monday morning local time in Australia’s east coast city of Brisbane, where the first Australian since 1993 to win the British Open finally got to be the most talked about Cameron Smith in his home state of Queensland. The Open winner in 1993 was Greg Norman and his victory came a month before Smith was born.

A TV anchor on Channel 9’s Today Show introduced news of Smith’s win by saying: “Now this is the golfer, Cameron Smith, winning golf’s biggest prize with a come-from-behind victory for the ages at the British Open.”

For well over a decade a rugby league player, the former captain of Queensland’s so-called State of Origin dynasty and of Australia’s national team, held top rung among the Cameron Smiths in this part of the world.

Smith, the golfer with the flowing mullet and the so-called larrikin sense of humor, has credited the never-say-die spirit of those rugby league teams as his inspiration when he needs to make a comeback.

Des Smith said the pair had spoken after the third round, when his son didn’t have a great day with the putter and had dropped out of the lead, and was confident he was “very mentally strong.”