March 17, 2022
By Ian Ransom
(Reuters) – Australian Cameron Smith will head to the Masters fresh and confident as he hunts a major maiden win after claiming the biggest victory of his career at the Players Championship this week.
Content his game is in exactly the right place, Smith will rest at his Florida base and enjoy quality time with visiting Australian relatives before heading to Augusta for the April 7-10 tournament.
He said his one-stroke win at TPC Sawgrass on Monday had given him a lot of confidence for his assault on Augusta.
“Obviously, to prove myself against 144 of the best guys in the world and come out on top was pretty cool,” he told reporters on a call on Thursday.
“It’s basically our fifth major, everyone treats it like that.
“So there’s no reason why I can’t go on and win one of those big ones.”
Smith, who also won the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii in January, has reason to hope for a breakthrough at Augusta.
He has had three top-10 finishes there, including joint-runnerup in 2020, when he became the first ever player to shoot all four rounds in the sixties.
Smith said he felt Augusta National suited his game.
“I think it just allows me to be creative. It almost brings out my inner kid,” he said.
“I feel like I can hit some shots around there that you typically don’t hit week in, week out and it demands those shots.
“So yeah, it’s just a place that I just feel really relaxed on … and I feel I play my best golf when I’m being really creative.”
With Australia having lifted COVID-19 travel restrictions in late-2021, Smith said he looked forward to returning home to see family and planned to play in the summer, a boost for the nation’s small local tour.
He said he also hankered for an Australian meat pie, the country’s ubiquitous takeaway snack generally eaten with plenty of tomato sauce.
“I’m going to really look forward to that first meat pie,” he said.
“That’s something that they haven’t quite figured out how to do over here yet. They do have them, but they just don’t taste like home.”
(Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Christopher Cushing)