Smyth and fellow Irishman Padraig Harrington won on the same weekend last season, Harrington taking a victory at the regular tours Honda Classic. And naturally, it had to happen just a week before St. Patricks Day.
This season has been a somewhat up-and-down campaign for Smyth. At Turtle Bay and at Naples, he had one bad round each tournament to effectively scuttle any win chances. But at the Outback in the tours most recent outing, Smyth put together three solid rounds to finish in a tie for fifth place.
If youre going to finish in the top 10, youre got to put three good rounds together, he said. And certainly if youre going to win, youve got to put three low rounds together.
Smyth won twice last year in his third Champions Tour season, finishing 10th on the money list. This, in spite of commuting to America from his home in the small town of Drogheda, Ireland.
This tour isnt for everybody, Smyth cautioned his would-be rivals from Ireland, because you have to have a lot of confidence in yourself to come over here and get through that school, because its a tough school. I think only the best players are getting through it. Probably they are a little bit afraid of that, you know.
Smyth plays much of the time at home on a links course ' County Louth. However, he said the events in Europe are seldom played on links anymore. Consequently, there isnt a big change when he comes to the U.S. for a tournament.
Golf doesnt change that much, he said. Maybe years ago it might have been an adjustment. But there are so many of your star players of the past building golf courses in Ireland and in Europe.
We play those courses all the time. Where theyre holding the Ryder Cup (Kildare Golf and Country Club), its an Arnold Palmer course. Jack (Nicklaus) has built a course in Ireland - Mount Juliet. They are very similar to the courses you build out here. We get to play them all.
Of course, he says, Britain still has plenty of links courses, though there are very few that are big enough to hold a European Tour event.
We still have links courses. You build courses that look like links here, but they dont play like links courses.