Cameron Smith decides whether to play at the Masters after pulling out of LIV Golf Miami

Australian hopeful Cameron Smith is eyeing another shot at Masters glory, but his health scare at the LIV Golf Miami will have raised some questions in his camp.

After being forced to cancel his final practice on the LIV Golf circuit before his scheduled shot at Masters glory, Cameron Smith has hinted that he is headed for a speedy recovery.

When the Australian returns to the storied Augusta National course this year, he will be looking to improve on his 2020 second-place finish there. The former world No. 2 has achieved success in the Gulf State after defecting to the rebellious Saudi Arabian circuit in August 2022, winning two individual LIV titles.

The former Open champion’s hopes of winning the Masters, however, seemed to be in jeopardy during his final warm-up match before the prestigious competition. Even though he participated in the opening round of the LIV Golf Miami event, he was ultimately compelled to withdraw.

Subsequently, it was revealed that Smith was experiencing a case of food poisoning, which was especially unfortunate since he was scheduled to visit Augusta National soon. The official LIV Golf account verified on Twitter/X, saying, “Cam Smith has withdrawn due to illness. He will be replaced by Ben Campbell for Ripper GC.”

Fears that an eighth Masters appearance might have been in doubt must have surfaced in the Australian camp as Thursday’s opening round draws near. Smith shot 3-over 75 in the opening round at Trump National Doral, looking very much like the Smith of old.

Until now, the 32-year-old was considered a strong contender to win this month’s coveted green jacket because of his recent performance at the Masters. In fact, he has placed in the top ten four times in his last six appearances at the storied event.

Smith’s condition appeared to have been resolved before Augusta, as the official LIV Golf website stated in their correspondence that he will be “well enough to play” and that his appearance was guaranteed. Moreover, Golf Australia claimed that when questioned about his health in Miami, the nation’s greatest hope replied that he was “getting there.”

Prior to this, Smith had previously expressed candidly his wish to compete for his country in the summer Olympics in Paris. His current world ranking has dropped to No. 62, so he will need to do well at the Masters to guarantee his spot for a second appearance at the Games.

He told the Guardian, “I have to play well to get [Olympic qualification].” I’m aware that I have to perform well because I’ll probably only have three or four chances to do so before they choose. It’s probably under more pressure. I really want to go to the Olympics and represent Australia there.”

He continued, “I have probably got another four or five weeks off every year [in] the last couple of years and been able to spend more time in Australia,” as justification for his decision to join LIV Golf nearly two years ago. I’m not sure if I could give up things like being apart from my family. I’m not sure if they would have to play more.

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