10 Apr 2024 | Professional golf |

The Masters: Aussies in the wars

by Martin Blake

Min Woo Lee, Adam Scott image
Min Woo Lee and Adam Scott get to work at Augusta on Tuesday. Image: Getty

Min Woo Lee has revealed that he is recovering from a badly-timed broken finger as he prepares to play the Masters this week, but Cam Smith is fit and ready to go after a weekend in bed with food poisoning.

Some of the Australian group of six have had more medical episodes than would be considered ideal ahead of the first men’s major of 2024, but a bunch of them practised together at Augusta National on Tuesday and they pronounced themselves ready to go on Thursday.

Lee is still croaky after a bout of flu and could not practise on Monday, and Smith almost fell into the tributary of Rae’s Creek that runs along the 13th hole on Tuesday, not hurting himself but causing a tad of embarrassment as he tumbled down on slippery rocks.

Lee’s injury – a broken ring finger on the right hand – was the shock of the day and the Perth star admitted that he had been suffering “a lot of anxiety” about the injury.

He did it by dropping a dumb bell on his hand in weight training 10 days ago. “I was just doing like a side bridge glute thing and it was literally my last rep, last set thing, and I like threw the dumb bell down and somehow clipped my right ring finger.

“Yeah, so I went to the doctor. Went to the doctor and I thought it was okay because I could move it. It was just red. I thought it would be fine. Then they came in and said, you've broken it.”

But the 25-year-old, who still has the hand bandaged, was surprised how quickly he had recovered.

“You know, I hit my first shot for the last week on Friday, so hit my first full driver,” he said. “Honestly, it's actually amazing how fast the recovery was. It was bruised, still swollen, but not actually that painful which is really strange.

“Somehow recovering very good, so icing and elevating as much as I can. Yeah, I guess it wasn't the best prep, and I go the flu two days ago.” Lee has been back in the gym in recent days, but nowhere near the offending equipment. “Every time I looked at that 20 pound dumb bell, yeah, gave it a death stare.”

As for Smith, who withdrew after a round of the LIV Golf tournament in Miami last weekend, he is back on his feet at least.

“Yeah, a bit of food poisoning at the start of last week and probably just tried to do a little bit too much and body just kind of shut down on me,” he said. “Spent the weekend in the bed, which wasn't the greatest preparation, but I was just saying that today is probably the first day where I feel like I've got a little bit of energy. I'm sure I'll be pretty cooked tonight. At least I could get around and feel okay.”

The incident at Amen Corner was not ideal either for the 2022 Open champion, who has a good record in the Masters.

“I didn't try to jump, I just tried to get on a couple of rocks, and I had metals in my right shoe and I slipped,” he said. “A bit of comedy for the crowd there.

“The only thing I was thinking as I was going down was not to get wet, so I managed to actually do all right. I think my glove was -- I had to throw my glove out and my shoes were a bit wet, but that's about it.”

Lee said Augusta remained “my favourite place in the world”, and he had the benefit of pracising with some old hands on Tuesday – Adam Scott, Smith and Jason Day joined him. “These three guys are one of the best guys out here, so, it's always nice to play with guys that are open to giving me information and if I ask, they would help me,” he said.

“Yeah, obviously they're great golfers so just looking on the them and watching them play, it's amazing.”

Day is set to play his first two rounds at Augusta National alongside five-time winner Tiger Woods this week. Amateur Jasper Stubbs is drawn to play with past winner Zach Johnson and Canadian Corey Conners.


(Local times followed by AEST) 9am/11pm Thursday Jasper Stubbs (with Zach Johnson, Corey Conners) 10.06am/12.06 am Friday Min Woo Lee (with Rickie Fowler, Patrick Cantlay) 10.54am/12.54am Friday Cameron Smith (with Wyndham Clark, Viktor Hovland) 11.18am/1.18am Friday Cam Davis (with Camilo Villegas, Denny McCarthy) 1.12pm/3.12am Friday Adam Scott (with Sam Burns, Cameron Young) 1.24pm/3.24am Friday Jason Day (with Tiger Woods, Max Homa)

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