Players Champion Cameron Smith Withdraws From The WGC Match Play

The Australian plans to spend some time with his family following his enthralling Players Championship win

Cameron Smith at the 18th green following his final round of the 2022 Players Championship
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Following his gruelling victory in the Players Championship, Australian Cameron Smith has withdrawn from the WGC Match Play beginning on 23 March in Austin, Texas.

The 28-year-old hit 10 birdies in his final round at TPC Sawgrass to win golf’s unofficial fifth Major by one shot over runner-up Anirban Lahiri, as well as the not insignificant matter of a record $3.6m in prize money. The victory continued a fantastic 2022 for Smith, who also set a new PGA Tour record finishing 34-under par to win the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii in January.

However, abysmal weather conditions plagued last week's tournament, causing a series of delays throughout. That stop-start nature meant the event didn’t finish until Monday evening. Smith explained that the extra time needed to complete the competition is one of the factors in his decision to withdraw from next week’s tournament. He said: “Regretfully, I have decided to withdraw from next week’s Dell Match Play. We had a long extended week at The Players and I just needed a little break.”

Smith also explained that spending time with his family is another significant factor in his decision, with his mother and sister currently with him before heading back to Australia. He said: “I’m enjoying my last week with my mum and sister prior to them departing home for Australia. Been 2+ years since the last time we’ve been together. Came down to more time practicing ‘or’ an extra couple days with my family. Easy choice.”

Considering the length of time Smith and his family have spent apart, they could hardly have picked a better time to be together. Smith’s Players Championship win was his fifth career PGA Tour victory but by far the most high-profile. Meanwhile, as well as winning one of golf’s most prestigious events and banking record prize money, the victory also boosted him four places in the world rankings to sixth – a career high.

The WGC Match Play is another high-profile event that is sure to have most of the world’s best players taking part thanks to the format, which guarantees entry for the top 64 players according to the Official World Golf Ranking. There is also another sizeable purse of $12m to play for. However, having just won a life-changing sum, it’s perhaps not surprising that Smith has chosen to sit the tournament out this year. It appears his withdrawal from this year's tournament will be a one-off, though. He concluded his statement by saying: “Looking forward to returning to Austin in 2023.”

Mike Hall
Mike Hall

Mike has 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on sports such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the sport’s most newsworthy stories. Originally from East Yorkshire, Mike now resides in Canada, where the nearest course is less than a mile from his home. It’s there where he remains confident that, one of these days, he’ll play the 17th without finding the water. Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.