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April 4, 2022

Cameron Smith

Augusta, Georgia, USA

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Masters. We are very pleased to welcome Cameron Smith to the interview room. Cameron, welcome back to the Masters.


THE MODERATOR: Your game seems to be firing on all cylinders, including a win in the PLAYERS Championship. You have contended in three of the past four Masters, including a runner-up in 2020.

What is it about Augusta National that seems to bring out the best in you?

CAMERON SMITH: I think it's just my creativity. I feel like I play my best golf when I'm creative. And, yeah, this course has so many, you know, slopes and stuff, you can work it off the greens firm and fast. And, yeah, just love being creative. Reminds me a lot of Sandbelt golf at home. Yeah, I just love it.

Q. How are you feeling now that the majors are right here with us?

CAMERON SMITH: Yeah, I feel pretty hungry, mate. Pretty good time of year to be playing good golf. You know, it's just nice to contend. Still been working hard the last couple of weeks at home, and, yeah, I really can't wait to get back out here this week.

I've had three weeks off after THE PLAYERS. Yeah, just ready to compete. I feel like my game hasn't done too much over the last few weeks. Just hitting a few balls here and there and focusing on the short game for around here.

Q. Are you more excited for this week, having won THE PLAYERS, knowing that you're a step closer to winning a major?

CAMERON SMITH: Yeah, I think so. I think my game is already there. THE PLAYERS was nice to tick that box, I guess. Yeah, but I feel as though I can compete against anyone in any given week.

Q. Did you play this morning?


Q. Your thoughts on the new 11th hole, what have you heard?

CAMERON SMITH: I'm playing after. I'm going to play nine holes with Leish, I think.

Q. Anything you're looking for out there with the golf course?

CAMERON SMITH: My caddie, Sam, went out early this morning. He walked around the golf course. He said there were a few changes. He said the 11th hole looked quite a lot different, so I'm looking forward to that. I think it was already a great hole. He said -- he said that it's better, so really looking forward to that.

Q. Only Tiger has won THE PLAYERS and the Masters in the same year. Wondering if you draw any inspiration from that and your thoughts on if Tiger decides to play this week?

CAMERON SMITH: Yeah, I think so. I heard that before. It would be a nice name -- to have your name up against his is pretty neat.

I'm really unsure if he's going to play or not. I really don't know, to be honest. I haven't spoken to him. I know he's walked around a few times the last couple weeks. Hopefully he does, and hopefully we can see him back out here playing golf again.

Q. Last time we talked, I asked you about what the celebration was going to be like after THE PLAYERS; you said you were looking forward to going to sleep. I hear it was otherwise. Can you tell us about that night?

CAMERON SMITH: No, we just went back home. Live about ten minutes away, so easy drive back home. Started the fire up and just had a few beers, and that was pretty much it. We got back actually pretty late. We had dinner at the club and probably got back about 10:30, and, yeah, it didn't take -- didn't take that long for me to get to sleep last night, that's for sure.

Q. How much have you played since THE PLAYERS?

CAMERON SMITH: I've played a few rounds here and there at Sawgrass. My dad came into town last week, so we had a hit, but mostly just practicing, mate. Really been focusing on the short stuff and putting.

Q. As strong a putter as you are, how do you feel about how you adapted to the greens at Augusta? Do they remind you of greens elsewhere? And what was the key to getting used to them so quickly when people talk about it takes years to get used to them?

CAMERON SMITH: Yeah, I think growing up in Australia, we are quite fortunate to play those Sandbelt courses quite often. Reminds me a lot of Melbourne. You hit a lot of putts from inside 15 feet where you're aiming four and five feet outside the hole.

It's kind of nice to have that in the back pocket, I guess, but for me it's always just been about keeping the tempo off the putter head. I feel at times these greens can get quite fast so you can get quite tentative. Just keeping the tempo up and making sure the ball is hitting the back of the hole and just hitting good putts.

Q. What did your caddie say about why he liked 11, because obviously there have been some changes.

CAMERON SMITH: It looks a bit wider off the tee, which is great for me. They did some work to the right-hand side of the green. The chip isn't quite as easy, he said. From what he said, he said there will be quite a lot more guys being more aggressive into that green, I think.

Q. Have you been in the right trees before the big grove that was not really there --

CAMERON SMITH: The last few years, so I was happy to hear that it changed.

Q. Congrats on your recent successes. How do you feel they now prepare you in terms of mindset for the huge opportunity that now comes your way this week?

CAMERON SMITH: Yeah, I think it's just -- you know, it's just reassuring. Playing good golf, sometimes you can go it seems like forever playing really good golf, and you don't even sniff a tournament. So it's good to get a couple of wins under the belt. I'm looking forward to still competing.

It's just confidence. I feel really confident in my game. I feel like I can play any shot under any circumstance, and yeah, I'm ready to go out there.

Q. If I could just ask more, picking up on the Tiger theme, can you speak to how he inspires a younger generation of players like yourself?

CAMERON SMITH: Yeah, I think he just inspired everyone to get out -- he made golf cool. He made me want to go out and hit different shots and be creative. And, yeah, I don't think a lot of the young guys...

Q. Him playing, what would that mean to the sport, do you feel?

CAMERON SMITH: Yeah, it would be massive. Obviously he's had a bit of an extended rest. I'm sure he's dying to get out here and start competing again. He's like the rest of us; he's a competitor and he wants to be out here and, you know, taking people down. So it would be good to see.

Q. What do you feel your biggest weapons are at Augusta, given the success you've already had here?

CAMERON SMITH: I think just some general knowledge I think I've gathered over the past few years. Adam and Leish is there a fair bit. And just -- just that creativity, like I'm not -- I'm not afraid to hit different shots around here. I think it can be quite -- it can be, you know, very hard to hit the shot that you want to hit around here because you know if it doesn't come off, you could be in some pretty -- pretty deep trouble. I'm not afraid to do that. I want to hit the right shot, and I want to get it close.

Q. It's been tough with COVID, not being able to see your family. How much of a boost is it to see your mom and sisters at THE PLAYERS and having your dad here this week?

CAMERON SMITH: It was unreal. It was just nice to see a familiar face again. I still haven't been able to get back to Australia yet. I'm really looking forward to that trip.

But to see Mum and Mel was unreal. We spent a lot of good quality time before and after the tournament. And, yeah, can't wait to get back to Australia and see the rest of the family.

Q. And what did Mum have to say about the hairstyle?

CAMERON SMITH: I think she's coming around to it, slightly.

Q. Much has been said, your success here has been well documented. How much do you still think about that runner-up finish in 2020, and how much does it charge you for this year?

CAMERON SMITH: The Masters is a tournament we all grow up wanting to win. Being so close was quite frustrating, but, you know, it drives you more and more every year to come back here and try and get the green jacket.

Q. Since you've been playing so well and putting so well, have any other tour players come by to ask you for some putting help?

CAMERON SMITH: No. No. Not particularly. I think we all kind of know, you know, we are all out here for a reason. It's because we are pretty good golfers. I think we all know what works and what doesn't for ourselves, so not -- definitely no one knocking on the shoulder.

Q. How about haircut advice?

CAMERON SMITH: No, none of that either. I don't know if anyone else wants to rock it, to be honest.

Q. Do you remember what it was like to putt on the greens at Augusta your very first time?

CAMERON SMITH: Yeah, quite scary. You know, that's what I was saying before with the tempo of the putter. I feel so -- my first time here, I felt so hesitant with the putter. I was almost seeing balls -- trying to see balls drip in the front edge, whereas I think over the past few years, I've just been a little bit more aggressive with the putter and, you know, not -- not scared of that 3- and 4-footer coming back.

Q. What year did you move to Jacksonville?

CAMERON SMITH: I think 2015 or 2016.

Q. My question is different. Most of the golfers, to us, are very matured. Just like you. You are maybe more mature than you look like, okay.


Q. My question is, do you party a lot? How much beer do you drink per day?

CAMERON SMITH: I wouldn't say I drink a whole lot. I definitely love a beer with the boys on the weekend or something like that, but during the week I keep it pretty tidy. It's all business during the week and a few beers on the boat during the weekend.

Q. Do you feel like you're a young, top-notch player or you're talented more than you practice?

CAMERON SMITH: I would like to work harder, but I feel like I have a very good, you know, kind of work/life balance. I feel like I'm able to get out in the morning, do my work, do some gym and then go fishing or do something else in the afternoon, mow the lawn.

Q. I know you love fishing.


Q. When you practice with your friends, do you pull a little bit of money?

CAMERON SMITH: No, not particularly. We'll play for maybe a beer after the round or lunch or something like that.

Q. Just I heard you talk about how when you first putted on the greens here, it was scary for you. Do you remember the moment or shot when it all kind of started turning around for you and you're like, okay, I'm starting to feel this now, particularly here?

CAMERON SMITH: I think the first -- the first year, I was just so worried about making the weekend, and I was able to make the weekend and just free up. I felt like I was able to hit those shots I was talking -- hit the right shots, and they are very demanding around here.

But that's when I think it turned around for me, was that weekend where I just felt at ease and was able to free up a little bit.

Q. What is your favorite beer in the world? Is it an Aussie beer? And if so, what's your favorite American beer?

CAMERON SMITH: Yeah, I love a XXXX Gold. That's probably my favorite. My favorite American beer would be Longboard Lager. Hawaiian, but it's American.

Q. Before you won THE PLAYERS, what would you say was your most memorable moment in golf at any level?

CAMERON SMITH: I think my first Aussie PGA, it was down the Gold Coast. Probably only 45 minutes away from where I grew up, so I had lots of family and friends there. It was such a cool moment. I thought that would be pretty tough to beat, but I think THE PLAYERS got it.

Q. Since you've won that big check, have you thought about a bigger house or bigger boat or anything like that? Any big purchases?

CAMERON SMITH: No, I'm pretty content where I'm at at the moment. I don't feel the need to, yeah, do anything like that.

Q. Boat's big enough?


THE MODERATOR: Cam, thanks a lot for that interview. Been some original beer-drinking questions from the audience, rather unique, but we wish you all the best for the Masters this year. Thanks a lot.

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