By E. Michael Johnson
Cameron Smith. Patrick Smith
Cameron Smith didn’t win the Masters, but he did become the first player in tournament history to shoot four rounds in the 60s in the same Masters. Smith took some time to speak to Golf Digest about his equipment, including the new Titleist Pro V1x ball he recently put in play, why he carries a 7-wood in his bag and the retro set of clubs and balls he plans to use while playing TPC Sawgrass.
You recently put the new Titleist Pro V1x in play. But you don’t feel the need to endlessly fiddle around when changing golf balls, do you?
The last time they had a new ball I put it straight in [the bag] and did well, and the same happened here. They gave me a few dozen prototypes to whack around Sawgrass, and I put it straight in and had some great success with it.
What’s the key performance attribute you look for in a ball?
I have my windows set with all the clubs, and this ball hit all of them just like the last ball. This ball, however, around the green, feels a little bit stickier. The ability to control the ball around the greens for me is No. 1. I don’t hit a lot of greens in regulation, so I need to be able to control it out of the rough and fairway near the green. I got the prototypes and went around Sawgrass almost every day and then did a lot of work around the practice green as well.
You put a new driver, as well, in at Winged Foot for the U.S. Open. What resonated about that club?
I like the look of both the new heads. Being in the TS2 head the last time, the new TSi2 didn’t look too different. Maybe the toe line looked a little straighter. But I felt it was easier to shape the ball with the TSi3. Most of the time my go-to is a low cut off the tee, but the TSi3 also provided the ability to get it going high and left if I need it.
Smith put his new driver in play just ahead of the U.S. Open in April.
You had a 21-degree 7-wood in the bag at Augusta. Is that a staple in your bag or just for the Masters?
I carry a U510 3-iron and the 7-wood to each event, and what the course demands is what I put in. The 7-wood gives me some extra height on long shots into the par 5s. They both go the same distance, but the 7-wood lands it softer. That was needed at the Masters, which is why I had it in there.
What’s the story behind the all-black irons?
I think I have the first set of the Titleist T100s in black, so I feel pretty special. They’re all murdered out and look pretty cool. The first clubs I changed to all black were the wedges a few years ago, and I loved them so much that I kept pestering the boys at Titleist that we needed to do a black set with the AP2s, and they finally made me a black set. They look so cool and the face and the topline look smaller and I really like that look, so I’ve continued with that.
Do you stick with the same bounce/grinds with your wedges or do you change them based on course conditions?
I mix up my bounces in the lob wedge quite a bit. The pitching, gap and sand wedges stay the same but the lob wedge changes. I have a 60-06 K grind, a 60 T grind and 60 S grind. Last week the S grind, which has a little heel relief, won the battle around the green. I do a little practice on the course and around the practice green to decide. I also speak with [Titleist wedge rep] Aaron Dill and he is influential in that decision. We spend a few minutes each week talking about what might be best, and I usually go with his recommendation.
Any of Aaron’s handiwork on the back? He’s known for some elaborate stampings.
No, these are clean on the back. I’ve run out of things to write on them.
Smith likes to play with a set of all-black irons. "They look so cool and the face, and the topline look smaller. I really like that look."
A couple of years ago you unabashedly told me you fooled around with a lot of different putters. It seems now, though, you’ve settled in with one.
The Scotty Cameron TFB 1.5 Teryllium putter is probably my favourite putter ever. I just love the way it swings, sits and how the ball comes off the face. That’s three pretty big boxes to check. I feel like I can still make a bit of an error through the stroke, and the ball will come off the face close to that of a good stroke. It might have a bit of a long haul in the bag. I’ve always been one to shuffle putters in and out, but this one seems to have found a sweet spot. I first put it in play at the 2019 Presidents Cup and it’s been in since.
What’s the last club you paid your own money for?
The boys at Titleist actually sent me a box of the old Tour balatas and I wanted to make an old school set of clubs to go with them. I bought a Titleist 975D driver, a PT 15 fairway wood and some really old Maxfli Australian Blade irons to knock around at Sawgrass.
What’s your best score with that set?
I haven’t gotten around to playing with them yet, but I’m really looking forward to taking them out around Sawgrass and see what I can do with them. I’ll do it over the break for sure. Ask me after the first of the year and I’ll have an answer for you.
What Cameron Smith has in the bag:
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Driver: Titleist TSi3 (Project X HZRDUS Smoke Yellow 60), 10 degrees
3-wood: Titleist TSi2, 15 degrees
7-wood: Titleist TS2, 21 degrees
Irons (4): Titleist U500; (5-9): Titleist T100; (PW): Titleist Vokey SM8
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM8 (52, 56, 60 degrees)
Putter: Scotty Cameron by Titleist TFB 1.5 Teryllium