Cameron Smith walked onto the tee at the par-3 sixth at Southern Hills Country Club on Tuesday when a fan in the gallery called out his frustration with the beer prices at this week’s PGA Championship.
“Hey Cam, can I borrow 20 bucks for a beer?” The fan said, drawing a laugh from Smith and the crowd during his practice round.
There has been controversy over the beer prices at Southern Hills in Oklahoma, given it costs $US18 ($A25) for a 750mL can of Michelob Ultra and $US19 ($A27) for the same sized can of Stella Artois. A glass of wine is $US13 ($A18.5) , and cocktails will set you back $US19.
Even though 750mL is technically two 375mL cans, that’s still $A12.50 a beer. It’s a little higher than your average $A8 or $A9 a beer at the footy.
The expensive beer may have the benefit of preventing excessive alcohol consumption among the fans, which could be dangerous when combined with temperatures above 30C and humidity above 60 per cent forecast for the opening two rounds.
The beer prices at the PGA at Southern Hills – the Tulsa course which hosted the 2007 PGA won by Tiger Woods – have caused frustration among Oklahoma fans. Smith was again asked about it later on Tuesday after his practice round, but this time in his press conference.
“I mean, it’s expensive,” world No.4 Smith laughed. “I probably wouldn’t pay 20 bucks for a beer, personally.”
Meanwhile, Smith, one of eight Australians in the field, was drawn to play alongside Norwegian star Viktor Hovland and American Will Zalatoris for the first two days.
Smith welcomed the pairing, especially given Hovland’s caddie, Shay Knight, is an Australian veteran caddie from Sydney.
“(Hovland and Zalatoris) are two really good guys,” Smith said. “I don’t think I’ve played with (Zalatoris) before but I’ve seen him around a little bit and spoken to him a few times. I know ‘Hovi’ quite well and we always have a laugh. Shay, his caddie, is an Aussie. It’s always good having a couple more Aussies in the group.”
Smith will tee off at 8am on Thursday (11pm AEST) in the group in front of Woods, who gets underway at 8.11 am with superstars Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy. The crowds will be enormous and fans often hang around the group in front of Woods to secure a good position for when the 15-time Major winner Woods comes through minutes later.
“I think there can be a lot of external noise with crowds and just a lot more moving parts I guess,” Smith said. “So yeah, it’s just another thing to prepare for. I wouldn’t say I’ll change anything. I’ll just probably make sure I spend a little bit more time (practising on my focus the next couple of days) to make sure when you’re inside, inside that shot, everything’s perfect.”
AUSTRALIAN TEE TIMES RD 1:
Cam Davis, Matt Kuchar, Rikuya Hoshino: 7.55am Thursday/10.55pm AEST
Cam Smith, Viktor Hovland, Will Zalatoris: 8am Thursday/11pm AEST
Matt Jones, Richard Bland, Garrick Higgo: 8.28am Thursday/11.28pm AEST
Min Woo Lee, Ryan Brehm, Wyatt Worthington II: 12.30pm Thursday/Friday 3.30am AEST
Adam Scott, Shane Lowry, Brooks Koepka: 1.03pm Thursday/Friday 4.03am AEST
Marc Leishman, Martin Kaymer, Keegan Bradley: 1.20pm Thursday/Friday 4.20am AEST
Jason Day, Rickie Fowler, Harold Varner III: 1.25pm Thursday/Friday 4.25am AEST
Lucas Herbert, Chad Ramey, Austin Hurt: 2.15pm Thursday/Friday 5.15am Friday AEST