Written by
Mike McAllister
May 06 2024
- 4 MIN
Ripper Singapore follow story image

SINGAPORE – The Ripper boys always seem to be having a good time, no doubt a reflection of their fun-loving, good-natured, shared-brotherhood Australian heritage.

Now they’ve added winning to the mix.

Ripper GC became the fourth team in LIV Golf history to win consecutive team titles, backing up an emotional win in front of their home fans in Adelaide with Sunday’s victory at LIV Golf Singapore. That moves them into third place in the season-long team standings.

Earlier this year, Crushers GC won on back-to-back weeks in Jeddah and Hong Kong, and in 2023, Torque GC won two straight (and three out of four). In the inaugural 2022 LIV Golf season, 4Aces GC swept all four regular-season tournaments played consecutively in the U.S.

But none of those teams dealt with the same kind of victory hangover – both figuratively and literally – as the Rippers. Expectations were high from the 94,000 fans who watched the three rounds in Adelaide, and the foursome led by captain Cameron Smith desperately fought to deliver a win. The podium celebration following their tension-filled playoff win was a combination of unfettered exuberance and relief.

The team arrived in Singapore having “partied pretty hard for a couple of days,” admitted Marc Leishman, and facing the challenge of coming back down from the Adelaide high and getting refocused for a quick turnaround on the world-class Serapong course at Sentosa Golf Club.

The Rippers would’ve been forgiven for not being at their best in Singapore. That they not only were competitive, but ended up winning by three strokes, speaks volumes about their staying power with the second half of the 2024 season still remaining.

“I'm very proud of them,” Smith said of his team. “I knew that we had it in us, though, and it was just a matter of time. There was probably a few lazy boys over Christmas, to be honest, and it took us a little bit to get going, but this is how we expect to play, and this is how we want to keep playing.”

The Rippers did win once last season, in Bedminster, but were not competitive at the season-ending Team Championship, finishing ninth. With Jed Morgan’s relegation, Smith had a roster spot to fill, and he acquired 28-year-old Lucas Herbert, a top-75 player at the start of the year.

That move paid off in the final two rounds in Adelaide when Herbert shot a pair of 7-under 65s, the best weekend performance of any of the four Rippers. He followed that up with a pair of 4-under 67s in the opening two rounds in Singapore that put his team in a position to make a Sunday charge.

“Herby has been a great addition, obviously,” Smith said. “He's got that young blood in him, and he wants everyone to do well, and he keeps pushing the old boys.”

In the final round in Miami, the tournament prior to Adelaide, Herbert shot a 9-over 81 with two triple bogeys as the Rippers finished 10th. He didn’t have his best stuff in the final round in Singapore, but with his team in contention, he was determined to limit the damage and avoid those costly big scores, ultimately signing for a 3-over 74.

"I don't think that I played much poorer this year than I did today,” Herbert said afterwards. “3-over was a good score for me realistically, so to drag that out of today, there was a lot of self-satisfaction in that. It was made a little harder watching these guys have a ripper of a round in front of me. It was 6-, 7-under. I didn't have that in me today.”

Fortunately, Smith (64) and Leishman (66) did. For Smith, it was a nice turnaround from Adelaide in which he shot the team’s highest final-round score, a 2-under 70.

“It was nice to be on the other side of that helping the team out,” Smith said. “I felt like I was dragging a little bit last week, so it was really good. Game is starting to feel really nice. Just need to kind of match everything up like I did today for the rest of the season, and I'm sure myself and this team will be up there.”

As well as making an impact inside the ropes on Sunday, Smith continues to develop his leadership skills as captain. During Saturday’s lengthy 4 hour, 45 minute rain delay to the start of the second round, he sent his teammates an inspirational text message that simply said, “Go and enjoy it, boys.”

It was just the kind of succinct thought the others needed to hear. “I don’t think many other captains would have texted their team that,” said Matt Jones, who at age 44 is the team’s elder statesman.

“He trusts all of us to get all our [job] done as we need to,” Herbert said of Smith. “Once we get to the tournaments, it’s like we just go and have a lot of fun together. There’s not a lot of critiquing of each other, of what we’re doing.”

It’s an approach that certainly works for the Aussies. Just like with the team they beat in the playoff in Adelaide – the South African Stinger GC – the Rippers share a lot of laughs and seem to come up with a lot of bits to keep things light. Their latest is a contest during press conferences to say key words or phrases. The last one to incorporate the phrase suffers the consequences.

It makes for a lot of fun. Winning, of course, adds to the enjoyment.

“I can't speak for the other boys, but I'm genuinely excited every time I go to an airport now to come to a tournament,” Leishman said. “That's not a fib. I actually am. Obviously it's very serious golf and there's a lot on the line and you're playing for each other, but it almost feels a little bit like we're going on a boys' trip every time we go to a golf tournament, which I love.

“Obviously we've got to pull the reins in every now and again if we get a bit excited, but it's awesome to be traveling the world with these lads.”

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