It wasn’t quite the green jacket, but a congratulatory text message from cricket legend Shane Warne was Cameron Smith’s consolation prize after finishing runner-up to Dustin Johnson at the Masters on Monday morning.
Somewhat surprised at the reaction to his performance back home – “My old lady was going on like I won the thing” – Smith has been inundated with messages of support since his record-breaking Masters performance.
The 27-year-old has waded through only a quarter of all the messages he has received during the past 48 hours, but there has been one in particular that he had to share with his cricket-mad mates back home in Australia.
“Out of all the messages I’ve got, I’ve maybe seen a quarter of them. I’m still trying to get back to people,” Smith admitted after becoming the first player in Masters history to record four rounds in the 60s.
“My favourite one so far was a message from Warney. He sent me a message saying, ‘Well done mate’.
“I took a screenshot of it and sent it all my mates back home because they’re all cricket nuts and they were all jealous.”
Due to make only one more tournament appearance in 2020 when he and Marc Leishman pair up for the Shark Shootout hosted by Greg Norman from December 10, Smith is already counting down the days until he can return to Augusta National.
His chance to go one better is just four months and 20 days away… and it can’t come quick enough.
“I can’t wait,” Smith said, the excitement obvious in his voice. “Obviously the course suits my eye and I just love being there. I enjoy playing the shots that it demands of you.
“It’s an awesome, cool place to be and hang out. It really opens up. It’s not the same shot constantly, it’s always a different shot.
“I think I know the course well enough now that I know where all the misses are. I know the right shot to get to certain pins and I enjoy being creative around there.”
Conceding that a Masters played in November without patrons in attendance was “quite odd”, Smith felt the pressure that comes with contending in a Major.
When he was fifth at Augusta in 2018, the Queenslander stormed home with a back nine of 30 and has no doubt that the way he handled having a share of the lead through 36 holes is an important step towards that maiden Major triumph.
“I definitely felt the heat a little bit,” said Smith, who rose to a world ranking of 27th after his tie for second.
“I try to keep things as relaxed as possible on the golf course but I still felt like there was a lot of pressure on me for sure. I was really happy with how I handled the pressure. Just talking crap between shots and trying to get your mind off it and then once you’re at the ball it’s all go.
“I honestly can’t wait. I think I’m playing some of the best golf I’ve ever played.”