Cam Smith's Olympic motivation to defy ranking slide

Marc Leishman believes the rules should be changed to allow a golfing "rock star" to feature at the Paris Olympics, but Cameron Smith is backing himself to earn selection regardless.

The pair wore Australian colours at the Tokyo Games two years ago, Smith flirting with the podium before falling one shot shy of making the bronze-medal play-off.

It's likely only the top two-ranked Australian men will feature again in Paris next year.

Cameron Smith celebrates his victory at the 2022 Australian PGA Championship.

Smith has faded from world No.2 to No.18 after two seasons with LIV Golf, the breakaway three-day tournament series that has repeatedly had its attempts to earn official world rankings points knocked back.

He's still the country's top-ranked male but the pack is closing fast.

The rejuvenated Jason Day (No.21) is next while Cameron Davis, Min Woo Lee, Adam Scott and Lucas Herbert are all inside the top 70 and consistently in the mix on the European and PGA Tours.

Only players inside the world's top 60 will be eligible for qualification, with some forecasters predicting Smith to dip below that mark before the Olympic team is selected.

That's made defending his Australian PGA Championship at Brisbane's Royal Queensland from Thursday, where rankings points will be earned, more important.

Unwelcome on the PGA Tour, Smith can also give his ranking a boost at the Australian Open at The Australian and The Lakes clubs in Sydney next week, while he'll play all four majors next year before July's Games. 

"Yeah I definitely want to be there, 100 per cent," the three-time Australian PGA champion and 2022 British Open winner said on Tuesday.

"I know the criteria, don't know if that can change.

"I've got these couple of events and four more looks again in the majors, so hopefully I can keep that ranking up.

"To wear the coat of arms on the chest again would be pretty special."

Cameron Smith is raring to contend for a third PGA Championship win at Royal Queensland.

Smith said he'd even alter his schedule to chase ranking points on the Asian Tour, where he claimed second at the Hong Kong open earlier this month.

Leishman, without exemptions to play the four majors, has dropped outside the world's top 400 since his move to LIV.

"(Tokyo was) one of the best weeks of my life ... (but) I don't think I'll be in it," he said of Paris.

"Hopefully they can do something so Cam can play ... hopefully if doesn't come off that world rankings.

"I think Cam's pretty clear-cut the best Australian men's golfer at the moment and deserves to play at the Olympics.

"He's got a massive following all around the world now ... feeling like a bit of a rock star but still a humble winner and gracious loser."

Both keen lawn enthusiasts who boast pristine yards at their American homes, Smith and Leishman enjoyed the chance to mow the Suncorp Stadium turf in a friendly competition won by Smith two days out from the Australian PGA first round.

Cameron Smith
Mowing enthusiast Cameron Smith gets to work at Suncorp Stadium.

Smith, Leishman, Scott, Davis, Lee and Herbert headline the local contingent this week while Poland's 2022 Australian Open champion Adrian Meronk has also returned to the course pegged as the Brisbane 2032 Olympic golf venue.


18 - Cameron Smith

21 - Jason Day

44 - Cameron Davis

45 - Min Woo Lee

47 - Adam Scott

69 - Lucas Herbert

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