Smith and Leishman have point to prove at Zurich Classic of New Orleans

Cameron Smith and Marc Leishman are back together as team mates for this week’s Zurich Classic but they were in disbelief when they weren’t paired up for the 2019 Presidents Cup.

NAPLES, FLORIDA – DECEMBER 13: Marc Leishman of Australia and Cameron Smith of Australia look on from the first tee during the final round of the QBE Shootout at Tiburon Golf Club on December 13, 2020 in Naples, Florida. (Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)

By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM

Cameron Smith was annoyed. Marc Leishman was in disbelief.

The duo had just been told that International Captain Ernie Els did not see them as a likely pair for the 2019 Presidents Cup in their native Australia.

“Is he serious?,” they thought. A year earlier, they’d finished runner-up in the World Cup of Golf at Metropolitan Golf Club just down the road. They are great mates. Their caddies are also super tight. It appeared to be the most natural pairing on the team. It’s got to be a joke right?

No joke. Els leaned heavily on data during his captaincy, and the numbers did not point to Leishman-Smith pairing. The Australians quickly shook off their initial frustration and bought into Els’ analytical ethos. They played their role, and the proof was in the pudding for Els. His side won three of four team sessions and took a 10-8 lead to Singles before being overrun on Sunday.

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