It’s always risky taking a peek at Greg Norman’s social media feed — you never know quite what you’re going to find.
But there was nothing risque about the Aussie golf legend’s posts on Monday morning congratulating compatriot Cameron Smith on winning The Open after a stunning final-round surge.
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Smith went on a birdie rampage, shooting an eight-under 64 across the final 18 holes to win his maiden major title by one stroke ahead of American Cameron Young.
The Queenslander is the first Australian in almost three decades to win the British Open since Norman claimed a second Claret Jug at Royal St George’s in 1993. The Shark’s first Open win came in 1986.
Smith is the third Australian to win the Open at St Andrews after Peter Thomson in 1955 and Kel Nagle in 1960. He is the fifth Aussie overall to win the tournament, along with Norman and Ian Baker-Finch.
Norman had some kind words for Smith after his remarkable victory, taking to Instagram and Twitter to pay his respects.
The two-time Open champion couldn’t help but include a sly reference to his own achievements, saying Smith was in “good company” before adding an attempted smiley-face emoji.
Norman was optimistic Smith would finish atop the leaderboard at St Andrews, telling News Corp before the tournament the 28-year-old had the game to make an impact on the famous fairways.
“Maybe this is it. A golf course like St Andrews would be great for Cam Smith,” Norman said.
“I think St Andrews would be a good golf course for him because he hits a lot of run out of his driver.”
Smith’s dad Des was thrilled for his son, telling 2GB’s Ben Fordham: “I knew he’d get the (final putt) in. The one before was brilliant, I must say.
“I think he started playing as soon as he could walk, because I was a crazy golfer. He beat me when he was 12.”
Des was planning to make the trip to watch Smith at St Andrews, but eventually decided it was too much travel for just one week away.
“I’m going to cop that for a while, I think. I’ve done the long trips before, they’re killers. I’m regretting it now,” he said.
“I knew he could win. I think he could win nearly every event.”
Meanwhile, Norman’s social posts weren’t the only link between him and Smith on Monday. The newly-crowned Open champion shut down a reporter when asked in his press conference if he was planning to join the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series, which is being spearheaded by Norman.
“I just won the British Open and you’re asking about that? I think that’s, pretty, not that good,” Smith said.
Pressed further on his plans, Smith added: “I don’t know, mate. My team around me worries about all that stuff. I’m here to win golf tournaments.”
As was noted by many on social media, despite Smith’s stern response, it certainly wasn’t a denial, sparking rumours the Aussie could defect and sign with LIV.
Big name players like Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka have been slammed for abandoning the PGA and siding with LIV, with many suggesting stars’ motivation for defecting is purely money-related.
There are concerns about the series being used as a form of sportswashing from Saudi Arabia to improve its image on the world stage, given its shocking human rights record.
The shadow of the rebel LIV league hung over St Andrews early in the week with Norman uninvited to the champions’ dinner because of his central role with the Saudi-backed project.