Mar 15, 2022 - Sports

Players Championship: Cameron Smith beats the elements — and the field

Cameron Smith hold the Players Championship trophy

Photo: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Cameron Smith won the Players Championship on Monday, outplaying the best field of the year over the course of five days of thunderstorms, frigid temperatures and impossible winds.

Why it matters: This year's $20 million purse is easily the biggest in golf history — and nearly double any of the four majors. The entire top 36 made at least six figures, and Smith earned a whopping $3.6 million.

  1. 🇦🇺 Smith (-13): $3.6M
  2. 🇮🇳 Anirban Lahiri (-12): $2.2M
  3. 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Paul Casey (-11): $1.4M
  4. 🇺🇸 Kevin Kisner (-10): $980k
  5. 🇺🇸 Keegan Bradley (-9): $820k

The big picture: Waiting for Smith near the 18th green were his mother, Sharon, and sister, Melanie, whom he hadn't seen in more than two years due to Australia's travel restrictions. His best friend came, too.

  • "It's really cool to have them here,'' said Smith, choking back tears. "My main priority really was just to hang out with them and golf was second for these few weeks."
  • Smith, who posted the lowest score in PGA history (-34) in January, lives just five minutes from TPC Sawgrass in his adopted home of Ponte Vedra Beach. Now, the Australian flag will fly there in his honor.

By the numbers: Smith's 10 birdies on Monday were the most ever in a round at the Players. He one-putted eight of his last nine holes.

🎥 Highlight: With a two-stroke lead on the par-3 17th, Smith boldly landed his ball four feet from the pin on the island green. He later admitted it wasn't intentional: "I'd be lying if I didn't push it a little bit."

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