Have you ever lost $1,000 on a single errant drive? That's what happened to Cameron Smith last week at the FedEx St. Jude Championship. The reason? Well, it's better than it initially sounds and resulted in yet another feel-good story for the No. 2 player in the world.
Smith accidentally smashed a fan's thumb and phone with a bad drive during the third round at TPC Southwind in Memphis -- an event he was in contention to win. After giving the fan an autograph and his number, Smith followed up the week after to purchase and mail the fan a brand new iPhone, which can run near $1,000.
That act of kindness struck me because it was so personal. I wouldn't be shocked if any number of players did something like this through an agent or management team, but for Smith to personally text the guy, order him a phone and make sure it got to him was somewhat stunning. The fan was equally stunned by the gesture from somebody who has become one of the genuine stars of the sport this year.
@MattVincenziPGA @TapItIn3 A quick Cam story from Saturday, he smoked my thumb and phone with his drive on 7. Walked over shook my hand, signed his glove for me, wrote down my cell # in his yardage book and ordered me a new phone. Unreal moment. pic.twitter.com/y0pHLFan9k— Blake Krassenstein (@titanjBj21) August 16, 2022
It's not as if Smith didn't have a ton of other things going on, either. This incident took place just before Smith unknowingly took an illegal drop toward the end of his third around and was subsequently penalized two strokes the following day. The penalty knocked him off the top of the leaderboard and mostly out of contention over the final 18 holes of the first playoff event.
, according to his management team. On Monday, after finishing T13 in Memphis, he withdrew from the BMW Championship with hip pain. Smith sits at No. 3 in the FedEx Cup rankings and will still likely start in a great position at next week's Tour Championship, where players start the week several shots under par, commensurate with their current FedEx Cup ranking. However, he's sitting out the penultimate event, where he could have improved his standing in the FedEx Cup and moved up to either No. 2 or No. 1 in the rankings with another strong performance.
On top of all of this is the rumor that Smithafter the FedEx Cup Playoffs for a nine-figure sum. The rumor popped up at The Open last month, which Smith won over Cameron Young and Rory McIlroy. Smith recently evaded the question altogether just before the event in Memphis, his first appearance since winning the Claret Jug.
"My goal here is to win the FedEx Cup Playoffs," said Smith. "That's all I'm here for. If there's something I need to say regarding the PGA Tour or LIV, it will come from Cameron Smith, not Cameron Percy. I'm a man of my word, and whenever you guys need to know anything, it'll be said by me."
The common retort to all of this has been that of course Smith should have bought the fan a phone because he can definitely afford it. That's factually true. Smith has made $10.1 million on the PGA Tour this season and stands to make a lot more if he does leave for LIV Golf. However, that sells Smith short. Just because one can afford an act of kindness doesn't always mean one follows through on it. Whether Smith leaves for LIV Golf after the Tour Championship or stays with the PGA Tour into the future, it's a moment between an elite player and a fan who was clearly encouraged by an act that should be celebrated.