A funny thing happened on the way to Oman.
Granted entry into the European Tour’s Oman Open this week by virtue of his tie for third at the co-sanctioned ISPS HANDA Vic Open, Travis Smyth travelled to the Arabian Peninsula by way of Los Angeles where he rubbed shoulders with Hollywood royalty.
In America to spend time with his girlfriend – “It was my turn to go make the trip over and see her” – Smyth was invited by California-based golf professional Jon Levitt to play a skins game at Brookside Golf Club in Pasadena.
They were joined by Hollywood A-lister Adam Baldwin, whose back catalogue of work including films such as Full Metal Jacket, Predator 2, Independence Day and The Patriot only became apparent to Smyth after they had finished their round.
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Awesome week playing golf (but mostly watching Trav) at Shady Canyon GC, Hillcrest CC and my lifelong home course Brookside GC with Travis Smyth. This young Aussie's future is so bright! Pic one is with me, Trav and actor Adam Baldwin at Brookside on a picturesque day of which Trav and I both shot 70 from the back tees. Don't think I'm not reposting that scorecard after he wins on the PGA Tour!!! #golf #golfswing #golfinstruction #progolfer
“My girlfriend is from Chicago but it’s too cold to play golf there right now so we thought LA was a good fit,” Smyth said of his American stopover.
“I’ve got some friends there and played some golf.
“Jon Levitt had a skins game going and invited me along but I didn’t know Adam Baldwin before playing with him.
“I played with him and didn’t even realise he was a famous actor. He told me he was an actor but I didn’t really ask him how famous he was.
“It wasn’t until I saw his Twitter account and how many followers he has did I think, Geez, he must be a big deal.
“I looked up some of the movies he was in and didn’t realise he was quite a name in Hollywood.
“It was a good day. He’s a very down-to-earth guy and just fit in with the local guys we were with.”
Given Smyth’s rising star in the professional ranks, mixing with Hollywood heavy hitters seems somewhat apt for the 25-year-old’s current trajectory.
Currently 10th on the Asian Tour Order of Merit after finishing top-15 at both the Hong Kong Open and SMBC Singapore Open, Smyth admitted that it was a difficult choice to pick Oman this week over Queenstown and the co-sanctioned New Zealand Open.
“It was a difficult decision because not only is New Zealand Open an Aussie Tour event but Asian Tour as well and it would be great to make another jump on the moneylist,” said Smyth, who has been top-15 in each of his two NZ Open starts.
“But I just couldn’t turn down a European Tour start.
“I’ve paid my affiliate membership and I’m only going to get five starts to try and get my card so any extra starts I can get I’m definitely going to take.
“I’ll be asking for invites and hopefully I can get a couple more to hopefully secure a 2021 European Tour card.
“It does suck to not play New Zealand Open because I’ve done OK there before and feel that I can win there. It’s an amazing place and I’ve got some friends there and would have had a great week – it’s probably my favourite week of the year.
“But I had to come to Oman; I couldn’t turn it down and I’m pumped to be here.”
Paired with fellow Australian Jake McLeod for the opening two rounds at Al Mouj Golf in Muscat, Smyth is currently 58th in the Race to Dubai rankings courtesy of his top-15 finish at the Australian PGA Championship and third-place finish at the Vic Open.
Affiliate membership provides limited playing opportunities on the main tour, continued good play the key to solidifying status.
“I want to be top 10 here this week and get in the next event in Qatar,” Smyth explained.
“Hopefully play well and go on to Qatar next week and if not go back to Asia and play a run of events leading up to the Indian Open.
“Every part of my game feels good right now so if I can manage the conditions I’ll be fine.
“The golf course goes out and back along the coastline and you’ve got to control your ball really well. Every hole is off the left either down or into and then coming back it’s off the right down or into, depending on what the wind’s doing that day.
“It’s cross-breeze the entire time so if I can manage the left-to-right holes well I feel like I can do really well. That’s a shot I have struggled with in the past but hopefully I have some good numbers out there and can swing smoothly.
“If I can manage the left-to-right wind I should do really well.
“The greens are amazing. If the wind doesn’t get up people will be holing putts for sure.”