While Aussie golfing legend Cameron Smith is busy teeing off at the Australian PGA Championship in Brisbane, another sporting champion can’t wait to get his hands on the player’s most prized possession – the Claret Jug.
Former NRL superstar Johnathan Thurston was pictured in the same room with the iconic trophy Smith won at The Open in Scotland earlier this year.
Thurston picked up the phone to call Smith and ask if it was OK to drink beer from the Claret Jug, which he had already filled with amber liquid.
‘He was like, yeah, all right,’ said Thurston followed by his trademark laugh.
‘Oh you are a legend. I just want to make sure it’s okay. Thank you brother, seeya.’
Thurston then hung up the phone, raised the famous Claret Jug to his lips and took a long drink.
Australia’s Smith plays his tee shot on the 5th hole on Day 2 of the 2022 Australian PGA Championship at the Royal Queensland Golf Club
‘How does it taste?’ he asked.
‘Tasted outstanding [laughs]. Tasted like a winner [laughs]. Something Cameron and I have in common,’ replied Thurston.
Most fans of both sports loved the video, outside of a few purists who didn’t believe Thurston earned the right to jump from the iconic trophy.
‘With the beer in it, I don’t think JT would say no,’ said one fan.
Thurston delivers his trademark laugh after drinking a beer from the Claret Jug won by Cameron Smith at The Open in Scotland
‘His laugh will be forever iconic,’ another posted.
‘That’s why he’s the goat,’ added another.
Meanwhile, Smith has caught the eye on his return to Australia and, in an ominous warning to rivals, says he has rediscovered his touch off the tee.
The world No.3 and Open Championship winner is one behind leader Jason Scrivener entering the Australian PGA Championship third round on Saturday in Brisbane.
Seven others, including Japan’s Masahiro Kawamura who will join Smith and Scrivener in Saturday’s final group, are tucked within two shots back.
Two bogeys on Friday at the treacherous Royal Queensland Golf Club left Smith in the hunt in the West Australian, looking for his first victory since 2017.
‘I only had a couple of bogeys, both on par threes, which isn’t really a good sign most of the time,’ he said.
Australia’s Smith plays a shot on the 16th hole on Day 2 of the 2022 Australian PGA Championship at Royal Queensland Golf Club
‘But I felt like I hit my driver the best I’ve hit it in a long time, so it felt good to do that.
‘It gives me a bit of confidence going into the weekend.’
In 2018, he defeated a PGA field that included Masters champions Adam Scott and Sergio Garcia at the Gold Coast’s Royal Pines, then defended his title a year later in a Sunday shootout with Marc Leishman.
Smith reacts after missing a putt on the 17th hole on Day 2 of the 2022 Australian PGA Championship at Royal Queensland Golf Club
Smith, returning after a three-year absence, has four wins this year and has rewarded the thousands lining the fairways so far to position himself for another.
‘Obviously a lot has changed in three years, that’s not really the case,’ Smith said of his hero’s reception.
‘There were like three or four of them on either side of the fairway all day.
‘My old man was actually whispering to me yesterday saying he couldn’t watch me play golf (because he doesn’t see it in public).’
The Claret Jug holder sees his first Joe Kirkwood Cup lift of 2018 as a boost for him this weekend.
‘The first one on the (Gold) Coast really helped a lot for my confidence, knowing that I could do a bit more on Sunday,’ he said.
‘It was something I had never really done before, so that was kind of good to do and went on to have a really good 2018 and just played some really solid golf.
‘It’s a huge, huge confidence booster for everyone.’