Smith's Masters dream after close call

Australian hopeful Cameron Smith says he'd gladly swap his rare Masters record for a green jacket at Augusta National this weekend.

CAMERON SMITH.
CAMERON SMITH. Picture: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Cameron Smith is far from satisfied.

The Australian golf star's mother had screeched her excited approval to her son over a FaceTime call soon after his runner-up finish to Dustin Johnson at the 2020 Masters, but Smith looked right at her and said, "Mum, I didn't win."

It wasn't that Smith wasn't proud of his best major finish, or of being the first player in the 84 editions of the storied championship to shoot four rounds in the 60s.

It was just a window into the psyche of the 27-year-old - winning is what matters.

For more than a decade Australian golf has been headlined by Smith's fellow Queenslanders Adam Scott and Jason Day.

Both won major championships and reached world No.1.

But as the Masters approaches this week it is Smith that occupies Australia's highest perch in the world rankings at 30th.

He is vying to be just the second Australian behind Scott to win the Masters.

"I'd rather have a green jacket and a 70," Smith told AAP when recounting his previous Masters efforts.

"Look, it was pretty cool to post that. But at the end of the day I was here to win and that's why I am here again this year. I'm excited for the opportunity.

"I can't wait. This place brings out the best in me and my game. I have as much excitement as confidence. I want to win here; I think I can win here and it's a course that suits me."

There are detractors out there who point to the COVID-19 pandemic enforced November's soft conditions as a reason Smith was able to play so well. A return to the traditional April time in 2021 is set to bring firm and fast conditions.

Smith's short game was immense in November, but he believes the tougher it is the more it plays into his hands.

"Firm and fast is even more my style. It's the Australian way of golf, really," he said.

"I hope it stays like this. I'm sure there are a few spots I hit it in November that I can't hit it to this year but I love being creative around the greens.

"I love being able to use stuff to get the ball close be it slopes or wind. This place asks questions of your game and you just need to bring the right answers."

Smith has a supporter in Scott, who had an eagle eye on his mate during a practice round at Augusta on Monday.

"We saw the potential that he has here just five months ago. More than anything, including the experience and his maturity, he's got that killer instinct in him when he's in the hunt," Scott enthused.

"Although he was always trailing DJ, he never backed down. He didn't give DJ much breathing space.

"DJ still had to play a great round of golf Sunday. Cam is right up for the fight. It would be no surprise if he's contending again.

"And if it's not this year, it'll be another major this year or next year he could come up and win for sure."

If he does, then he'll happily accept his mum's plaudits.