Written by
Mark Lamport-Stokes, LIV Golf Correspondent
Jun 06 2024
- 4 MIN
Ripper Houston

HUMBLE, Texas - Ripper GC is the hottest team in the league heading into the heat of Texas for this week's LIV Golf Houston where the all-Australian combination will be gunning for a rare third victory in a row.

Captain Cameron Smith and company are oozing confidence ahead of Friday's opening round at the Golf Club of Houston, following their back-to-back successes at LIV Golf Adelaide and LIV Golf Singapore.

Although the 4Aces won four consecutive titles during the truncated 2022 beta season, no LIV Golf team since then has claimed more than two in a row and the Rippers are certainly fancying their chances of a three-peat in Houston.

"We feel pretty good," said Marc Leishman, who shared second place with his team mate Smith in Singapore. "Obviously the month off (between events) halted our momentum a little bit but we have all played a decent amount of golf over the break and we are definitely excited to try and go for three wins in a row."

As the Rippers seek to become the first LIV Golf team to post three consecutive victories in a full-season League schedule, Smith was also in upbeat mood about their prospects.

"It'll be another hot one here in Houston, but we all love the heat," the 30-year-old Queenslander said with a broad grin. "We've all played this golf course before and we're looking forward to keeping the momentum rolling.

"I think internally that we're the best team out here, and we're going to be tough to beat when we all have our best stuff. I think we're going to be tough to beat for the rest of the season."

After making a somewhat mediocre start to this year by their customary high standards, the Rippers have certainly found their stride and they currently sit third in the season-long team standings. They lead the putting charts and rank third in both scrambling and birdies.

While captain Smith has led by example in recent tournaments, he has received major contributions from Leishman and Lucas Herbert, and Matt Jones played a crucial role in the team's emotional victory in front of a raucous home crowd in Adelaide.

"All the boys have played really well," said Smith. "We just keep pushing each other. Herby has been a great addition. He's got that young blood in him, and he wants everyone to do well. He keeps pushing the old boys."

Three-time DP World Tour winner Herbert filled the roster spot left open at the start of this season after the relegation of Jediah Morgan.

The only thing missing from the Rippers resume this season is an individual victory, although Smith has come close and has tied for second twice in his last four LIV Golf starts.

Asked if it was just a question of time before Ripper GC landed its first solo win of the year, Leishman smiled: "I hope so! But there are a lot of great players out here in LIV Golf and it's tough to win."

Another area where the Rippers shine is with regard to their team chemistry, both on and off the course.

"It's a really good mix of golfers," said Smith. "We've got a really good mix of personalities, and we just gel so well."

Leishman added: "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. 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."

Winning momentum and strong team chemistry: the Rippers are certainly in very good shape for this week in Houston.