02 Apr 2024 | Professional golf |

The Masters: Cam Smith looks to join a special selection

by Paul Munnings

Cam Smith

Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo, Sam Snead and Zach Johnson.

That’s the elite list of golfers, including the biggest names in the history of the men’s professional game, that Australia’s Cam Smith will be looking to join by winning the 2024 Masters next week.

That special group of six are the only men in history to win an Open Championship on the Old Course at St Andrews and The Masters at Augusta National.

Smith completed half the task two years ago, seeing off Rory McIlroy on the final day at The Home of Golf, and will be back at Augusta next week for his second shot at becoming the first Australian to win at both fabled venues.

Watch The Masters live on Fox Sports, available on Foxtel and Kayo.

Last year, he tied for 34th – an unusual outlier on a record that features four top-10s, including a tie for second behind Dustin Johnson in 2020 when he became the first player to shoot in the 60s in all four rounds.

Smith comes into Masters month after a three-week break from tournament golf following his runner-up finish in the LIV Golf event in Hong Kong where he was beaten in a playoff by Abraham Ancer.

Since then he’s been working hard at his US base, especially on shaping shots to suit what he expects to encounter at Augusta.

“It’d be unreal. The Open at St Andrews is pretty special. To double it up with a green jacket would be unbelievable,” he said of joining the St Andrews-Augusta club.

“I desperately want to get it and it would be awesome if I did.”

An avid TV watcher of The Masters at home in Brisbane’s northern suburbs since he was “five or six-years-old”, Smith says his mind turns to the year’s first major as soon as the Christmas-New Year break ends.

"You're straight into it and you're definitely thinking about Augusta,” he said.

"I don't think there's really anything specific. It's kind of in the back of your mind.

"Obviously there's tournaments in between the New Year and Augusta that you're trying to prepare for as well.

"But the last three weeks I've been trying to get out on the course a little bit more and really focus on some kind of shot, shaping and controlling flight, which I think is pretty crucial for playing good around there."

Smith will be one six confirmed Australians in The Masters field, joining former champion Adam Scott, Jason Day, Min Woo Lee, Cam Davis and first-time participant Jasper Stubbs.

Smith and Stubbs, who qualified for his first trip to Augusta National as the winner of last year’s Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, are near-neighbours at the moment – both in Florida preparing for the first major championship of the year, starting on Thursday week.

Smith is heading to a LIV Golf event in Miami, starting on Friday, while Stubbs is staying at Australian Golf House in Orlando before making the short trip to Georgia this weekend.

The former Open champion, who will be playing at the Masters for the eighth time, today described the Masters as “probably the best week of the year for everything”.

“(My advice to Jasper is) Just to enjoy it. I’m sure a lot of the boys will be keen to catch up with him and play 18 holes with him some day early in the week,” Smith said of his country’s newest Masters debutant.

“It’s such a cool tournament. He’ll love it.

“For a golfer, it’s pretty perfect. The golf course itself is unbelievable, the condition is unbelievable and also just the stuff around there for all the patrons.

“All the different things make everyone’s experience pretty special.”

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