Cameron Smith points to the longevity of his idol, friend and mentor, Adam Scott, as a reason to push through a mystery illness he came down with on the eve of the Masters. Scott is gearing up for his 90th consecutive major, the longest streak of any active player. He has played every major championship held since the 2001 Open.

“It’s an amazing streak; ‘old rubber bones’ is the most flexible 85-year-old I’ve ever seen,” Smith told Australian Golf Digest through laughter at Augusta National on Wednesday. “It’s a testament to the work he’s put into his body to avoid injuries, and to the work he’s put into his game to keep qualifying and showing up for majors. He’s phenomenal. It’s inspiring, for sure.”

Smith is channelling his idol’s persistence as he works to restore his health in time for the 88th Masters beginning late tonight, Australian time. Last week, Smith came down with an illness on Wednesday night during LIV Golf Miami in Doral. He withdrew from the Thursday pro-am, played the first round last Friday, then withdrew from the tournament before Saturday’s second round.

He’s still not sure what cause the sickness.

“It felt like food poisoning, but I’m not even sure I can pinpoint a meal I think it was,” Smith said. Asked if it could have been a stomach bug, Smith said, “It could have been but I don’t know. I probably tried to do too much while recovering.”

Smith said the illness was disappointing because he had been putting in work with his coach, Grant Field, during the weeks before LIV Miami. He had also finished tied for second at the LIV Golf Hong Kong event recently.

“I’ve done some work on the driver and I’m hitting more fairways,” he said. “I’ve also been playing a lot at home, socially, in Ponte Vedra. Lots of money games with [former PGA Tour pros such as] Aron Price and I’ve been playing well. When I play a lot, as opposed to lots of practice, I tend to compete really well.”

Smith said despite the illness, his intention is to win the Masters. Smith tied for fifth in 2018, when he shot a back-nine 30, and shared third in 2022 when he played in the final group with eventual winner Scottie Scheffler. That was three months before Smith won the Open Championship at St Andrews.

Last year, Smith earned a solo fourth at the US Open and a tie for ninth at the PGA, career bests in both and that locked up career top 10s in all four majors.

“Yeah, definitely I’m here to win,” Smith said. “This is a place I really feel comfortable. I can get creative and there aren’t many shots that make me uncomfortable. I feel confident here. You have to be confident because this is a course where committing to your shot is maybe more important than anywhere else.”

Smith is one of six Australian in the field at the Masters. Fellow major winners, Jason Day and 2013 Masters champion Adam Scott, as well as Min Woo Lee and Cam Davis, round out the professional group. Jasper Stubbs is the six Australian and the amateur is making his major debut.